As we approach the end of the April A to Z challenge, the letters seem to be a more of a challenge. Now it is time for the dreaded X. Despite a bit of laziness now and then, I have managed to come up with a word all by myself for every letter. But nothing jumped out for X. Go figure. So I cheated a bit, and just looked up a list of X words, until I found one I could work with. And voila!

Easier to see what it is...

Xenolith. Don’t worry. I had no clue what it was either. Most won’t (except for my geology friends out there). According to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia it is a “rock fragment within an intrusive igneous body that is unrelated to the igneous body itself.”

You might be thinking where could I possibly go with this that won’t bore?Ironically, this is loosely tied to my W post (which I just finished writing too. Ooops.) Seemed like the perfect choice to me!

In my W post I noted how I did a lot of outdoor activities when I was younger. While canoeing was my favorite, I also did a lot of hiking. Many of the canoe trips also featured hiking, both as a pleasurable side trip and to actually get where we were going (someday I will tell of the horrors … and joys … of a portage).

Those who went on these trips varied widely in experience. For some it may have been their first real experience with nature. For others, well let’s just say a few thought there were entirely too many modern conveniences (like toilet paper for instance). Of course this presented all sorts of opportunities … for playing with naive minds!

We would have a variety of stories to explain some of the oddities we occasionally encountered, or simply to toy with people. It is amazing what we were able to make some believe. For example, frequently when hiking we would encounter these xenoliths (especially in my part of the world). Considering the teacher who lead these trips was  a geology teacher, I probably did know the word once, but that brain cell must have died long ago. Anyhow, we would encounter these, and convince the non-initiate that they were the trails of “granite worms”. Or maybe it was a hole in the rock caused by water erosion. That was from a “diamond tooth rock boring gopher”.

We had many of these little tidbits of “useful” info. If we were on a mountain and could see a road that passed through the trees causing a line from a distance … well that was the state line. Or when canoeing on the St Croix River (part of which runs along the boundary between the US and Canada), we had people convinced that if you could see the bottom of the river you would see the boundary line. Or maybe we had people worried about being attacked by “flying leeches”.

Talk about fun memories!