Camping: Demon spawns of.. (Windsor)
Charlie watched, feeling irrationally jealous as Hanover filed out of the assembly point to start their hike. The boys marched single file obediently behind Justin like ducklings following their mother. He was even envious of Logan, who despite having drawn the longest route with an arduous uphill climb and having to deal with a loudly protesting Julian, still had a relatively cooperative group on his hands.
He loves Windsor to death, but sometimes sheltered private school boys and nature don't mix. In the case of Windsor, mutiny was not because of having to rough it out, but more like the barrage of new sights, sounds and smells had sent them into a flurry of excitement resulting in the boys completely disregarding him.
Even and Ethan, handful in normal times, were bouncing off the trees. Wes and David were running ahead of the group "trailblazing" and Blaine close behind them with the map. All of them determined to have themselves a grand adventurous quest.
Kurt was chasing after the frontrunners reminding them to be careful. Next to him Reed was struggling to keep up while trying not to fall, trip, tumble, scrape, or bump on something.
Drew & Satoru their resident scientists were already disregarding warnings and wandering off the path collecting specimens. Todd and a few others helping them. Charlie could only pray they would not try to taste anything they picked up, for science or otherwise.
And Dwight. Oh God, DWIGHT. He was practically vibrating. Weapons ready, eyes scanning 360 and muttering about vengeful ancestral forest spirits that did not like to be disturbed. His first order when they had stepped off the bus that morning was to grab fistfuls of dirt and rub it all over himself. To mask his city dweller scent from the spirits he explained. He even offered to help anyone who wanted to do the same.
Charlie gave a long suffering sigh. Having long given up trying to lead the group, he brought up the rear instead. He HAD to. Pulling boys that wandered off back onto the path and keeping a constant head count. The last thing he needed was to leave a boy behind. He only hoped that Blaine would be able to stick to the trail while keeping the front runners in check.
Despite having said countless times that he was NOT their mother, Charlie at the moment really did feel like a mother to eighteen hyperactive puppies with A.D.D. As soon as he has put one back in the basket, another three would disappear. He supposed it was karmic retribution, for all the years he drove George and his seniors up the wall with his own impressive antics.
To top it all off, he had drawn the South trail which though it cut through relatively level terrain, meanders somewhat and crosses the most number of 'attractions'. It was as if the trail was made specifically to torture him. A twenty foot fallen Log Bridge five feet off the ground, earlier in the morning was their first 'attraction'.
What should have been a simple crossing turned into a 45minute fiasco when the frontrunners decided now was as good a time as any to reenact the entire scene from LOTR where Gandalf fights the Balrog. Dwight naturally assumed the role of the wizard and together Tweedles the demon. An honest to goodness stick fight followed and when Ethan managed to grab on to one of the handles of his backpack, Dwight delivers a heart wrenching, "Run! You fools!…" to the others who dutifully played the parts of anguished elves, humans and hobbits.
As if that was not enough, there was trying to make sure Reed didn't fall off the log while crossing. The Twins volunteered to run a line over an overhanging branch of questionable strength, tie Reed to it and swing him across. Why they had 50ft of bungee cord with them Charlie decided he did not want to know. Needless to say, Charlie vetoed –that- plan. In the end, he took Reed down to the small stream and just simply walked him across, then handed him over to the twins who then pulled him up.
All that and it was just barely midday. Charlie wiped the sweat off his forehead and put his cap back on. Is eighteen too young to get a vasectomy? He's not entirely sure he wants children after this- … Someone squeals in excitement up ahead and everyone rushes forward. He can see the twins jumping with unrestrained excitement hugging each other. The others loudly Ooh!ing and Aahh!ing in awe.
The trees start to disappear as he nears, along with that came the view. They are standing at the edge of a cliff overlooking a spectacular canyon. The view is just –breathtaking- . Miles upon miles of pristine green forest, a blue-green lake (their destination) is not far off, draining into the river under them.
Then Charlie catches sight of their means to get across. His heart sinks. No. Just NO. Just this once, have mercy on him. A 150ft flexible suspension walkway spans the distance between the cliffs, barely wide enough for two people to walk abreast.
The only thing Charlie was grateful for was that the bridge is a modern one, made from steel cables and wire mesh, and not bits of plank and twine. On the opposite side shadowed by trees was a limestone cave entrance.
The sign on the bridge clearly spelled out the do's and do not's while crossing the bridge:
NO more than 10 people at a time.
WALK. Don't run.
KEEP HANDS on rails at ALL times.
DON'T LOITER on the bridge
Twenty bucks says the boys will break ALL the rules by the time they got across.
True to form, before Blaine can stop them, the frontrunners pile onto the bridge excitedly. The others just follow.
Somewhere along the midpoint, Kurt points at something below and the whole group stops to look. A raccoon is sitting on a rock by the river, innocently washing its food in the clear water. A flurry of shutter noise and flashes go off as the boys take pictures. And when they are done with the raccoon, they turn the cameras on themselves. Making funny scared faces, pointing out how deep the canyon is and just goofing off.
Then someone (likely Drew) makes an offhand remark about Mythbusters and suspension bridges in the same sentence. A short discussion ensues and suddenly the boys start marching in time right in the middle of the dammed bridge!
The bridge starts to get unnervingly bouncy and the little –trolls- are giddy with delight to have produced actual visible results.
Charlie's knuckles go white as he grips the rails. He has half a mind to go over there smack each one of them on the head. The Mythbusters might not have been able to bring down an actual bridge but they have yet to meet the -demon spawns- of Windsor.
He takes a deep breath and bellows, "I am going to give everyone exactly 20seconds to get MOVING! Anyone still on this bridge will have to piggyback ME the rest of the hike!" He pauses and starts counting down on the top of his lungs.
Han who is having too much fun to notice everyone has stopped marching continues to stomp away. Blaine has to pull on his shirt to draw his attention. He sees a very formidable looking Charlie barreling down on them and squeaks "Eep!" before taking off.
Dwight loses his Indiana Jones fedora to the wind as they all RUN the rest of the way to the other side.