Trekking Tales: The joys of getting lost

Jake, the tall poodle, is happy to be part of any expedition, though not a useful guide!

The friendly, fit, local hikers I met when we first moved to Clearwater in the summer of 2006 had many chuckles at my expense! I’d get turned around, even after I’d been along some trails, when we approached them from a different direction. Locating meeting places using local terminology such as, “By so and so’s place,” or, “At the old Kal Tire building,” had me begging for me details. Until I learned a few landmarks, I often ended up more confused than ever! In theory, I’m better oriented now, but in practice I still pull off some wild ones.

On returning from our February cruise, we had wondered how much snow would greet us. With many inches still lying around, out came my snowshoes, forbidden in the earlier winter months. During a “practise outing” with wee Sophie and her thoughtful mom on nearby lanes, we couldn’t resist getting off the surface packed by snowmobiles onto less travelled areas. Occasionally, the snow being soft enough for her feet to disappear up to her tummy, Sophie stepped onto our snowshoes for a ride, her tiny weight barely noticeable.

Succeeding in that pleasant excursion, I figured I was good to go on my own. Well, not quite alone. Jake, the tall poodle, is happy to be part of any expedition, though not a useful guide! We started on trails near his place in Wyndhaven Subdivision, the same general area where I became totally turned around more than once five or six years ago. I’ve woven my way along those trails often since then, in all seasons.

“We’re fine,” I told Jake. “You may not know were we are, but I will.”

Apparently I haven’t yet learned the proverb about pride preceding a rude awakening! After demurely plodding along on a wide, well-used snowmobile trail for a short distance, snowshoe tracks once again pulled me off into the brush. Leaving these and simply choosing any open area ahead of us, we looped the loop several times, occasionally crossing other tracks and trails. Wherever we went, the snow was firm enough to keep us both upright, but soft enough to leave a trail for us to backtrack along if necessary. Happily, big Jake did not try to hitch a ride on my snowshoes. Imprints from other feet of different shapes and sizes intrigued, but baffled me as usual. Jake and I saw a tiny movement simultaneously, and he darted off for a closer look, but neither of us saw the critter again.

My stamina still a shadow of its former self, I decided to turn back when we reached a snowmobile trail after less than half an hour of wandering hither and thither.

“Right or left, Kay?”

Wanting this to be the halfway point, I made the decision accordingly. Or so I thought! We were actually only a few minutes from the car. No worries, though Jake wondered at my sanity as I left that firm track and went bush again. Our big loop took us up and down and all around – but this time I stayed in sight of the trail we had just left. He galloped back and forth as I plodded along, but even so, I suspect only one of us had had enough exercise when I unstrapped my snowshoes.

 

Where had we been? Out! What had we done? Nothing – except enjoy ourselves….