Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lost Souls

Yesterday, I was on Hecla Island with a friend. We had a nice day and we put on more than 18 miles on our bikes.

We mostly had the island to ourselves, except for a couple of lost travelers.

“We’re from Fairford, eh?” said one of them to me.

It turns out they took a wrong turn trying to get home and strayed off course.

Way off course.

“Is there, like, an old Highway 8 and a new Highway 8?”

I’m afraid not, at least not that far north.

For those not familiar with the geography of Manitoba, below is a screen shot from the relevant section of the latest Manitoba map. The black “X” on the right is where we met these lost travelers. The red “X” on the upper left is where they were trying to go.

I realize that there are many directionally-challenged people in the world, but I couldn’t help but wonder how long they had been driving, utterly oblivious to the fact that they were nowhere close to home.

They would likely have passed Riverton and noticed little in the way of civilization, nor any signage on the highway for Fairford. Having travelled on PTH 6, where they should have been, there are signs for the town on the highway.

They would have crossed the causeway, entered Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park, passed both Hecla Village and the sign indicating the end of PTH 8. We saw them a few miles north of that sign.

Surely, somewhere along the way, they would have realized that they weren’t going in the right direction.

Evidently not, however.

I didn’t have a map with me, but, from memory, I knew where Fairford was and roughly how to get there. I directed them back the same way they came, across the causeway, where they would likely find a road near Riverton that would take them in the general direction of Fairford. At the very least, I knew that PTH 68 near Hnausa linked up with PTH 6 at Eriksdale and they could go north from there.

Armed with better directions than what got them there, they thanked me and took off.

A half hour later, my friend and I were travelling southbound near the causeway. We spotted them travelling north.

We both shook our heads.

They were headed right back to the same place we had just seen them.

Having spotted us, however, they changed course and decided turn around and follow us.

They kept a couple of car lengths behind us until we got back to the mainland.

Then they turned off onto a side road.

I could only think of the famous Bugs Bunny quote, “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque.”

For all I know, that’s where they ended up.

Next time they decide to go travelling, they should try leaving a trail of breadcrumbs behind them.

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