I should know better than to go walking in Carlos State Park by myself. But it was 45 degrees out today and the sun was shining. I wanted to walk at least one more time in the park before it snowed again.
But I get a little turned around—all those twisty paths and spaghetti junctions where several paths meet. And the “You are Here” signs with a red dot in the middle of the spaghetti don’t seem to help me a bit. Arrows? Some point straight up at the sky. Others point off into the trees where there is no path at all.
I know as long as I stay on a path, I’ll end up somewhere. At least there aren’t any mosquitos.
I think my mistake today was taking a path that had a picture of a horse on it instead of a hiker. The horse path seemed to be going the right direction while the hiker path was counter-intuitive. In retrospect, I should have known that if I'm directionally challenged, counter-intuitive feelings should be ignored.
I knew that I had started my hike walking west. The afternoon sun had been in my eyes and the 15-mile-an-hour west wind was in my face. I remembered that much.
I knew I had circled north (right) at one point.
After a mile or two of north, the path kind of curved and split—and then the wind was on my back. Heading east, right?
It was when the path went four different directions that I got confused. So I took the horse path and ended up someplace that didn’t look familiar at all. And there were no people. I didn’t even see a horse.
I had to double back once when a path I decided to take led nowhere.
I hadn’t quite expected to be out in the prairie like this. Hmmm . . .
Man, there just isn’t anybody out here today. Bueller? Bueller? Bueller? Anybody? Guess everybody must be at work.
What was that noise off to the right?!? If you meet a cougar, are you supposed to lie down and play dead or do you wave your arms wildly to scare it off? I can never remember.
Just head south-ish. South-ish should be right. But south-ish leads back into the woods . . .
Yes, a road. I knew there'd be a road. Where there’s a road, there’s civilization. Where there’s civilization, there’s got to be a parking lot. Where there’s a parking lot, there’s got to be my car. Somewhere. Out there.
Oh, how embarrassing. I had circled all the way around the park and back to the park entrance. It was probably only about three miles in all. It just seems longer when you’re not 100 percent sure where you’re going.
I was never worried. Ha, ha. I sorta kinda knew where I was, as the crow flies, the whole time. After all, the park is only 1,236 acres. How lost could I get?
I was sure glad to see my car.