So Shauna and I decided to go hiking at Garden of the Gods today. Really I decided to go hiking and dragged her along. She wasn’t too excited about it, we’ve hiked here and there, and really everywhere, she wasn’t feeling to excited about anything really. As we made our way down the 108E bluff trail I was trying to think of ways to make her life more exciting and raise her happiness level. I said, “What if there was a bear and you thought it was going to eat you, and it ate me instead. I bet that would raise your happiness level.” That idea was debunked since there are no bears in the Shawnee.
“OK, what if I abandon you here in the woods, and right when sun’s about to set I show up to guide you out, I bet that would be exciting and raise your happiness level,” I said. She agreed it would probably but she’d probably kill me if I did that.
About this time a group of horseback riders overtook us down a steep hill. We entered into a hollow and the trail became very rugged. The horses had difficulty with the terrain, or a few of them did. We ended up waiting for them, a few times. I’ve always wondered what kind of speed horseback riders usually maintain in the forest so I followed them leaving Shauna behind. Thing is that I’m about like a dog, I’ll chase cars, people, bikes, horses, whatever. I just like run and chase things. I was hiking the rough terrain briskly, but not really breaking a sweat. Shauna was struggling with the terrain and I was putting some distance on her.
Eventually I looked behind me and didn’t see her, I decided to wait up and let the horses go. After a few minutes when she didn’t show I began jogging back. I encountered a group of 3 hikers and asked them if they’d seen a woman. “Yeah we saw her, she was 100 yards ahead of us.”
“She was going back right?” I asked.
“Nope she was still going our way,” they answered. How could that be. Had she fell into a portal? There was only one trail and it was meandering through a box canyon, there was no way out, other to turn around. I decided that she had to have turned around and these guys just didn’t’ see her. I ran most of the way back up, a little over a mile. I knew there was no way she was ahead of me after a about 5 minutes because I was moving probably twice as fast as her.
Now I was starting to freak out. How could this be? She couldn’t disappear? Could she? I stashed my camera in the car and began running back down the trail, cursing my stupid joke earlier. I really had abandoned her in the woods. I tore off running and in about 5 minutes I stopped and began to whistle. I heard a faint whistle coming from a trail that we didn’t take, one that went East instead of West. I ran down the trail and in a minute I yelled “SHAUNA!” and heard back, “MATT.”
So the story was that when I got out of sight she couldn’t find the trail and thought she saw a path that lead up out of the canyon to the east that I must have taken. She scrambled up this path and followed it until it petered out in the middle of the forest. Dead end paths like this are ubiquitous in the Shawnee. She continued to bushwack, totally lost until she nearly tripped on some ancient barbed wire. She was about to give up and offer her body to the circling vultures when she remembered that Strava had a map and she was using Strava on her phone. She was able to use the map and get on a heading back towards the parking lot. After about ten minutes of bushwacking she ran into the o01 trail heading East and followed it back to me.
So did it work? Yes. her excitement and happiness levels were much higher after being lost in the woods and finding her way out, but she didn’t need me to come save her. She still wanted to kill me though.