The blog is titled "Not all who wander are lost." Apparently that has a spiritual meaning - For me it is literal. Literally. Not everyone who wanders is- necessarily lost.
Feeling the NEED to know where I am, can tend to cause me anxiety. You must know the feeling. Someone asks "Where are you??" You look at the map. You look at the road. Don't see any town markers. Hmm. "I don't know exactly?" They reply "Well how long till you get there?" Hmm. "Don't know." Now up to that point, you know you are on the right road -and until you started questioning what point on the map indicates where you are, your were content in your journey. But now, you start to wonder? "Where am I?" Natural instincts get buried by second guessing. Drowned by worrying that other people are concerned where you are. "What does that sign say?" "Is that a short cut?" "Maybe I should go back?" No longer are you, contently, quietly, enjoying the journey. (recognizing a parallel here?)
Remember these lessons:
Lesson #1- Don't question own instincts.
Lesson #2- Don't worry about other peoples worries. Cause... well it screws up Lesson #1
Mind you, Mike will deny it, but he's still a Jersey boy. So I went out so he wouldn't get lost and cause it provides me someone to explore with. Normally I'd go out exploring on foot and as pretty as it would be, I can get further on bike.
Normally on foot, being alone- if you met me on the trail, I'd look like a geek. I'm over prepared, with all my 'just in case' gear- safety whistle- bear bell- GPS- food- extra clothes- flashlights- maps- you name it- I found a way to load it in my little pack.
Packing for this day- I realize= "I'm not alone! I don't have to bring everything!" Cool.
Fast forward to unloading the bikes: "Uh oh. Forgot the GPS, Maps and snacks" "That's ok- we'll just follow our own tracks back." Our gear consists of, 2 cellphones (sketchy service at best mostly none!) each a bottle of water, 2 pairs of gloves, and 2 headbands to keep ears warm. Thats it. No food. Map. GPS. Extras. Ahhh, no worries. Off we go in 40 degree weather on a beautiful October day.
We travel this little "road" that is along a natural Esker (anyone know what that is?). Go a little too far (whole different story). Track back a bit and think "Hmm- wonder where this path goes". Oh it was gorgeous. We road and road through these birch patches with yellow leaves. Alder stretches in different phases of foliage change. Stretches of open with drying out grasses, as they ready for the winter.
I start to tire. Some of the hills I have to walk up. I'm slowing down.
Eventually we come to a split in the path. The trail we were on, meets up with a familiar snowmobile trail, I've traveled a few times, not often this far out, but it's still familiar. I instinctively head west. Knowing it will bring us out closer to home than where we started, but we'd been riding 3 hours now and it was time to head towards getting home. Or at least where we don't have to ride anymore. Plus we can always get a ride back to my truck.
Mike read the signs, nailed to the trees. He thinks- we should head East.
Mistake- Ignored Lesson #1. I question the instincts and follow Mike.
Now. Either way would have brought us out to where we needed to go- but this loop that we are now on is 30 miles. 30 miles on rough path. Through the mud. Undulating. Crossing washouts. Tree jumping 30 miles. So the question is.... where are you on the loop and which direction are you now going?
Answer: The looooooooong way around. I'm now pedaling with 2 highly exausted legs that are contemplating going on strike. I have to walk up any slight incline. Any little undulation- I have NO POWER. I wasn't scared. I was too tired to be scared.
I was hungry. But was reminded that I knew my hunger was temporary. I was too tired to care about the hunger much. Even if I was cold for a night- even if I was hungry. It would pass. I wasn't alone. I had plenty of fat storage to last and make it through. I knew it would pass. I wouldn't be lost forever. I wouldn't be lost for long. (thoughts wander to those who always wonder if there will be another day with food. those who are alone. those who KNOW the pain will NOT go away)
I should have followed my gut and stayed West.
We got to a point that was impassable. In an attempt to find away around, enough time was wasted that the sun was beginning to set. We need to find a way out fast. We back tracked. About 5 miles back there was a small section on a spur of a 'road' (i put that in quotes cause they are more widened glorified ATV trails to you city slickers) so we make a run for it.
We made it. And shortly after heading West on that 'road' - my dad comes barreling around the corner. Apparently he's been out looking for us for over 2 hours at this point. Over 5 hours after hopping on bikes- I jumped in a pick up truck and headed home.
Was I lost? No. The Wardens Search and Rescue wasn't involved so I'm not counting it. Consider it a long day wandering in the great outdoors!
I was on the proper path all along. Just didn't get where I was headed in the time frame I thought I would. (insert knowing sighs from adoptive parents everywhere) We had a great time until I got a call from my brother worried about where we were, or weren't. We were always on the right path- but I questioned my instinct and headed the wrong way.
Lesson #1- Don't question your instincts.
Lesson #2- Don't worry about other peoples worries.
EDITED TO ADD: Maybe the lesson is- stop listening to everyone else.?? (easier said than done)