Hiking the Lake Bob Sandlin trail
"Yep, it happenss all the time," he said.
That "it" he was talking about was getting lost, turned around, taking the wrong path, getting disoriented, and trying to find your way out of situation before it becomes an even worse situation.
I hate to admit it, but I got lost on the trail at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park near Pittsburg, Texas.
I can understand getting lost out in the Rockies, taking a wrong path and being found years later by hikers who just happened to be walking by -- you wearing buckskins that you made yourself, your beard unruly and full of leaves, them wrinkling up their noses because you haven't washed in years. But getting lost at Lake Bob Sandlin? How embarrassing.
I started out on this 4.5 mile hike at 7:45 in the morning. The temperature was already muggy and in the lower 80s, but at least I had a water bottle. I thought I'd take a leisurely hike through the woods, find the trout pond, and make it out in about a couple of hours. I had a map, the trail was well groomed -- peace of cake.
The trail was easy to follow, leading through the woods, over a few wooden bridges that spanned waterless creek beds, up some steps, down some slopes, and I never saw another soul -- probably because of the heat.
But then I took a left (on a firebreak) when I should have kept going straight, and before I knew it I was trekking through wilderness, around downed trees and thorn bushes, and the only thing I was happy about was that I still had some water. And my cellphone.
I dialed my wife's number but hung up before it went through. I could NOT call her up and say, "Honey, having a great time, can you find the number for the rangers out here, I'm a bit lost, nothing to worry about though, I have water and there are no reports of bears or escaped convicts in the area."
No need to freak her out.
Then I remembered the map. The map had a telephone number on it, so I called it.
"Howdy, I'm out here on your trail and I seem to have gotten turned around. I took a left at a Y and now I'm following a barbed wire fence trying to look for the trout pond. Any suggestions?"
Boy did I feel like an idiot.
Backtracking back to the Y was the answer, and when I got there, I went the other direction. Within minutes I found a sign that would have saved me a lot of grief and embarrassment if I'd just kept going straight.
I could have gone on to the trout pond, but I was hot, tired, my water had run out, and I had had enough.
NEXT time I hike the Lake Bob Sandlin trail, I'll know. I'll know to keep going until I see the sign, and I'll know to hike the trail in much cooler temperatures.
Did I have a good time despite the mishap? You bet. Will I tell anybody about my little misadventure? Heck no, except for you. I know you'll keep my secret.