Friday, September 12, 2014

A hiking we will go and go and go and...

Maybe it was a metaphor for life.
About the decisions we make, the paths we take and the impact those choices have on our future.
Perhaps, it was a message from a higher power to really think about our next step.
Or maybe we just missed a directional marker.
Either way, what started out as a leisurely hike through a forested mountain became a mini-death march that lasted a lot longer than we had hoped, or were prepared for.
It all began on a warm summer's day in a little town the Missus and I used to live in. It was a scenic little ville, nestled among some of the biggest mountains in the province and communing with Ma Nature was a huge part of the community. There was so much of it around you, it was a natural draw and we spent many hours hiking through the woods.
Our dogs loved the excursions and any word that even sounded remotely like 'walk' got them worked up.
With the arrival of summer, the snow at the top of a nearby mountain park had finally receded enough to allow for hiking, so we decided to venture into new territory.
There were numerous trails of varying challenge and we decided on one called The Lindmark Trail. It was about six kilometres and looped back to the parking lot.
Perfect, it shouldn't take too long and we cheerfully headed out with two happy little dogs bounding around the woods.
No need to bring much water, because we would soon be back at the car. It's not like we would be hiking for half the day or anything.
Cheerfully, we skipped along the trail, chatting away and nodding to our fellow hikers as we all danced around the woodland realm like tree sprites basking in the glow of all nature had to offer.
Our dogs ran around like they always do, loving having so much to sniff and pee on.
So we hiked and we hiked and we hiked. We soon realized the Lindmark Trail should be called the Unmarked Trail because we had gone a lot farther than six kilometres and the end was no where in site. The lack of navigational signs as promised by the large map at the park entrance resulted in us taking a wrong turn.
We had been hiking so long even the dogs stopped running around and were merely walking the trail with us. Through the trees I saw a glimmer of asphalt and thought relief was at hand, but the asphalt turned out to be the road we took to get to the parking long, not the parking lot itself.
I recognized the section of road, and knew we were at least four kilometres from our car, so we trudged up hill in the summer sun and finally reached our vehicle.
We had long depleted our meagre water supply and frantically searched the baking-hot car for anything of the liquid variety.
What we found were two near-empty bottles of Coke stuffed under the seat. We looked at the bottles, then each other, and somewhat reluctantly chugged the fermented pop product that was warm and icky, but it was liquid and beggars can't be choosers. And neither can people who are really thirsty after hiking through the woods for half the day.
Having choked down the stale carbonated beverage, we headed home where we grabbed a big glass of water before flopping down on the couch.
About an hour after we got home, I said the word walk and the dogs barely looked up. If they could have lifted just one certain middle claw, I am sure they would have.
So what did we learn from this adventure?
We learned the people in charge of the directional trail signs should be fired and we learned to bring more water than you think you will need.
Remember, it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have.
Which, by the way, is my favourite saying.

Copywrite 2014 Darren Handschuh

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