Monday, September 24, 2007


No, this post is not about the TV show. I actually don't watch that one, though I am told I should. By the way, TV season is coming back this week, so look for many posts on that subject.

Yesterday I went for a trail run and intended to be out for about an hour or so. It was a glorious NorCal September day and I decided to stretch it out a bit. I went my usual Miwok to Coyote Ridge and then decided to drop down to Muir Beach. I then came cross a trail head that i had never before seen and thought it looked interesting. I now know the trails well enough that I figured it would eventually have to meet up with Dias Ridge, which takes me close to home.

So, I jumped on it(there is not a lot of time for thoughtful decision making when you are running. You either take the trail or keep going) and followed the path. I must say that it was one of the most beautiful trails I've run: it took me from open fields, to deep woods (literally brushing alongside the great Redwoods of Muir Woods) and back into open fields. I continue to marvel that I live mere miles from such natural beauty.

The problem, though was threefold: 1. since it wasn't a well travelled path, it was very poorly marked. 2. it constantly broke into three different directions and didn't have arrows pointing the way 3. there were many points in time where I simply lost the trail due to high vegetation/chapparel growth.

Long story short is that after 30 minutes of running (straight uphill, I might add. Another consequence of bad decision making), I recognized that I was lost. After ten minutes more running and no recognizeable landmarks, I had a mini panic. I wasn't sure whether I should reverse course and head back downhill, or forge forward. Of course I neglected to bring my trail map (as well as my cell phone, water or food beyond a gel for that matter). I decided to stay at it and finally -- as in about a half hour later -- came to my trailhead. While this only rated about a 5 or 6 on a 1-10 panic scale, it would have been a bit different if this all occurred a mere hour later, when the sun was starting to set.

As noted, I generally felt like I was going in the right direction, which was ultimately confirmed, but man, was I reminded of a very important life and trail lesson: always be prepared.

Funny enough I was reading the news online this morning, and came upon the story of a boy scout troop that also lost its trail and ended up getting lost for an evening. The troopmaster, when interviewed, said that while he appreciated the search effort and all the attention, he was never concerned as they were completely prepared.

So, the lesson of this all is whether on the trails, or in other aspects of your life, always be fully prepared to the best extent possible. 'Cause it's a good rule of thumb that life (and the trail) will throw you a curve wall when you least expect it.


Crazymamaof6 said...

glad you weren't really lost! and it was a fairly easy lesson learned. good thing. and i am generally over prepared, with mom stuff. except for when i am not and i leave the house with out a bottle or another necessary item , and then i am sad. the panic overtakes me and the baby cries for a long time on the way home. we survive but for the next while i am extra careful about packing the necessities. but if anyone ever needs a pack of fruit snacks or a band aid i got it covered in my handy dandy bag of mom tricks!

Dave said...

Time for a GPS.