Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lost and found, all by accident

As a relatively good outdoors person, I'm almost never lost. Almost never. India was an exception, but there, the spring sky was reddish brown with dust, the sun popped up off the horizon and was nothing but a hot spot directly overhead, the streets of most towns are merely paved ancient donkey trails meandering all over the place, and since I can't read Hindi, I couldn't even memorize the names of the streets.

Lots of mushrooms, but they wouldn't have
provided much sustenance if I'd not
found my way back to civilization!!
Here in Siler City, there is forest everywhere except where roads have been paved. Along the roadsides the forest almost looks shaved. A flat wide open grassy area bordered by thick trees and undergrowth that shoots skyward to form a green wall.

Beside the cottage there is a wide trail, almost an old road but overgrown with grasses. I followed it to come out into a horse pasture with an electric fence, and one lonely horse. On the eastern side of the pasture ran a two lane blacktop road which I followed north, thinking I would just make a big loop and end up back at the house. A couple of miles later, following streets that narrowed into a gravel path leading to a single house, I was plainly lost. It was difficult to tell where the sun was exactly thanks to the tall trees and overcast sky. I hadn't brought a cell phone, a compass or even water with me. The plan had been a leisurely stroll in a town, not to get lost in a dense wood.

Luckily, sound carries well through the trees. There was a narrow animal trail through the undergrowth that seemed to lead in the direction of traffic, and eventually emerged onto a muddy road. Finally out on a paved road which looked vaguely familiar, and with the sun acting as a psuedo guide to what I assumed was south, I walked a mile down the highway. A sign pointed towards the downtown area of Siler City, and I then knew Pine View street had to be just a little way further. Whew. Lessons learned: take a cell phone, a map, water, and a compass.

Cat tails growing
next to the pond.

But of course I don't follow my own advice. Much later in the evening, after dinner, I wandered down a nice open trail leading north from the cottage. It led to a lake with a path around it. It belongs to the homeowner's association and has a shelter with picnic table, some chairs circling a fire pit and someone's chained up canoe on a couple of sawhorses. I sat on a bench watching the sky and its reflection in the pond change colors as the sun set, then wandered on further north to see where the trail led. At the top of the hill, the trail ended at the gravel path leading to that single house. I had been so close to circling back to the cottage before getting lost in the woods!

The little pond near the house.

And some leaves finally turning red....