“Map? We don’t need no stinkin’ map!”

Last weekend, Gwen, the pups, and I ignored the gloomy skies and headed to a coastal foothill called Mt. Erie. It was chilly at the trailhead, and although our wipers got a short workout on the 40 minute drive, it was dry. Perhaps 15 minutes along the trail the sun hit the canopy and the forecast promised to be happily wrong.

I was reminded of a 2008 article written in AdventuresNW magazine titled, “Don’t not go,” which essentially spoke of coastal sunshine and that any trip is a good trip, or at the very least, noteworthy.

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Now, we had both been on this webbed trail system twice before and our goals were the same as before: reach the two higher viewpoints and call it a day. So, who needs a map, right? RIGHT?

After quickly summiting the first knob (which we meant to ascend second), we were able to see the general direction we needed to go in in order to hike up knob number two. Neither of us seemed to mind the change in plans, however, with the warming sun and distant views.

Mapless, but with a compass reading (not technically; I can’t remember the last time I brought that first of ten essentials), we headed along a trail we thought we recognized. Sooner than later, the trail lost its familiarity and gained elevation fast as we stopped at sunny viewpoint after sunny knoll. We even spied a suitable tent pad. It seemed odd that we weren’t running into anyone on this nice weekday.

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After one leisurely break during which I may or may not have drooled on the mossy shelf, we headed on. The trail at this point (perhaps better described as a goat path) stopped and started again hugging and weaving along the cliffy hillside. At times we needed to grab handholds and hoist the stubbier-legged Dusky-the-border-collie-mix. Ursula Longshanks-the-AussieDoodle, on the other hand, just leapt the crux in a single bound. Wow! There were a couple of slick spots, but never was there any real danger.

Have you seen those bumper stickers rolling around that say, “Not all who wander are lost?” Obviously, there have been some tragic consequences for wilderness wanderers who have gotten off course. Hollywood LOVES that story! But, that definitely isn’t the norm, just as merging onto the interstate doesn’t normally end in a trip to the ER. My point is that risk is always there. Its here right now.

Isn’t being without a map just an opportunity to allow your intellect and intuition to merge and guide your feet? Isn’t that a definition of adventure?

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