Today we went to the biome reserve. If you've never been to a biome reserve, I highly recommend it. Even though it's basically just a small plot of land "dedicated" to preserving nature, it can be pretty interesting.
This particular biome reserve was in the prairies. That meant tall grass, trees, and dirt. Though we were technically on a class trip, my two friends and I decided to go off road and explore. It started out fine, just us and the brown trees and the occasional bird. We investigated forgotten tents, navigated through trees, and went in a few circles. We ran down the trails blessing the world with our own renditions of national anthems and 80's classics, making sure the share our musical talent with every kind of social media invented by man. Then we found a marsh.
It wasn't really a marsh, as marshes go. This was a prairie marsh, created by days of little sun and lots of rain. It was basically a giant puddle with tall grass islands sticking their heads out of the water. One of my friends was feeling extra adventurous, and thought it would be a brilliant idea to test our wilderness skills and pick our way across the marsh. It went well at first, with me leading the charge and finding the driest footholds I could. Halfway across the marsh was where the trouble started.
There's something you need to know about grass, particularly tall praise grass. It's unreliable. It lies. It betrays clever men and taunts travelling trios. It befuddles the senses and tricks the mind. Suffice it to say that a small patch of dry grass in a watery marsh does not indicate dry ground.
Halfway across the marsh, my friends and I had fallen into one such grassy trap. Instead of dry and adventurous, we were now feeling wet and hopeless. We were too far across the marsh and too proud to consider turning back, so we pressed on. We tried to find a way back to the trail, but it was no use. In a prairie biome reserve, everything looks the same, and we quickly realized we were lost. We also had five minutes to get back to the trailhead and meet the rest of our class.
After a few moments of still, silent panic, we spotted our saving grace in the distance. Train tracks. If we could get to the tracks, we would be able to follow them to the trail head. The only thing that stood between us and our freedom was a large expanse of knee deep water.
At this point survival mode kicked in. All it took was one look for us to collectively decide that our only hope of escape was to book it across the marsh as fast as we could. Our feet were already wet, so we really had nothing to lose.
We hopped delicately through the marsh as quickly as was humanly possible. When we made it to the train tracks, we were greeted with a foreboding iron fence. Thankfully, my friends discovered a sizeable gap in the fencing, and we easily made our way onto a small hill of grass. There was enough grass here to keep us relatively dry, and with the train tracks to our left, we ran towards the trailhead, occasionally sinking into pockets of grassy water.
Finally, after what felt like an age, we saw our classmates gathering at the trailhead. With a shout of joy, we threw our hands in the air and raced to meet them. I wish I could say they greeted us like heroes, amazed at our soaking jeans and fantastical tales. But we didn't share our adventure with them, and they didn't ask. In truth, they were more interested in the dull deer antler one of the boys had found.
On the bus ride back to the school, my friends and I exchanged memories of our journey that would seem obscure to anyone listening in. We laughed and argued over our own stupidity, replayed ridiculous videos commemorating our trip, and lamented over our lack of dry clothes. But in the end, we were glad for the chance to live the lives of fairytale adventurers, and it didn't seem to matter that no one else cared how we managed to fill our shoes with water. Some things we experience are meant to be sacred secrets, shared only among the closest of friends.