Monday, February 27, 2012

Get lost. It will keep you sane.

I like getting lost the first time I go on a  hike somewhere new.  I mean, I do have GPS after all - just in case I really get lost.

So today, after following a riverbed off the path and down the mountains I found myself at a dead end in the cool shadows of the valley.  I had three options:
1) turn around
2) pull out the GPS
3) climb the tree in front of me and then climb the cliff above that.

At the very top of the cliff was grass sparkling in the sun.  The sun was teasing me.  It knew I couldn't resist.  So, I grabbed the tree and began to climb.  Trees are easy to climb.  Stay near the trunk and it's just like climbing an uneven ladder.  Well, that is until the it starts to sway.  That's when I transferred to the cliff.

I started climbing again.  It was a little shaky.  There were times when a rock would suddenly give out from underneath my foot or my handhold would crack under the pressure, but I knew from climbing experience that as long as one connection to the mountain was secure, everything else is fine.

After a short wrestle with that cliff, I made it to the top. And what did I find?  Heaven.

Lush green fields.

Meadows blowing in the wind.
I came around a bend and found myself in a storybook.
No one walked this way.  There was no path.  There were no other people.  Just me and God's beautiful artwork.

I walked for a while and then was stopped by Man.  A chain link fence.  I knew that I was heading in the right directions to end up back where I needed to be, but this chain link fence was not going to let me get there.   Because the woods on the other side of this chain link fence were so dense, I decide to continue along the fence until there was an opening at some point where people had already made a path.

I finally came along a very small tunnel under the fence.  I laid down and slithered my way under.  It wasn't until I was about 3/4 the way through that I thought, "I'm very small, who else could possibly fit through here."  Just a moment later, when I was through, I noticed that the path was not made for walking but crawling.. or rather, walking on all fours.  And there were no footprints just coyote tracks.  I needed to get out of there fast.  If a hungry coyote came walking down his path, I was for sure getting rabies.  I very quickly slithered back under the fence.

Once back on the other side I sighed with relief and continued to follow the fence.  Not too far down the hill I was stopped again.  This time, by a fence that was perfectly perpendicular to the first fence.  Time to get my fence jumping shoes on.

A tree stood in my way.  It was just close enough to the fence to be in the way and just far enough away that it didn't help.  So after climbing this horribly wobbly fence, while arm wrestling the tree, I swung my legs over.   Everyone knows that if you climb a fence once you are at the top you are home free because you just swing your legs over and drop down to the ground.  However, this ground had very high grass and I had no idea what lied underneath.  So I very gently lowered myself down to the ground to find very unstable and slippery terrain.

I could now see the path I wanted about 100 yards down this very steep hill.  Because of the looseness of the earth and the very steep slant of the hill,  I semi-skied down, using my arms as ski poles when gravity pulled at both of my feet at the same time.

I was never so happy to hit stable ground.  I walked about 50 yards before I realized, my car key had fallen out of my pocket at some point....  crap.  After talking with Best Friend Jen for a moment, I decided to head back and look for it.  One key, lost in the midst of this whole adventure.

I headed back up the slippery terrain.  For every step I took, I slid back a half a step.  I was on nature's treadmill, except I needed to make progress on this treadmill.  

After quite a hike, I got back to my wobbly fence, I stopped and looked around.  No key.  I was already thoroughly exhausted and I knew that if I climbed this fence I would have to do it at least once more.  I got up my strength and got over that fence.  I stopped at the tree I arm wrestled.  He didn't have my key either.

I headed back to the coyote path.  My discouragement quickly faded when I saw a glimmer of something silver in the dirt.  Sure enough, while slithering under, my key had fallen out of my pocket.  I swear to God, finding this key was a miracle from God.

The key is the silver sliver next to the cement block.
I still had quite a walk ahead of me to get back to my car, but not before climbing my wobbly fence one more time - but of course by this time we were friends.  So, I had to stop at the top and take a pictures of us.  Of course the arm wrestling tree jumped in the background...

I ended the hike throughly exhausted.  I probably hiked three times as far as I had originally planned.  I, for sure, had no intention of climbing a tree, a cliff and a fence, and by the end my legs were literally shaking.  But like most things in my life I wouldn't change it for the world.

I got to be an adventurer. I got to be in a little piece of heaven. I got to be a character in my own storybook.

First rate single life, indeed.