Just thought I would share a funny story. You should all get a good kick out of this. In my last blog I mentioned getting into trail running. Last weekend my friend Jimmy gave me a little taste of that. He took me up to Raccoon Mountain and we met one other runner and hit the trail. It was awesome. Great views, good running and just an all out good time. So this morning I decided I had to do it again.
Well running on a trail is not so hard when you have somebody who knows the trail telling you where to go. Today I set out on my own to run part of the Cumberland trail on Signal. It was only 2.8 miles from my house so I just ran to the trail head. Then I was going to run a 2 mile trail and then from the other end back to the house. All in total about 7.5 or 8 miles. Since it was only 2 miles of trail I studied the map online and thought to myself no need to print it out I'm not going far. Ignoring all the warnings of the trails not being marked well. You may see where this is going.
So I started out on the trail and everything was going fine. The trail followed along the edge of the mountain bluff over looking the Tennessee River Gorge. The view was amazing but the trail was a little rougher than the one on Raccoon Mountain. No big deal except I was running along and noticed that I didn't see trail markings anymore. I looked all around and didn't see any markings. That's when the panic suddenly set in. Below me a huge slope down to the river, behind me forest and the same in front, and above a rock wall of about 15 feet high.
I thought, well if I just keep going the trail should pick back up. I knew it followed along the gorge. However, the briers and fallen trees just got more numerous. I finally came to a spot where I could climb up on top of the bluff and look around. However, when I got up there (and here is the funny part) it was somebody's back yard and their friendly dog (yes luckily he was friendly). So I thought well I could return to the woods or run through the yard up the driveway and get on the road. I chose the second option. Luckily it was early enough that they were not awake yet. I was only lost for about 20 minutes but that seemed like an eternity when I was thinking of all the stories you here about lost hikers.
When I got back to the house and told Jessica the story. She first gave the generally accepted compassion by saying I'm glad you are alright and you found your way out. Then she followed up with what could be the best five words of relevant advice, "Next time, take the map."
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