On this day, I decided to go for a hike. With The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s family. She and the boys stayed home. This was my moment. My moment to impress everyone, for me to take them to a wonderful trail and not get lost. I was to drive there. And navigate.
Yes, me. Navigate.
Anyone who knows me, knows I’m, you know, navigationally challenged. Or to misquote Tim Allen, I have no iron boogers in my nose.
Think of the great navigators. Louis and Clark. Magellan. Zheng He. Paval Chekov.
Today, they all would have wept to watch me try and find our way to Drift Creek Falls.
I had a map. I had modern GPS. And I had roads. It should have been so easy.
Yet, as I headed out with two passengers, everything seemed to fail.
Don’t worry, I have google maps, I said. Don’t worry, there’ll be signs, I said. Don’t worry, how lost could we really get?
Well, turns out, you can get quite lost.
Here’s how it happened.
I made the first mistake of the day by using the GPS. It’s a flaw with overly-technological-reliant semi-robots like me. Google says, turn left, I turn left, even if I go over a cliff.
Life is simple when google controls you. No brain power is needed.
So what happens when google goes offline? Google, being all sneaky and stuff, doesn’t really tell you it’s going offline. You find this out by waiting for it to tell you to turn right and you wait and you wait and next thing you know, you’re in a different county.
By the time google maps came back on line, we’d begun to mutter, wait, this can’t be right, we’re nearing the Canadian border.
So, I disabled google maps and cursed the gods for stripping me of my techno-crutch. Then we began to look for the street names. We knew we needed to take Drift Creek road. So how hard could that be to find?
Not hard at all with proper signs.
Super hard if you can’t find the signs.
Turns out, they make them all teeny-tiny-like and paint them the color of wood, then nail them to, well, wooden things. Like telephone poles.
We even drove slowly, so as not to miss them. But missed them we did. We wound our way through the forested countryside, when we suddenly came back on a highway. Now, I may not know much, but the hike was not on a highway. So back we went, my eyes peeled more than ever, when whammo, there was the sign.
It wanted us to take what looked like a driveway going up.
Since we were looking for falls and all my geography classes said falls were on high points, we headed up and hoped for the best. I can’t say I wasn’t nervous. I can’t say I didn’t break out into a full body sweat. But I can say that I remained positive despite the fact I’d taken not one, but two massive, ah, detours.
Truth be told, I think the passengers were beginning to doubt my ability to get us there. What if we never found it? What if we never got back?
What if, once again, I became a cautionary tale told to youngsters around the fire?
I can’t say I wasn’t worried. 3 of my 3 crutches for navigation had failed. GPS. Maps. Signage. I had to rely on… ready for it… instinct.
And, in this case, instinct worked. I drove like our SUV was a Maserati, making pretty much everyone sick in the car, but I wanted to find out if this odd little road ended in our trail or in Mexico somewhere.
Luckily, we found the trail.
The other car that had left, and then had to get gas, had beaten us there by about ½ hour. Maybe more. I hear they had time to read War and Peace before we showed up, but whatever.
I’d gotten us there.
We went on a beautiful walk, I got a great opportunity to chat with 2 of the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world’s close family, and got to know them better.
We walked along a suspension bridge, stood at the base of the falls, looked at sunlight dappling the moss on old growth trees and talked about kids and marriage and jobs.
I don’t know if it was worth the 8 hours we were lost, but the walk was spectacular.
I doubt I made the best impression, but I did make a hike into a story they would probably tell for years to come.
“Then, when all the food and water ran out, and I kept telling Joe we were on the wrong road…”
But if you’re ever in Oregon, I would give this hike 5 stars. *****
Call me if you get lost.