“I must confess I am more or less turned around already,” said the doctor’s son. “Is our shore over there?” and he pointed with his hand.
“I think so,” answered Giant.
“I think it is yonder,” answered Snap, and pointed at right angles to the direction Shep had mentioned.
“And I think it is about between the two,” finished Whopper.
“Let us take the course Whopper thinks is right,” said Snap. “We can’t be so very far wrong anyway.”
Anxious to get back to camp and get some rest, they pulled with vigor. They kept this up for fully ten minutes and then the forward boat slid up on a bar of sand, followed quickly by the second boat and the canoe.
“Here, this won’t do!” cried Shep.
“Are we near shore?” questioned Whopper. “I can’t see any land.”
Neither could the others, and all were more or less worried. They had struck the sand bar with such force that they had been carried well up on it when they tried to shove the boats off they, found the task too much for them. The canoe, however, came away with little difficulty.
“Shep, you paddle around and see if you can locate the shore,” suggested Snap, and the doctor’s son sent the canoe first in one direction and then another. He was not afraid to go out of sight, since he could easily hear their voices in the stillness of the night.
“I don’t see any shore,” he announced, after a search of a quarter of an hour. “We must be stuck somewhere in the middle of the lake.”
“That can’t be—–the middle is far too deep for any sand bars,” answered Whopper.
“Well, you can hunt around if you want to,” said the doctor’s son, rather shortly. The paddling had made him very tired.
Snap and Whopper now got into the canoe, and they went twice as far as Shep had been. At last they struck a point of land in a direction they had imagined was far out in the lake. They followed this up and soon came to the shore, but where they did not know.
“I think we are either above or below our camp,” said Snap.
“Or else on the same side of the lake that we started from,” said Whopper. “It would be just our luck to get completely twisted in this teetotal darkness. It’s worse than a pocket in a coal mine!”
They paddled back to the others and told them of what they had discovered. Then a portion of the outfit was transferred to the empty rowboat, and another effort was made to float both craft. At last the rowboats slid off the sand bar, and then they pulled to the point of land without further mishap.
No one could tell where they were, but Snap, Giant and Whopper imagined the spot must be half a mile or more below their camp. They had landed in a wild place, and walking along the shore was out of the question.
“We might as well stay where we are until morning,” said Snap. “If we try to move in this darkness we may only fall into more trouble.”