I like taking long walks with my dog.
It gives me a much-needed chance to reflect, to get a bit of fresh air and prespective.
We are very fortunate to live close to a huge network of shared trails of varying difficulties; there is something for everyone. Lots of mountain-bikers frequent the pathways as do walkers, runners and other outdoorsey-type people.
Depending on the amount of time I want to spend I can take one of shorter, more popular loops. Or, opt for one of the longer loops like North Dogsled or PWT. They put us out quite a ways but the walk is very pleasant!
Today I find myself walking North Dogsled and the darkeness is setting in. Lights on the trail! What is that up ahead?
Bikers coming towards me?
It is a small group of walkers.
And they appear to be lost.
The trails are pretty well worn in, but as I get closer it dawns on me that they are not sure where they are.
‘Can I help?’ I ask.
‘Which way do we go to get back to the main road?’
There are a few major roads but I figure they are asking about Old Second Line, that is where most people park.
‘You can come with me if you like, I am heading back to the exit and this loop will take us back to where the cars are parked.’
‘Can we keep going the way you came from?’
‘Yes you can’ I reply, ‘but there are a lot of twists and junctions that way. It gets complicated especially at night-time’.
‘What about the highway’ one asks, ‘would it be possible to cut through the woods to get to it?
‘Yes’ is my answer ‘although there is a fence that you will have to climb over, it is probably easier to follow me.’
‘How far is it to get back to where we parked?’
‘Oh, about one or two kilometers’ I posit.
They all agree to accompany me and we set off. Walking a few hundred metres I realize that I have left my water bottle back where we met. ‘Just a minute!’ I exclaim as I dart past them heading back in the direction of our initial encounter. It is darker, darker still as night is now upon us. I am running at a good clip. Those people must think I’m crazy!
With water bottle in-hand my dog and I speed back towards the group. One is having difficulty making it up a rocky slope. Another asks if I can go ahead of their group to which I oblige.
We continue on in this fashion for some time.
I have to remember to slow my pace and pause at trail junctures. Slowly but surely we make our way back towards the entrance. The trees are getting rather thick and the way is very icy with all of the foot-traffic at this part.
Thankfully there are several exits and we pop out within ten metres of where they had parked. One of the people in the group exclaims that we have just walked ten kilometres!
A bit further than my initial estimate.
We part company at this point; I continue on back home, happy that I was able to help.