Submitted December 18, 2009

Stranded without a compass

Three good friends good friends and I camped at our spot on the Albermarle sound over the weekend. The place that we set up camp is about a 45 minute canoe ride from my uncle's house. It really is a great spot because it gives you a perfect view of sunsets and sunrises. This was the second time we have camped at the spot by the way, so we were still getting familiar with the land. Anyway, it was all good until Sunday morning when we woke up to crazy rough water on the sound. We loaded up the canoes anyway and tried to launch and just fight through it. Bad idea! Canoes really are not meant for anything other than calm water, in my opinion now. Both canoes started taking on water over the sides so we paddled back in. We pulled the canoes up on the bank and after a few minutes of thinking, we decided to just hike through the swamp and come back for the boats and gear the next day when the water was calmer. I have to say we were a bit sketched out by the fish guts and bear poo that was all over the area where we just tied the boats up, but we had a 22 so we headed in the swamp anyway. Now this is the embarrassing part, especially being that both one of my friends are I are Eagle Scouts. We started off into the swamp about 50 feet west of our camp site and ended up getting turned completely around in the swamp and ending up back at the river on the other side of our camp. It was so cloudy we couldn't use the sun for directions and we didn't bring a compass because we honestly never thought we would have to hike out of this place. "Big mistake," the compass will stay in my pack from here out. So we ended up hiking down the riverbank and following a canal that we knew would lead us back to the road, that too is easier said than done. We had to hack our way pretty much the whole way to the road. But we made it to the road and then after about a 4 mile walk down the road we were back at my uncles where the truck was. The whole hike through the swamp from start to finish took about 3 and half hours. Long time to be in cold stinky water that at times went all the way to my waist. Anyway we got out and went back the next day for our gear. What a trip!

- Adam

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