Perfectly Planned

According to the internet, a “baker’s dozen” is 12 + 1. The phrase dates back to the middle ages when bakers would include an extra loaf of bread for every dozen ordered so they wouldn’t get fined and/or flogged if one was accidently misplaced during transit.

Of course, it could have also been defined as 13 – 1:

Let a = 12 + 1, b = “baker’s dozen”, and c = 13 – 1. By the transitive property of equality, if a = b and b = c, then a = c and you simply can’t argue with math.

It’s important we all agree on this before I tell you I was in charge of a baker’s-dozen 14-year-old boys last weekend. Starting out with 12 + 1 boys is the same as ending with 13 – 1. Some parents have a really hard time understanding this.

Also, you should know I’ve never been officially certified to be in charge of 14-year-old boys. Of any quantity. I’m telling you this now with hope you’ll be less judgy about it later.


The plan was to partner with five other adults and take 12 + 1 boys on a three-day hiking trip along the beaches of Northwest Washington. For fun. To ensure success, we mapped our route, created a detailed itinerary, and produced an itemized packing list that included necessities like food and clothing and bandages. We then went over all this with the boys weeks in advanced so no one would show up totally unprepared for the trip.

Everyone, in turn, showed up totally unprepared for the trip.

Actually, that’s not accurate. We were mostly prepared for the trip as I’d imagined it – where everything would go according to plan and didn’t include things like vomiting or dead sea monsters or peeing off 100-foot cliffs. We were just less prepared for the trip we actually took.

Like all great adventures, though, it was the unexpected that made it memorable. And now that it’s over, I’m sure the boys would agree with me.

All baker’s-dozen of them.

Five adults and 12 + 1 teenage boys ready for the six-hour drive to the very northwest corner of Washington State, where we’ll spend the next three days surviving together without Netflix or deodorant.
Three hours into the drive and without warning, one of the boys started vomiting in the car. Fortunately it was in the backseat of a new Escalade so the leather seats were still firm and slick and mostly resistant to viscous fluids. NOTE: If you don’t believe anything could smell worse than a carload of gaseous 14-year-old boys, you are mistaken.
Instead of throwing up, the boys in this car sang the entire time. To get the full effect, turn up the volume until the music starts to hurt your teeth.

We ended up hiking well over 20-miles. This was taken right after we left the trailhead and before anyone had sprained an ankle.
I realize, now, that I should have been more specific about what constitutes “healthy trail snacks.”
I told the boys to keep their shoes and socks dry because we were heading out for a 10+ mile hike. I should have also demonstrated how gravity works before we left.
This was taken right before we all learned that a Dungeness crab, when angered, can use it’s sharply armored front claws to slice open the thumb of a 14-year-old boy.
When we stopped to have lunch this boy intentionally filled his pants with sand and I couldn’t even be mad because I didn’t think to warn him not to do that.
The easiest way to start a fire, regardless of weather conditions or the availability of flammable items, is to assign the task to a 14-year-old boy.

One of the highlights of the trip was discovering this beached sea monster. I’m pretty sure it was dead before the boys found it because it was already starting to smell like the public restrooms at Seattle’s fish market in the summertime. Still smelled better than the back of the Escalade, though.
It’s just the fisheye lens on the camera that makes this seem unsafe.

Those scratches will probably buff right out.
Pro-tip: If you don’t want to spend time trying to stop a bunch of 14-year-old boys from peeing off the edge of a 100-foot cliff overlooking the ocean, then don’t bring a bunch of 14-year-old boys to the edge of 100-foot cliff overlooking the ocean.
We let the boys play football on the beach until it was too dark to safely see where they were going, then told them to find something better to do with their time.
We immediately regretted that decision.

Five adults and 13 – 1 teenage boys ready for the six-hour car ride back to Seattle, where we’ll spend the next three days washing sand out from parts of our body that we didn’t even know were parts of our body.

8 thoughts on “Perfectly Planned”

  1. So, how many “hero” badges/medals are you sporting? If everybody comes back alive, it’s a good trip 🙂 BRAVO!!


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