Dumb Luck

When you make emotional decisions, they generally are flawed and this one was no different.  I was heading to town after my lifetime friend and her husband left after spending some time with us.   It was nothing short of a great time and like always we reconnected as though we had been together last week rather than two years ago.   I was sad to see them go as I  know that we won’t see one another for at least a year.    Though I was heading to town I wasn’t ready for people and so impulsively decided to head to a forest trail I had always wanted to try.

I parked my rig a the trail head, pulled out a photo copy map from the kiosk and headed out.   I enjoyed the sounds of nature and got myself grounded again.    I was about three miles out when I had an ah ha moment.  I had taken this hike without thinking  first and I was now the realization was hitting me what I had done.

  • I had thrown out my drink glass in a bear proof container and I had not thought about bear spray, something I usually walk with.
  • l found  a great rock formation in the sun to photograph.   It seemed like a great spot to sit and soak in the sun.    Then I realized that rattlesnakes were not unheard of in this area and for the first time I was not hiking in boots, but rather I was  where was wearing my sandels!
  • I had taken off with out water at noon at August.   Fortunately I had done enough training that this did not put me under, and I was not in the full sun.   The distance and the temperature dictated I had water with me.
  • I had originally taken a rails to trails, but when I went back I took a forest trail.  The grade there turned out to be pretty intense.   I would have sold my soul for my hiking poles.  They really help take so much of the stress off of your knees when are faced with steep climbs.
  •  I had gone out into the woods and not told a single person where I had gone.  No one had a time that I was due back.   If you do nothing else when you head out into the woods that is the most critical thing you need to do.   It is your safety net.

Dumb luck was with me and it all worked out.  It was a reminder that emotional decisions can be full of flaws due to the impulsive nature.   It would have only take an few minutes to call home and leave message where I was going and when I should be home.    I keep all the other supplies I should have taken in a crate in my rig at all times.   There were all there for me.   I should have taken them them with me.   There are no walks or hikes that are too short to take your safety supplies.    This all worked out fine, and it serve as a great reminder of what I already know.    THINK.    It could be live saving.

Close the Door…Gate

Simple barbed wire gate Last Sunday when we came home there were cattle in an area they are not normally found in.   They were all over the railroad tracks, the right-of-way and even milling around the local grain elevator.

We live in open range country which means if you don’t want cattle you fence them out.   The railroad puts up fences and cattle guards to keep cattle off the tracks.   It turns out that someone came up the tracks to spray for weeds and thought they would only be an hour or so so left the gate open.   When they went to leave the cattle were in, and he did not know how to get them out so left the gate open assuming they would leave.  What this meant is the rancher had to come down and herd the cattle back out and close the gate.   Other than being a pain in the but nothing bad happened.   No cattle were lost.

My mom always hollered after us kids to close the door.  The same is true for any gate you come upon when you go out into the country to ride horses, bicycle, ATVs, or hike.   If you found it open, leave it open.    If you found it closed, close it immediately after you go through.   Not later when you return, but now.   You are a guest at best, trespassing at worst.   You don’t don’t know why the gate was as you found it but there is a reason for it.