Lost and Found

Last week, the Curl Nation Mascot and I went on a hike all by ourselves.  No big whoop.  I do stuff like that all the time. I picked a hike the trail guide described as “waterfalls, broad slopes of heather meadows, views of peaks and valleys, and a quiet lake – all in a little-traveled portion of the Cascades.”  Sounds awesome.

The first thing that became very obvious: that guide book provides THE WORST directions.  I concluded that the main reason it’s a “little-traveled portion of the Cascades” is because no one can actually find the damn hike.  After driving around for a couple of hours on old forest roads, which gaging by the number of times I bottomed out, were not constructed with my car in mind, I pulled off randomly somewhere and started hiking.   I saw waterfalls:

And although I didn’t see any heather, there were vast meadows of foxglove:

And I also saw panoramic views of peaks and valleys and even a quiet lake.  All in all, a nice hike even if it wasn’t what I originally planned.  As the sun started to hang low in the sky, I decided it was time to go home.

Except . . . as I was driving out the maze of forest roads, I came to a locked gate at a Y in the road.  So I turned around and tried to get out another way, and another way, and another way, until finally, I realized that there was only one way out and going through this locked gate was it.  Simultaneously weighing on my mind was that driving around in circles left me with less than 1/8 of a tank of gas.  I had no idea where I actually was, no cell signal, no GPS,  and no one in sight.  I also realized I hadn’t seen any other cars or people all day.  I did see lots of deer, but they’re not exactly helpful in this kind of situation.

I decided to use my time wisely and read a few chapters of my book because surely, someone will be by soon.  An hour went by.  I drank some water and my dog and I walked down each branch of the Y.  I decided the right side of the Y was definitely the way back to town.  Yup, definitely, turn right once the gate is open.  Another hour went by.  I started wondering if I’d have to spend the night in my car.  I had told Sparklepants where I was planning to go before I left, but it was clear I wasn’t where I said I’d be, so even if a search party was sent out, they’d likely be searching in the wrong place.  I read some more. Another hour went by.  My stomach growled and my interest in my book was flagging.  Oye. How do I get myself into these situations?

And then!  And then!  A truck pulls up next to me.  In my excitement, I got all flustered and couldn’t roll down my window, so I just got out of my car and jumped up and down to ask them if they knew how to get out. 

You don’t have a key to the gate?  (Was that a rhetorical question?)  Uh, no.  I don’t have a key.  How did you get in?  Ummm, I’m not sure.  I don’t even know where I am.  Where were you trying to get to?  Right now, I’d like to just get back to town.  Ok, follow us.  Yippee!!!!!!

So that Y in the road?  It was the LEFT part of the Y that led back to town.

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