The Wild Azalea Trail through the Kisatchie National Forest is wide, well-maintained and well-marked with gold diamonds nailed to trees every 60 yards or so. It would be hard to get lost, which makes it an ideal place for a hiker like me, who often goes into the woods alone.
Because I am often alone and the stretches of trail between roads are long–often 5 miles or more, I must park my car at a trail head and walk in and back out. The most difficult decision I must make is where to #turn and head back, where to give up on seeing what’s just beyond that clump of trees or over that little hill or around that bend, and head back so as to get to my car before dark or in enough time to make it to my next destination on time.
But I have been lost in the woods. One time many years ago, shortly after my late husband and I moved to Louisiana, we stayed in our tree stands in the woods just a bit too long. When we met at our agreed upon rendezvous point, dark was settling in.
I was the one with the good sense of direction. We set out in the direction I chose and soon arrived at another spot I clearly recognized. We turn left here and go up the hill, I said.
And then, before long, when we had not arrived at that next spot I knew I would recognize, I stopped and looked around. But everything, everything, is strange in the dark. I had no idea.
I think we should go that way, my husband said, indicating a direction that made no sense to me. But I was in no position to argue. I had to trust his instinct. And so we turned again… and walked out to the road, a bit far from our parked car, to be sure, but the right road.
How do you know, or decide, when to #turn and go back the way you came? Or in a completely new direction?