"Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt." ~ John Muir
I wandered a completely unfamiliar series of trails early this morning with a wonderful friend I hadn't walked with before.
It was as if everything conspired to ensure we would have no maps to follow. When we arrived at our destination (slightly lost on our way there), a rather large group of young people persisted around the map, cigarette smoke unpleasantly filling the air. We both decided not to linger and headed down a trail.
It turned out to be a loop, fully paved, and although we still didn't exactly know where we were going, our path quickly brought us back to exactly where we began.
So we chose yet another trail, this one all dirt and far more promising, still with no idea of where we might be heading, and perfectly happy with that. It was a park in the city after all - how "lost" and how "far" could you actually get? But when that city is Portland, Oregon and its very near outskirts, what one might consider "city" is quite beautifully redefined.
I don't get into "the city" very often, and definitely not on its trails, as I usually walk in what really is "the country". So this was a bit of a new adventure for me.
The next trail was somewhat wilder, as wild as these trails tend to go, perfect really, winding through wonderfully wooded hillsides. There were plenty of people on it. We chose a couple branches here and there, each with promising names about forests and trees, names I now have completely forgotten.
Eventually after a few miles, we ended up by a road, on a paved trail again, anticipating breakfast. We saw just the sign we were looking for, surely right next to the place we had started. But it wasn't at all where we thought it was, as we walked just outside the park by homes tucked into the hillsides.
We resorted to our phones, which weren't working so well, not really overly concerned, just now realizing we were "lost". When our phones managed to work, they weren't very helpful, except to tell us we weren't really where we were supposed to be.
Soon we came upon a couple women (and at the very least, 4 friendly dogs) who knew exactly where we were and where we needed to be. We had misread a sign and gone the opposite direction.
Joy existed in every direction because we chose to be free, 5 or so miles of it, fully earning a wonderful breakfast at a place neither of us knew.
Some might say we were "lost" from the very beginning, but "lost" is precisely what we wanted to find.