On a recent winter camping trip near Atikokan, Ontario, a couple of my friends tried an experiment. On a snow-covered and frozen lake, they closed their eyes and tried to snowshoe straight toward a pre-determined point for 100 strides. One of my friends almost immediately began curling to the right and ended up making a 180-degree swing. He was headed right back toward the lakeshore where he started.
The other friend veered almost immediately to the left and also made a 180. I had skis on, so they asked me to try it that way. Maybe on skis, they thought, I’d be more apt to go straight. I closed my eyes. I began striding. I didn’t do too badly, though about 60 steps into the experiment, I did begin to edge to the right.
My friends later tried it on skis, too, thinking they might go straighter than on snowshoes. One did. My veer-to-the-right buddy still veered to the right, but he didn’t make a 180 this time. My other friend — let’s call her Veer To The Left — wasted no time in taking a sharp left turn and, in just 70 strides, ended up skiing into the shoreline she had just left.
"And I really felt like I was going straight," she said.
Try it. See how you do. Can any of us go straight?