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We covered what would have been a five-minute walk in about 15 seconds. I shut the thing off. They started to count and I ran off into the woods. They were up to 50 before I was out of sight.
The Third Island, just across the lake from my folks' place, is uninhabited. There are the remains of one cabin, a very old structure, half of it log with moss chinking, the other half conventional frame construction, whose history I could never learn. I ran to the cabin and saw by tracks on the snow that a group of snowmobilers had already paid a visit. I wrote THIS WAY in the snow with a stick and put a long arrow after it so the boys wouldn't be confused by the other tracks.
I jogged for five minutes around the periphery of the island, nearly back to the snowmobile, and then cut inland, intercepting my earlier tracks and those of the boys. I was now tracking them as they tracked me. They would have to come completely around before they caught on and I could spy on them from behind. Which is exactly what I did.
I got close enough to hear them congratulate themselves for deciphering a maneuver in which I had backtracked and then leaped to one side. I was also within hearing when they came across the intersection of our trails.
"Hey! He's following us." Excitement, anticipation. Snomovision was on the ropes, bleeding from the nose. Jake figured it out.
"You follow the tracks back the way we came and I'll follow them this way," he said to Darren.
They had me. With the leaves and foliage gone, the island is too small to hide on for long. I surrendered.
"Hey, that was fun," Darren said. "Let's do it again."
"Yeah. Let's do it again."
"O.K." I said. "But we'll have to go to another island. This one is all tracked up."