Weird Al Yankovic once recorded a song called “Nature Trail to Hell”, a tune about a fictional movie about a group of Cub Scouts going for a hike who are terrorized by over-protective parents who think their kid clearly would have sold more popcorn if the neighbor’s brat hadn’t gone to every house in the neighborhood first to sell his popcorn instead of sharing the houses like they should have. Just kidding, the Cub Scouts all die at the hands of a hatchet-wielding madman.
Anyway, as kids, “Nature Trail to Hell” entertained MojoFiction and his siblings to no end. But this is a family site and we didn’t want to use Hell in a sentence, let alone the blog title, so we’re calling it Nature Trail of Doom and not Hell. In no way are using the word Hell. Originally we were going to say Nature Trail to Terra Haute, Indiana, but we received a lot of angry letters and one flaming poop bag (note to young people: do NOT research the flaming poop bag prank on the internet – probably easily accessible on your phone – and attempt to use it on your enemies with hilarious results).
So really-anyway, last Friday night completely reminded us of Nature Trail to You-Know-Where (hint: Hell). Our son’s Cub Scout troop held their October pack meeting after dark at a local nature preserve, complete with a roaring bonfire, s’mores, and not nearly enough space for all the adults and their other clearly non-Cub-Scout kids that they could have left at home with a babysitter, but who are we to complain?
Driving into the back-woods, on a dirt road too small for a Mini Cooper, our headlights shining on a dark wall of trees, we immediately imagined every Stephen King scenario possible. We reminded ourselves that our Volkswagen was a masterpiece of German engineering, but that didn’t really stop Cujo so maybe we weren’t that safe (thanks a lot Germans). We parked, pulled out our folding chairs and escorted our Cub Scout son to the Children of the Corn festivities.
Quick historical note: MojoFiction and his offspring try to go camping once or twice a year. The first time we went we were robbed in the middle of the night by a very polite raccoon, who popped open the lid to our cooler, grabbed what he wanted, and then closed it back up again, leaving a thank you note at the bottom of the cooler, which, we think, was kind of a dick move considering he had just robbed us (never mind asking why we left the cooler out overnight). Obviously we’ve been plotting our revenge: we’ll just see how much he likes a flaming poop bag!
Raccoons, you are on notice.
So super-triple-anyway, when one of the scout leaders, for reasons we still don’t know, asked our son about his worst camping experience, does he bring up the raccoon? No. He brings up the time we thought it would be fun to go camping in late September, only to see the overnight temperature drop to the lowest in weeks, leaving is shivering all night in our wimpy tent with our wimpy sleeping bags because someone forgot to pack extra blankets. We’re not saying who because we’re not into that finger-pointing stuff, especially when the finger points at us.
Finally, the meeting commenced and all the “dens” performed little sketches that were probably funny but we were playing Bear Grylls’ Survival Run on our phone and we figured out how to make his parachute a British flag which gives the game a James Bond feel, especially when you select the “Secret Agent Bear Grylls” outfit. Selecting outfits is really the fun part anyway. There’s even a Bear Bear Grylls outfit, which is funny because it’s … you know … a bear… What? No see, we just mean it’s fun to dress up Bear Grylls for his day of slaughtering dangerous animals in the world’s most dangerous places, which is really the awesome part and not the outfits and stuff that we said before and, okay, so he doesn’t actually have any weapons or kill any animals but we imagine that’s what he’s doing and that makes us pretty manly and, you know what? We could totally destroy Bear Grylls in a steel cage match. And then you’re next.
Infinity-anyway, the meeting ended and the group headed out for the pack tradition of a night hike through the woods with nothing but our flashlights and our insane fear of the woods at night. 50 Cub Scouts and their 50 fifty siblings and another 50 parents plowing through the woods at night?
Nature never saw it coming.
If Freddy or Jigsaw or Martha Stewart, or any other evildoers were out there, they were no match for us. The local wildlife? Yeah, maybe they left some poop on the trail and maybe we stepped in it and maybe we cursed loudly which made some children around us cry and earned us a scolding from some parents who didn’t believe us when we tried to blame someone else, but that’s all nature’s beasts were able to do. By the time our hike was over nature had given up and simply rolled over.
So all the kids had a good time … until we arrive back at the bonfire. That’s when, to their horror, the pack leaders told them that smores weren’t actually on the menu, but something far more terrifying. They would be cooking … asparagus. Just kidding. We tried to tell our son that, but he didn’t believe us. You’d think we make things up all the time or something. But we did clear out of there as fast as we could, because another danger lurked around every corner.
Seriously, have you tried hanging out with 50 scouts and their entire families at one time? That’s some scary sh-