A Car-Free Adventure

On a journey yesterday to pick up a Freecycle find, I relied on Google maps to check for a good walking path from the nearest bus stop. In addition to the house not being located close to public transit, the streets were curved in such a way that I’d have to walk in a big “U” to get there. Fortunately, Google showed another option–a trail path that would provide a more direct trip and save me 10-15 minutes (44 minutes total walking one-way).

Let me take a moment to say that I’m not crazy to make this trip, although I recently took a personality evaluation for work which mentioned that I get more satisfaction from doing things the hard way. There were lots of pros in favor of this little trip:

  • I was in the middle of a book (Fight Club) which I could use the extra time on the bus to finish up.
  • Walking is one of my primary forms of exercise, and I could use more of it.
  • This would give me an excuse to explore a new park & trail area.
  • The Freecycle find!

Anyhow, I got to the school that the trail was behind and pretty quickly found this.

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Whoa! That’s a steep drop. Not the trail. I found the path just a bit further down. But the trail split up into multiple paths not on my map. Which to take? I guess I chose incorrectly because next I had to climb my way down this.

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I walked down many trails, turning back each time when the path kind of petered out. These trails must not have been used much because I ended up picking up a stick and waving it in front of me continuously to keep the spiderwebs from sticking to me.

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Many would-be dead ends tried to stop me.

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But I didn’t take no for an answer…. At least for a while. Eventually I gave up on finding the trail and turned around to make sure I’d still get home in time to make a Mother’s Day lunch for my mom. Those 50 minutes in the woods were fun, but they didn’t bring me at all closer to my ultimate goal of finding Freecycle treasure.

Back at the main street, all was good for a while until I saw this in the distance.

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That road leading up towards the right was the one I would need to take. My legs were certainly going to get a good workout today. Fortunately, I made it to the top, completed the “U”, found my treasure. And instead of using any common sense, I decided to go back via the trail hoping that it made more sense from the opposite direction.

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Started off nice.

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There were no alternate paths for a while. Just one clearly defined trail. And it wasn’t even full of spiderwebs! 🙂

But then there were some smaller turn-offs and I wasn’t really sure. Should I keep going down this path? Should I try turning? Because of my time limits today, I wasn’t taking any chances. I got out my phone and turned on location services for the first time since I got it a few years ago. It showed me exactly where I was and lead me right to this creek crossing.

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I turned up my pants hems and let the water rushing over the crossing seep into my shoes, relieved that the most difficult part of finding my way back was complete. The real path back even took me by this mosquito pond, which made it obvious that the first time I just didn’t go far enough in this direction. There must have been a way.

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Impatient and foolish, I turned off the main path once again as soon as I saw the school nearby. I climbed steeper rocks to get there and was prickled by some low cactus in a section of high grass. But from there, it was home free. I had my bounty of a medicine cabinet for my bathroom.

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And by going through the woods, I also found this skateboard. If I figure out how to keep the wheels from sticking, it will find much use.

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So all-in-all the day was a success. I got home, washed up, and made a nice lunch for my mom. I had gotten plenty of exercise, lovely greenery views, amazingly didn’t get bitten by mosquitoes, and found some treasures. Really, does it get better than that?

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