Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Long Way Home

I'm always attempting to push myself "outside the box". I think that most people enjoy safety. There is a chance that it is just me, but I really don't think so. We like comfort, peace, a nice smooth path without a lot of surprises. But, just that last statement alone makes me want to cry. No surprises? That is a little dull, isn't it? Even in the safety of my box, the drama finds me. I think even if I didn't have a husband and children and all these critters, the drama would still find me. I'm one of those people that has an adventure just doing the laundry.

Anyway, I started walking again this week. When I walk, I always take the same route. This trail has been trodden for many years. My mother used to walk it when I was in high school. We used to pick berries along this path (before the county started spraying the poor vines). I remember walking it hand-in-hand with Rodney when we were dating. There were even several times that my friends and I walked it at night and took turns scaring the bejeeses out of each other. When you become so familiar with a path, it almost becomes a friend to you. But, it is familiar and it's safe so yesterday, I strayed from my path.

My iPhone is one handy little gadget. I keep finding awesome uses for it. The new Nike app that I have been using not only lets me hear the cheers of my facebook friends, but also has the ability to route my walk through gps. I started to notice that there was another road just past my turn off that made a loop back to the farm. I was intrigued by this and began to wonder what that path would look like and how much further it would actually be.

My right knee had a bit of a tweak in it yesterday and I also was having moderate cramps. (if there are any guys that read my blog, I apologize for bringing up the dreaded topic of pms). I figured it would be great day to take a longer, slower walk than the regular face-paced walk. So, I took my tweaked knee and cramping uterus and set off on a new adventure.

This is my regular route... almost exactly 3 miles, although the gps sometimes calculates it more or less, but it's 3 miles.

This is where I was set to go. With my iPhone in hand, I was so excited to simply follow the navigation and step my feet on new soil.

All these back roads have been "gated" for the past 5 years or so. There is a hunting club that leases the land and they put these gates up to keep out traffic. During hunting season, I usually stick pretty close to home for fear I'll be mistaken as a deer, or fear of interrupting somebody's hunt...either way could end in gunfire. The presence of these gates gives me some sense of security, knowing there won't be any vehicle traffic to endanger to dogs.

I apprehensively passed up my regular cut-off road and for the first time ever, set foot on an unfamiliar path. The very next gated road wasn't far from my regular turn off and the gps pointed me in that direction, so off I went. I figured that I would just stay on this path and it would very clearly lead me back to the main road. I put my iPhone back in my pocket, took my headphones off and simply took it all in. This was surely the road that would lead me back was well worn and, by the map, it was the right road. But, this is what happened.

It was about this point when I pulled the iPhone back out to see how much further it would be until I got back to the main road. "What the?? How did I get this far off the path?". I called Rodney and asked him where this road led. He told me that the map of those roads was old and the road I was on was new and I was going to end up over in Oklahoma if I kept on going. I didn't really feel like going to Oklahoma yesterday so I decided to turn around. He told me that the road on the map was an old old logging road and it was all grown up and I'd have to walk through the woods to get back down to the main road.

I was somewhat disappointed as I headed back towards my old, familiar path. As I approached the gate, Emma took off in the woods in a clearly defined old-path/roadway. "This must be the old logging road!! Dare I navigate my way through it? YES, yes indeed!!"

This is what the beginning of the trail looked like. Quite inviting and mysterious and oh-so exciting.

The deeper I got into the thick of the woods, the more exciting it all became, I checked the gps regularly and was exactly on the path displayed on the map. The smell of the sun warming the pine needles was hypnotic and I was beside myself with delight.

I felt just like Alice! I couldn't wait to see what was going to be around the next corner.

The trail started to get more and more narrow but I kept right on going.

Then I ran into this. I checked the gps again and was still right on the road so I made my way through the trees and kept on going. I'd come this far, I didn't want to turn back now because of a few obstacles.

After a a hundred feet or so of not being quite sure I was even on a path anymore, the road opened back up.
And then, there it was, the main road. I'd made it back. As exciting as it was to not be quite sure where I was, it was just as thrilling to see an old familiar road in front of me.

After what seemed like forever, I came up to the road I would normally have come down. There were mixed emotions. "I love you, road! But today, I did something new and a little more exciting than walking where you are."
I guess I've made my way down this hill a thousand times or more and yesterday, I passed it by coming from the other direction. It was odd but really really fun.

My poor girls were exhausted! I was too and sincerely considered joining them as they took a break in a brook and refreshed themselves with good-ol Arkansas creek water.

5.16 miles...1 hour and 35 minutes later, I was home. It seemed like it had been 3 hours or more and the adventure was well worth the trip.

Rodney asked me this morning if I was going to go to Broken Bow and back today. I still wasn't in the mood to go to Oklahoma. Who knows though, maybe one day I will.

1 comment:

  1. About 3/4 through your post I thought.. this is a metaphor for my life! I haven't come out on the familiar road yet ;-) But I have not lost faith that I will. Thanks for sharing. Glad you found a new path.