Roads less travelled

Sometimes wrong turns are the best turns

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I get lost, easily.

On Saturday I parted ways with my family for a few hours as we camped near Daniel Boone National Forest and Laurel Lake to go hiking.

I drove my father’s pick-up to Cumberland Falls, where I went to the visitors’ station and picked up a pamphlet of hiking trails offered around the Cumberland River.

Armed with my camera, cell phone that had no signal, and footed with a pair of Columbia hiking sandals I set off on what I thought would be an easy four mile hike paralleling the river basin with a small looping trail back to my starting point. Other trails intersected, but I had no doubt of my ability to follow some clearly indicated trail markers along the path.

I missed a turn. I ended up walking 8.8 miles, up to the top of the river basin, across a road, and back down to the river by which point I was in a near panic because I had not seen anyone in a while and wondered where in the hell I was. And I was thirsty, very thirsty.

Along the way though there were some damn pretty sights – bolders, split rocks with a tree growing out of them, abandoned logging roads, and what I liked to imagine a lost civilization in the form of concrete steps out in the midst of nothing. (I even looked for a lone foot statue, which would have had me screaming like a girl immediately for those who get the reference)

Through a little faith and a general sense of direction I did find my way back, obviously. My feet were sore. I must have hiked for three to four hours. I sucked down two large bottle of Gatorade from a general store nearby.

And somehow after reflecting, I realize how much I liked the hike, even after being lost, tired, dehydrated and a bit scared. Perhaps it’s the part of me that still finds thrill playing in the woods like I did as a kid.

Or perhaps it was the hours of solitude, working things out in my head, alone and quiet and communing with a world far less complicated than my own (and with a little faith I should use in “my world” too. That being that faith and rational thought is the path always leading me to where I need to be even when I doubt).


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