Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Leading Friends Astray

Yesterday, I invited my friend Margaret to join Eddie and I on one of our little hikes. ( Margaret will be staying at my place looking after the critters next week while I attend my late sister's Celebration of Life, and this was a good opportunity for her to reconnect with the hyper little monster my sweet sheltie boy).

Margaret had not been on any of the hikes in  Crofton and left it up to me to pick one.  The tide was in, so I ruled out Osborne Bay Park and chose Crofton Lake, a short but enjoyable hike I've done many times with many friends.  It is normally about a twenty minute hike up to the lake, a bit of time taking in the beauty and serenity at the lake, and fifteen minutes for the return trip.  Let's say an hour's outing altogether.

Except when I lead my friends astray.

Back in the summer of 2009, when I first moved to Crofton, I had gone up to the lake with some friends and we had done a circular route - up the 20 minute trail, but back down through the trees and along an old logging road  around Richards Mountain which gave us panoramic ocean views and eventually brought us back out at the parking lot.  I hadn't done that route since, but figured - what the heck, it can't be that hard to find.


Somewhere along the way, I zigged when I should have zagged.  There were many secondary trails through the trees, and on one we found some cairns marking the trail so we decided to stick to that one - if we came out in Duncan, or Chemainus, or Maple Bay, we could always use my cellphone to call for a friend to give us a ride back to our car.

We walked.  And we walked.  And we walked.  I was somewhat anxious about not knowing where I was going so the camera stayed in my pocket most of the time.  But if I had taken more pictures you would have seen more of this

Trail on Richards Mountain

and more of this

More trail on Richards Mountain

and a bit of this

Oregon grape in bloom

and even some of this

Little camouflaged lizard in mud

And some of  a tired Eddie and a tired friend.  I won't mention that said friend also slipped in the mud at one rather awkward point in the trail and ended up covered from head to toe with mucky mucky mud.  No, I won't mention that.

Tired Eddie on the trail

We did eventually come out at a logging road, though at the time I had no idea which one.  Instinct told us to head right, which would take us down the mountain.  But my instinct hadn't been working very well so far that morning, so we turned left.  It was the right choice - just fifty meters or so up the road  we came to an intersection we recognized - the old logging road and a wide dirt trail - the dirt trail that in about ten minutes would get us back to our car.

We declared the hike a big success, despite taking two and a half hours and netting us one very muddy set of clothing, several aching joints, and a very tired dog.  Next time, no matter how short the hike is supposed to be, I shall carry more water (I gave my bottle to Eddie), granola bars (I forgot to replace them after my last hike), and my walking stick.  I did have my cell phone so we weren't in any great danger of being lost.

My friend proved her weight in gold - she kept assuring me we weren't lost, we were on an adventure. No, not lost, just exploring.  Not at all lost, just having a nice long walk.  Thank goodness for friends like that.


georgia little pea said...

Your muddy friend sounds a gem. I might have panicked a little (or a lot) if a 1 hour hike became a 21/2 hour one. Lucky you had your mob. Does it have one of those GPS trackers? You might want to invest in one. For future use. You know. :) x

Jean said...

GLP, no it doesn't have a GPS tracker. I just have a very simple one, with large numbers and no frills designed just for us technologically challenged retired folks. I once tried to read a GPS manual. Ha! Maybe I will take a compass with me next time - and some semaphore flags.

(For my Canadian readers, a 'mob' is the Australian term for cellphone). :)

Unknown said...

I have practically no sense of direction & can easily see myself doing something like this. Glad that your friend is a good sport :)

Funder said...

Wow, I bet you can get really lost in that kind of forest. It's one of the perks of riding in these mountains - even in the Sierra forests, like I did over the weekend, you can still see the mountains around you and orient off of them. Course, knowing where you are is only half the battle... you still have to get to where you want to be!

Also, PRO TIP: you won't get lost if you bring more than enough water. It's true! You only get lost on days when you just bring one bottle. ;)

Glad it all ended well!

Anonymous said...

Yes Jean I definately think you did a left turn when you should have gone right.LOL Those trails look unfamiliar to me, not like the well used circular trail.
When you have time I'll take you back to the lake for a refresher hike. Don't feel bad I got lost on a well used trail on Maple Mt.


Black Jack's Carol said...

Although I'm thinking you are a way better navigator than I am, I can relate in my give-new-meaning-to-directionally-challenged way. I once managed to get lost in Stanley Park as darkness was falling. There was no human with me that time, so I finally gave Scott (my last dog) his head, and he led me out the quick way. The trails were not exactly well-travelled but it was quite funny how little time it took once I stopped walking in circles :)

Glad you all made it home with a good story to tell and barely the worse for wear at all.