Before I begin — let me say this. This summer will mark our tenth year of hiking. We’ve hiked just about everything in Boulder County, and all surrounding counties. We’ve even hiked the Almalfi Coast in Italy.
Stairs on the Path of the Gods in Italy
I would say that makes us “seasoned hikers.” Hikers that know their way around the mountain trails. So what happened on Friday, March 11th?!?!?
Map Master and I got lost in O’Fallon Park near Morrison. In our defense — two years ago, when we hiked near O’Fallon Park we met Ranger Martin.
He told us to stay on the Jefferson County trails because (and I quote from my November 2013 blog entry) — “We have to rescue many people from the Denver County O’Fallon Park trails. They are not well marked.”
I kinda. Forgot. That sage piece of advice. So when I found a trail for me and Map Master to hike last Friday, I chose O’Fallon Park. Because we’d never been on that trail. Because I forgot what Ranger Martin told us.
There was a map at the trailhead kiosk. I snapped a picture of it. As it turns out, it is probably the worst map in the history of our hiking. In fact — I’ve Googled O’Fallon Park since, and there is a common theme in the chat rooms — the map at the trailhead is worthless.
Map Master and I were doing quite well until after lunch. As we headed back down the trail, something happened. There were twists and turns, and places we didn’t recognize.
After an hour of trying to reach our car we concluded — we were lost!
There was no one around. We were wandering O’Fallon Park alone, and we had only a couple hours of daylight left. (Well — OK — maybe 3 hours).
There are so many loops at O’Fallon. And we were on ALL of them!
We were sure we needed to follow the sun to the west to find the trailhead, and so — into the sun we hiked.
And hiked and hiked!
Several thoughts entered my mind:
- Did I survive Ovarian Cancer last year only to perish in O’Fallon Park because of their map?
- Maybe we should have scattered a trail of Map Master’s M&M’s to lead us back to the car.
- I think Map Master and I will be OK. We have a good food supply. I still have chocolates, one full water bottle, and some mustard residue left on my sandwich container. Map Master has M&M’s and two oranges. Oh yeah — we’re good till morning.
- I need to find a stone and carve a message to my family in case I never see them again.
- Will we be forced to use our CORSAR (Colorado Search and Rescue) cards?
- Wait! Was that my life flashing before my eyes? Nah.
Each intersection we reached just didn’t jive with the map I had photographed at the trailhead kiosk.
As we were on ONE of the THREE Meadow View Loop trails (Seriously — who gives trails the SAME name?) — there he was! Was it a mirage? — or was that a young man walking two dachshunds?
Map Master said to this young man — “Excuse me. Can you tell us where we are?”
I said to this young man — “WE’RE LOST!!! WE NEED HELP!!! I WILL PAY YOU TO GET US BACK TO OUR PARKING LOT!!!” (Or something like that — why mince words!)
We were excited. We had been saved. We followed him down the trails — he was only one parking lot away from where we were parked. Help had arrived in the way of one young pizza delivery guy (Tanner) and his two dachshunds. (The dachshunds had Japanese warrior names that I can’t remember right now, but they all knew the way back to the parking lot.)
Tanner offered to drive us to our parking lot and we gladly accepted. What Tanner didn’t know was that I wasn’t going to let more than 10 feet come between us until I saw my SUV!
I know that eventually we would have found the parking lot, but Tanner probably shaved a couple hours of hiking time off our (already) long hike.
That night I made spaghetti with a lemon sauce and ate enough to have sustained me and Map Master in O’Fallon Park for a couple days!
While driving home, Map Master and I have decided we need to go back to O’Fallon Park and see where we went wrong. (It’s a M.O.M. thing.) This time, however, we will carry a large bag of M&M’s to scatter along the trail.
Or — take a hike at O’Fallon Park!