“How many new orienteering practical tests did we need?”
Laura tossed her long straw in the trash. “We had eight routes for the early summer class, and seven of them are still good.”
“Is the parks department planning to replace that footbridge over the creek?" Tom leaned against the desk and chewed on his long straw.
“Yes, but it won’t be this weekend so that eighth route is out. Ten students means we need three new practicals.”
“How about I create two new routes and we put Joel behind Ed? Ed will get to the end of the route in record time and it’s only a 50/50 chance that we won’t have to pull Joel out of the woods in the opposite direction hours later.”
Tom snorted laughter. “Peter, I get your point, if Joel had paid attention to the class instead of being a little shit at any point in the past few weeks, we’d all be less likely to smack him. But the class materials say every student gets their own unique final.”
“You can reuse the old 8th finish destination and find a new way there. The two new finishes don’t need to be super-cool, but they should be unique and still close to the take-out point. You should absolutely re-use start points.”
“If we each do a route it wouldn’t take very long at all” wheedled Peter.
“You were the one arguing for one person to do it all so only one of us had to work on Saturday.” Laura grinned. “I guess you weren’t expecting the short straw.”
“The backwoods hiking sign-in kiosk would be a great new finish point” Tom said. “There, I helped.”
Laura bumped Tom off the desk and pulled a map from the bottom of the pile of papers. “Here’s the map of the current eight routes, and the existing directions are in the file. Have fun.”
Laura and Tom both grabbed their backpacks and headed out the door. Peter dragged himself over to the desk. He had planned to sleep for most of Saturday, not create three new orienteering routes. There were three different start points and having two ending points already helped. Using the map to sketch out an approximate route of the correct distance would be quick. He’d still have to hike each route the next day, Saturday, to refine the directions and make sure his compass point directions were exact.
Twenty minutes later Peter had two reasonable new routes and was staring at the map. Finding another unique end point in that same area by the access parking was driving him nuts. Every distinct kiosk, sign, and statue was already a finish – there wasn’t anything else to use. He opened his laptop and started Google maps to look at a satellite view of the area, maybe something would jump out at him that way. As he was panning the view he started to smile. He had the perfect new finish point, and it was all thanks to Joel.
Sunday morning Peter, Tom, and Laura were at the access parking near the finish points, huddled under a large umbrella and sipping the coffee that Tom had picked up on his way there from the furthest start point.
“How did the new routes come together yesterday Peter?”
“It wasn’t so bad, I rough sketched everything out Friday evening and then spent about an hour each hiking the routes backwards once and forwards once to make sure I had the details correct. Typing them all up was about another hour.”
“It was a pretty day yesterday for being outside” Laura said. “Better than this morning.”
“Did you hear Joel asking if his compass would still work in the rain?” Tom shook his head. “I don’t understand why he’s taking this class.”
Peter grinned. “He has a deal with his granddad, Mr. Heitpas. You remember him, all of his grandkids take this class because of his offer, pass orienteering and get a much nicer graduation present.”
“Didn’t Joel graduate in June?”
“Apparently he talked his granddad into extending the deal until he left for college.”
A triumphant yell interrupted them. One of the students, though it was difficult to tell which one under all the shapeless rain gear, had arrived at their finish. Tom stepped toward the bird statue at the edge of the parking and called out “Take down the finish sign – it’s in a baggie to keep it dry. Bring it and your directions over – if it matches, you’re set.”
The figure in green plastic got the finish sign and walked over to them. Ed, now close enough to be identifiable, held out his directions and the finish sign. Laura grinned and took the papers, making sure the directions were to the correct finish, and started to ask him a few questions designed to prove he had been on the correct route.
A few minutes later another student made it to their finish. The next half hour was busy as the students arrived at their finish points and the instructors validated their success. By that point nine of the students had finished, and the rain was starting to come down harder.
“Laura and Tom if you can fit everyone in your vehicles you should go ahead and get them all back to the park office and out of the wet.”
“Are you sure Peter? We don’t want to leave you in the rain.”
“It’s Joel who’s still out there, and he’s on my new route so I’ll have to validate anyway. If we haven’t made it back in another hour come check on us. But there’s no point in all of us getting soaked.”
Tom hollered out instructions and everyone started moving. Laura called Peter over to the van and handed him the umbrella. “Thanks for this, hopefully Joel won’t be too much longer. Where did you put the last finish point anyway?”
“It’s inspired by Joel. I’ll explain when we’re back.”
Peter watched the vehicles drive away and walked to the other side of the parking area, so he had a clear view of the final finish.
Twenty minutes later Joel came trudging towards the parking area. He stopped at a small building, dropped his hands to his side, and screamed.
Joel turned and saw Peter. “Dude, where is it? I’m here, I’m wet, I want my phone back…”
Peter interrupted him. “Look at your directions. You’re almost there.”
Joel huffed out an annoyed sigh and looked at his paper again. “It says ‘when you reach the small building, your finish sign will be on the north side.” He waved the paper at the building. “I’m here, where’s the sign?”
“Are you on the north side of the building?”
Joel groaned and pulled out his compass. He spun in a circle while he got oriented, and then spun around again the other way. Then he threw up his hands and just started walking around the building. He found the finish sign after going 3/4 of the way around, pulled it off the door and handed it and the directions to Joel.
“Come on, let’s get in the car and get you back to the park office.”
“Dude, what is that building anyway?”
“You didn’t notice? It’s the new outhouse.”
Joel rolled his eyes at Peter’s wide grin and started walking to the car.
*** This one is inspired in part by a toilet mishap at the house yesterday. Luckily everything is fine now. Find other week 8 entries here.***