“I was lost! I mean really lost.” The sky was cloudy and I had about two hours left ’til sundown. I must have been walking for hours and somehow I wandered off of the trail and onto a series of water run-off type “trails” that seemed to spider web out into a worm hole…toward the Orion Nebula…or the Blair Witch
Witch [wich] /wɪtʃ/
Cleburne State Park is a small yet beautiful place to go for a quick camping get away. Located south of Ft. Worth near Highway 67 just west of I-35w this park is easy to get to and, in the winter time, easy to get a camping spot. That’s exactly what I needed. An easy day and a camping spot near the RV dealer who would do some minor work on The Whip the following day.
On this cool and cloudy Sunday AussieOne and I fired up the Whip and shot down the highway for an easy drive south down I-35w. Tempo was sidelined with work issues so AussieOne and I were on our own. For the first time in my RV life I had no navigator. This was definitely an Apollo 13/dark side of the moon type of experience for us.
We arrived and quickly set up camp. AussieOne was talking a lot of trash so I decided a short hike was in order, if for no other reason, to quiet him down. I grabbed a couple of bottles of water, AussieOne’s collapsible water bowl (click here to see on Amazon), a flashlight (not sure why) and a map the park ranger had given me at check in. The map wasn’t to scale but seemed to give me some idea of the trail locations.Off we went. Up, down, up, down, the terrain was hilly and I was a bit winded, however, the view was fantastic! The trees and vegetation were thick like a salad, but the trail seemed well worn so I plowed ahead. I could smell the color of the forest and taste the crisp air. It was heaven. We crossed a couple of short bridges that elevated us across a snaking, gurgling, shallow creek. Walking, walking, walking, stopping occasionally for AussieOne to smell…well, everything!
I looked hopefully at AussieOne and said “Find home boy!”.
Suddenly, I felt a chill go up my spine and the hair on the back of my head tingled. I noticed we were no longer on a smooth trail. In fact it was a rocky
sloping hillside with harsh looking brush sprinkled about like Donald Trump’s combover. It hit me! “I was lost! I mean really lost.” The sky was cloudy and I had about two hours left ’til sundown (Cool, I had a flashlight!). I must have been walking for hours and somehow I wandered off of the trail and onto a series of water run-off “trails” that seemed to spider web out into a worm hole toward the Orion Nebula. Somehow, this had to be Tempo’s fault!
I looked hopefully at AussieOne and said “Find home boy!”. Nothing. I tried to get my bearings but with no sun I couldn’t tell one direction from the other. I checked out my map. Sure enough north was clearly marked. I looked up wondering which direction was north (I don’t want to hear any comments about moss, okay). I spun around slowly, like a big, fat globe, my nose a compass point, with hope that some miracle would cause me to stop nose due north. Then I saw it! Strange rock formations on the ground. Seemingly mocking me and casting a spell all at once. The rocks appeared to be arranged in the form of evil symbols, like those you’d find in a satanic ritual…I guess. One looked like “DR”…like an evil, witch doctor! It had to be the Blair Witch as in “The Blair Witch Project!”. I saw that movie in the late ’90s and I can tell you it scared me to death! This appeared to be a similar situation and must have been what drew me off course! Like some evil, mythical siren…a shrieking shrill reminiscent of a Hillary Clinton campaign speech. Very scary!
I grasped AussieOne’s leash firmly (a Loops 2® Double Handle Nylon Leash, 1″ x 6′ – click here to see on Amazon) and we zipped on out of there! Our hearts pounded as we pushed through bristly brush and navigated over rocky terrain for at least 400 yards. Stopping, I reached in my pocket and grabbed my phone with a half panicked thought of calling for help. My phone! My phone has a compass app! I found the app in my Travel folder, fired it up, found due north and matched it to my map. I didn’t really know our location but knew that if I could find the creek I could find The Whip, my home. I plotted a southeasterly course. With AussieOne in the lead off we went.
“We’re good, we’re good”, I kept saying out loud to AussieOne (but more for me I think) as we drilled our way through the endless trees and brush. After what seemed like a week I heard it! The creek! The sweet sound of rushing H2O! We pushed toward the direction of the sound, tumbled down an embankment, plowed through the water and climbed up the other side. There was the trail! Salvation! Checking the compass one more time (and noting the southerly flow of the creek) we continued southeast finding the road which would carry us back to The Whip. Crisis averted, AussieOne gazed at me as though he knew I had it under control all along. My man!
LostStand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand Still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
~ by David Wagoner
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