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Monday, October 14, 2013

Lost, then found

Today was a classic fall wake-up call telling us that winter is almost here. It was in clanging contrast to the warm and sunny day that we had yesteday. For most of yesterday, the deep blue sky with golden aspen leaves against it mesmerized me.
Yesterday, I had the chance to take a photo of the Labraduo together, in the sunshine with aspen leaves behind them. First they looked right.
Then, in unison, they swiveled their heads the other way, as if an amazing scent wafted from their left.
As I mentioned yesteday, the day captivated me, and the incredible beauty of our world "forced" me to do more than usual. I actually didn't tell the whole story, because it was a little too fresh and unprocessed in my mind. On my solo mountain bike ride, I went to explore a network of trails that I visit a couple of times a year, but this was the first time this year. It was going to be an easy ride. I'd spin around those fun trails and then spin home.

Unfortunately, the unmarked trails had been changed fairly dramatically, with lots of new extensions forging off in various directions. I followed several of them, all of which were steeply downhill, before realizing that I was going the wrong way. Then, I'd have to laboriously pedal back up the very long hills, while trying to suppress my coughing spasms. Eventually, I realized that I'd been riding for much too long given my illness and pain so I decided to use a "bail out" off-trail route that I've employed in the past.

Well, I got disoriented during my bail out. I had a GPS with me, and I pulled up the topo map on the screen with a little red line that showed all my movements. It became clear that I'd done the classic "lost person's spiral", going in circles while I was disoriented.

I forced myself to stop and think. I stared at my GPS, and my illness-addled brain managed to interpret the map so that I could point in the general direction that I wanted to go. From the GPS and looking around me, I even had some idea of what route would be the least steep. Then, I climbed up on a rocky outcropping that had a good view, and the panorama of the mountains on the horizon confirmed my impressions from the GPS.

So, I headed northeast and looked for familiar markings on my off-trail route. Soon, I was in the groove - I'd found my familiar bail-out route, and I descended it happily. I still had a technical and rocky trail to ride across to get home. But, I made it, albeit with a fair bit of coughing.

The moral of the story is that it's best to sit still and make a plan when you feel lost. Otherwise, you're likely to wander in circles, wasting energy (especially if you have no sense of direction, like me). I'm glad that I sat still to make a plan yesterday!

Today would've been a far worse day to be lost. It is cold with wet snow falling periodically. This morning, as Shyla and I did our daily ride, it was thundering and snowing at the same time! That's a rarity!
While I didn't love the weather this morning, Shyla seemed to adore it, running around like a crazy dog! She loves the cold.
Later, I went to visit the "bear spring" trail camera where the mothers and cubs have often cavorted this season. No bears have been there in quite a while but I did get some fun bobcat photos that I'll share very soon.

Here's what the surface of the puddle formed by the spring looks like. Yes, the aspen leaves are falling. They're so thick on top of the puddle that it's hard to tell that there's water under them.
Despite the bad weather, I've taken it relatively easy so far today. I am really hoping that helps with my cough and my neck. I'm sitting by the fire now. It feels like winter.


  1. I've had a few rides like that - nothing frustrates a horse more than having to keep turning back.

    Since I have been a little out of touch, how is R doing?

    Monty and Harlow

  2. Know what you mean about having no sense of direction - my momma lacks one, too. She's been told she could get lost in room with one door before.

    On another note...those golden aspen leaves are gorgeous, and mom and I have BOTH been admiring your photos quite a lot! Always so stunning!

  3. Glad you made it safely home, and as always, lovely photos.

  4. You make a great point, in life when we are lost we tend to panic, instead of stopping, taking a few deep breathes and making a plan. I am so glad you were able to keep your head and get home safely. I don't think I have ever had thunder and snow, that is cool!

  5. You need to be careful out there! LOL. Did that sound like a mom?

  6. I love the two photos of R and Shyla looking in the same directions. I am a little jelous of your first snow but I am sure that I'll be getting plenty of my own soon enough.

  7. Yikes!! We're so glad you found your way home and could spend some time relaxing by the fire today...

  8. Thunder snow! We've had that here before and it is weird. I'm so glad you stopped and gathered yourself and were able to find your way back home. I sure hope you feel better soon. Love the photos of the 2 together!!!

    Thanks again for answering my question. It certainly helps me to understand. We have some issues with Taffy because of her being a puppy mill dog.

  9. Those pictures of the 2 of them made me smile:)

    I hope you feel better soon and are drinking plenty of tea and relaxing!

  10. Oh my goodness, please don't get lost there
    Benny & Lily

  11. Oh! All of my favorite colors in that last photo! Hope you rested today!

  12. Glad you had your GPS. You are so right to stop and try to work out where you are rather than keep moving in the wrong direction.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  13. Glad you made it back home safe and sound!! Hope you are feeling better today! I just love the two pictures of the duo...what photogenic pups you have!!

  14. Thank goodness you found your way, KB!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  15. oh, that totally would have scared Ma, cause she has NO sense of direction either!! I'm so glads you made it back okay!
    Loves those pics of the pups!! Just beautifuls...
    Ruby ♥

  16. I totally understand the "no sense of direction" thing. I'm glad you were able to make it home ok. And I'm glad you have a fire to sit by and warm up.

    Take care of yourself, ok? Otherwise the dogs will worry about you. :)

  17. The first thing I thought of when this story started unfolding was your bad sense of direction. I'm glad you got things sorted out! I tend to usually do pretty well with directions and keeping myself oriented, but one day a year or two ago, I trusted my husband to keep track of where we were since he'd just finished training for ground search. *sigh* Never again!

  18. I'm glad you have a GPS and that you didn't panic (as many people might have done)! It's so easy to get turned around when there are no familiar landmarks available. The transition to winter is so beautiful. So nice to have a cozy fire to come home to.

    Susan and Wrigs

  19. Good you have a GPS with you when you are out.
    Never no what happen...great you did your way home safe


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