I went for a nice hike with my friend the other weekend.  We set out in the early afternoon on Saturday with snacks, water, and loads of energy because we both like hiking so much.  It wasn’t difficult hiking, because the trail was a good eight feet wide, but it was hillish so I felt it deserved being called a hike.  We went down and around, enjoying the air and the sun and the trees and flowers, making space for cyclists and joggers.  We followed the map we had in her book of hikes in our area, until we got to an access road that confused us.  According to my interpretation of the map, the little deer trail across the road and behind that gate was the path we ought to take.  We tried out my path, stepping over viney things and logs, and then had to decide if we ought to go straight up the hillside in the meadow and the shoulder-high grass or to the left and off into the woods.  We took the meadow.  I got smacked in the face by grass, which made my grass allergies flare.  I had forgotten I was grass-allergic, you see, and so my nose began to run and my eyes to water.  We found the path veering off into the woods, and followed it, stepping gingerly over what I believed to be stinging nettles.  I’d rather have been paranoid and unstung than otherwise.  Also my eyes were watering so it was hard to see defining characteristics of fuzzy plants.  The trail petered out in the woods so we turned around, and I battled the grasses once more, this time remembering a friend’s story of checking for ticks after being in the tall grass.  By the time we got back to the road and trailhead, I was sneezing, gasping, rubbing the tears from my eyes, and swiping my arms and legs to get all the millions of ticks off of me.  My companion looked at me like I was insane, and I probably did look it.  We tried to read the map again, and set off down the road as it appeared that the road and trail merged for a short while.  It appeared wrong.  Back we hiked, up and up and up, with me sneezing about every two minutes.  My sneezes slowed to every five minutes, and my tick searches to every fifteen.  We finally reached the car again, and I deliriously chastised him (the car) for flirting with the pickup from Montana that had parked nose to nose.

After stretching and having a snack and some water, we looked at the map again and the trailheads within twenty feet of us.  We made an amazing discovery – we had taken the wrong one from the very beginning and instead of walking four miles, we did closer to seven.

They That Cannot Read Maps

this is an image of what we did.  I don’t think I should be allowed in Nature anymore.  Also, I am still checking for ticks a week later.  You just never know.