Monday, August 06, 2007
I guess I don't know how to read maps.
I mean I *thought* I could read maps. Since I'm usually the one navigating via atlas when Bubba and I drive somewhere and we usually end up where we're planning to go without having make a hundred *safe* U-turns or anything.
But I guess I *can't read a map* because I managed to get Jada and I lost in the hills where there were, like, five trails.
I set out to hike around the park on Sunday morning thinking, "Hey, I'll get the dog out and we'll both get some exercise in nature and won't this be nice."
I even consulted the trail map with the ranger for godssake. Granted, I listened to about every fifth word he said since I was distracted by the big scary Beware of Mountain Lions sign nailed up next to the map, but from my angle the trail map looked all simple and what could go wrong.
I should have known the direction our morning would take when Jada built a log cabin about 5/10 mile into our walk, meaning I got to hump a blue bag of doots for the duration. Goodie.
We then proceeded to hike up some decent grades, the strenuousness of which I was not adequately warned, and then plummeted down a drop-off in the trail that had both Jada and I scrabbling to keep ourselves upright without the assistance of our asses.
But hey, we were moving, we were sweating lightly, the views were nice, I was taking pictures and we were en-route. All was well. Then, 1.5 miles into our hike we hit an unnecessarily confusing trail merge where two of three trail markers were of the same name.
Trail Option 1: Mine Hill Trail
Trail Option 2: something else
Trail Option 3: Mine Hill Trail
Instead of tackling this issue head on, we decided to take a breather so that Jada could rip-off another dog's water (meaning I wouldn't have to pry her portable bowl from my pack myself - lazy) and I could make random dog banter with a couple girls who'd set up house at the one picnic bench in the park.
When they asked me which direction I was heading and I said "Mine Hill Trail" while pointing in the direction of the ravine behind me, I shouldn't have been surprised when they looked at me like that.
In a moment of Navigational Ego Preservation, I collected Jada from her shady under-bench retreat and darted off in the direction of the first "Mine Hill Trail" signpost at the speed of shame. 1 in 2 chance right?
I hiked us for about a mile uphill in the wrong direction before I realized that even though I kept seeing our trail on the signposts, it was clear that this trail was not our trail and I'd better do something about it before we fell into the Lost and Stranded in the World's Easiest to Navigate Park category. Thankfully making the decision to turn around and head back the way we came was made easier by the fact that it would be downhill. Bonus!
Then we passed the two chicks from the picnic bench who were looking all confident and knowledgeable in their trail following and not at all like the bumbling, map-clutching tard I was becoming.
Although when they consulted my map (of course I had to show them the map) they, too, agreed that having two trails named the same was a mite confusing and don't feel bad they'd have made the same mistake.
Who said anything about a mistake?
Anyhoo, Jada and I managed to successfully retrace our steps to the totally unclear trail merge so we could then confidently take the proper trail since we'd already exhausted our other similarly named option.
She built another log cabin, which I bagged and packed, and we hiked without incident down the hill and back to the car. No mountain lions and not really any worse for wear. Except for the faint waft of doots coming from the backpack and the fact I felt like a moron for managing to choose incorrectly in a 50/5o scenario, all was well. We had exercised in nature, man! Wee!
Meanwhile, I ran nine miles on Saturday for the first time ever and without getting lost thankyouverymuch. Likely thanks to the fact that the park service doesn't name our streets. I guess I'm weird in that I expect three different streets to have three different names.