I’m not exactly Little Miss Adventure, but if I was to tell you the tale of my life you’d probably mistake me for exactly that – a year in the Yukon, thrown from a horse, a near-fatal scooter (motorbike) accident, camping all my formative years, been to Alaska and Mexico and back again…
…Truth be told, though, I’m a bit of a pussy when it comes to facing Mother Nature at her finest. Spiders? Horrifying. Giant moths? Send me scurrying into a corner, ducking under covers. Creepy-crawlies give ME the creepy-crawlies, thanks very much.
Every now and then, however, I manage to trick myself into feeling like the calm, cool, collected adult I should rightly be now that I’m on the verge of turning 34. I’d better be growing up.
Then stories like this come along. So, without much more ado… a tale of a Steff gone camping.
We pitched our tent bright and early. Our neighbours must’ve made the same ferry as we did, for the British couple showed up mere minutes after we begin staking our site.
We both got our sites rigged and then cracked into our local Limey’s collection of beer while playing Frisbee to pass some time. Finally the pub called Gayboy (@mr_tits_pervert on Twitter) and I away, and we set on our local adventures – pub grub, beer, shopping for campfire foodies, and then back to the site we went.
Finding our pitch and the next door one both deserted, we decided to have a game of cards, drink a beer, and plan our attack. On three sides of us were the island’s shores. One side a beach, one a lagoon, and one a harbour/marina. We decided to head to the nearby beach by way of the lagoon. Being Slow-Drinker Girl, I wisely brought my yet-unfinished beer with, and we set upon our latest adventure.
We traipsed down the hill and came out alongside the lagoon. It looked pretty dry and had the unmistakable West Coast generations of broken clam and oyster shells peppering the landscape along with the dark coastal rocks. We shrugged and made our way onto the lagoon. The footing was a bit spongey but it was otherwise indicating a crossing seemed pretty reliable.
We took off along the western side of the lagoon, keeping alongside a little stream we planned to cross midway, thanks to dottings of rocks and boulders across its path.
Suddenly, a shriek.
“Jesus CHRIST!” shouted GayBoy. “Look at the fucking crabs!”
Suddenly I noticed the ground seemed to move in bits. Some very well-disguised crabs were creeping sideways across the shell-covered landscape. They were all around one to two inches in width, but the more I scoured the ground for them, the more I began to notice them. The landscape wasn’t just dotted with clam shells, but the muddy surface of the lagoon was similarly dotted with crabholes. Every couple inches was another hole between ½ inch wide all the way up to two inches wide. The holes were fine until a crab would poke its head out and observe us.
Unlike GayBoy, I wasn’t that freaked out. Concerned, yes, avoiding them, yes, but terrified? Not just yet.
“Okay, this is really creeping me out,” GayBoy muttered. Clearly the dope we’d smoked earlier was toying with his perceptions and making things a little more intense than they maybe needed to be.
We decided to cross the stream right there, and I led the way, clumsily hopping across rocks and landing with a splash of beer spilling out my bottle on the other side. I took a couple steps and found myself beginning to sink some four or so inches down into grubby mud. And with every sink, more crabholes were vacated, the stupid critters heading AT us instead of AWAY from us.
“Oh, JESUS,” exclaimed GayBoy.
“Let’s get the fuck out of here!” I reacted. Then I began to mock GayBoy, muttering with sing-song disdain under my breath. “ ‘Let’s cross the lagoon. It’s a nice beach on the other side.’ ”
“All right, FINE! What way do you want to go?” he bitterly retorted.
“Let’s go to the east side… it looks drier.”
So, naturally, we crossed back. I surveyed the lay of the lagoon and the spot that looked the driest was the direction in which we decided to head.
Big fuckin’ mistake. A few steps later, we’re sinking six inches down. “Fuckfuckfuckfuck!” I started gasping.
“Fuck this! Let’s head back to the path!” shouted GayBoy.
That’s when my shoe came off. I yelped and gasped, beginning to hyperventilate. Crabs were everywhere now. It seemed like they’d all heard there was a new show in town and clamoured for front-row tickets. Not only was I staring down in fear, teetering on one sunken foot as my mud-stuck shoe was hidden from view, but I was becoming increasingly aware that the scattered crabs were now out in force, all hovering around us.
Suddenly I flashed back to my old film job, remembering painful scenes of captioning poor fuckers dying in quicksand. I had clips of nature shows, crabs picking bones clean on shorelines. Then I had a vision of a blog headline, “Something Tragic Afoot: Crabs Dine A La Steff in Lagoon – memorial Tuesday at Twin Pines.”
GayBoy clasped onto me and refocused me. “Steady! Steady. Here’s your shoe.”
I got the shoe back on, and then, clenching my toes to hold the shoe on slipper-style (the heel was pushed down under my foot, it’s all we could manage), I had to use all my strength to hike my feet back out of the now-eight inches of sludge. Every footstep was an epic effort.
Then, the worst that could happen – one shoe came off… and then the other as I stumbled forward onto my bare-sock foot.
I began hyperventilating like a prison bitch trapped in a shower, but GayBoy acted quickly and got me both shoes, while barely keeping it together himself.
With another 20 feet to go, we continued trying to get to the dry path one step at a time. Fortunately neither of us became crabs’ lunches, and we finally made it to the shore.
And me, true Canadian girl I am, succeeded in failing to spill ALL the beer. Thank god for Alexander Keith, patron saint to Canadians lost in crab-infested lagoons, it would seem.
We spent the night exploring debauchery with our new best friends from England, laughing about all our misadventures as we brazenly worked towards the next morning’s hangovers.
Below’s the estimated route of our path:
And here, most importantly, is the beer I managed to keep alive all through the turmoil! Truly a Canadian girl with her Canadian beer! And yes I write notes on my hands and arms, hence the weird blue bit on the left there…