I enjoy hiking — a day outdoors with spectacular scenery and a sense of adventure, all the while burning calories. Plus, my dogs love it.
I recently decided to hike the Boulders Trail. I parked at the end of Phoenix Street and set off on what I figured would be a one- or two-hour walk on the Cypress Trail to the Boulders Loop — and perhaps points beyond. We got a late start and I made a firm commitment not to end up lost in the dark on an unfamiliar trail. So I figured we’d hike the 1-mile Boulders North Trail and at some point decide whether to take the 1.7-mile trek on the Boulders South Trail.
Well, I do like a challenge, so when we arrived at Boulders South, I figured why not push on? Why backtrack when unknown territory beckons? Better to push on to the Cypress Trail.
By the time we finally found the Cypress Trail, the sun had sunk low in the sky.
I began to get that “lost in the woods” feeling — augmented by the lack of a flashlight, food, water or a jacket. Time crawled past, the sun sank low and my anxiety built. I realized I hadn’t paid any particular attention to landmarks, although I knew I’d entered the trail off Phoenix Street.
I figured that was the trailhead.
That’s off of Granite Dells Road, another mile from where I entered the trail. We’d somehow passed the trail entrance. So we turned back, trying to find the Phoenix Street connection. No luck.
Now I was really concerned. A sign said 1 mile to the trailhead, which is where I thought I was. So I figured we should just push on to the trailhead and at least we’d be out of the woods by the time it got totally dark, even if the car wasn’t there.
We ran part of that final mile to Granite Dells Road, trying to exit the forest before we could no longer see the trail.
We were in big trouble.
But I heard a vehicle so I rushed toward the road. The driver of the Jeep didn’t hear my shouts or see me waving my arms as he sped past. Fortunately, another vehicle was approaching. And I made sure that driver saw us.
A wonderful fellow — Don Stanovich, I think. I had nothing to write with, so I hope that’s right. He told me I was completely lost — with a long walk ahead. Fortunately, he and his son, who had just barreled past me in his Jeep, had been four-wheeling and briefly gotten lost themselves or they wouldn’t have come along as late in the day as they did.
No telling where I’d have ended up without Don’s timely and amiable rescue. It turns out we were about two miles from Highway 260 — and my car another two or three miles from there.
Thanks to Don — I didn’t spend the rest of the night wandering in the dark. Bear and Bailey wagged themselves silly, appreciating a good ride when they had it. We’d run out of water miles ago and Bear had started to limp — since we’d walked twice our normal 3-4 miles.
Don didn’t seem to mind the muddy paws and the thirsty hitchhiker a bit. We chatted and in no time he deposited me safely at my parked car.
Turned out to be a great day.
A long adventure.
A happy ending.
But best of all — the spectacular generosity of a passing stranger — the best part of a Rim Country adventure.