I find a strange pleasure in getting lost, intentionally.
In a world that is fully mapped with extreme detail, where the eye-in-the-sky of Google Earth can bring me to view any tiny remote place on the planet, I sometimes long for the feeling of not knowing where I am.
Being lost, at least temporarily, in a natural setting brings me the (false) sense that the world is not so small after all.
Where not essential, like in a busy urban environment, I prefer to not use electronic navigation aids. I roughly work out where I want to head away from busy places and then often I just want to explore.
Lately I have been finding myself more and more drawn to dirt roads where a clear direction is not defined. I choose a forest with a network of trails, some rather smooth, some very rough, not suitable for my riding choice. I have to make a judgment call not to bite more than I chew.
As they say: when you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Sometimes my gut feeling says right and other times left, according to what valley or mountain ridge peek through the forest trees.
Getting lost, no longer sure of my heading
Last Sunday I had full tank of gas and enough water in my backpack to keep thirst at bay. I rode for a few hours, stopping at times when the views demanded it.
Slowly I could no longer work out the right perceived direction to get back onto the pavement. I knew if I rode long enough I could have popped out somewhere but the rutted, rocky and pot-holed tracks were tiring me out; I didn't want to make a mistake and crash.
Steep, loose and dusty
I stumbled across a 4X4 driver, stopped at an intersection and swallowing my manly pride rode up to the driver side and asked for directions.
She had a phone in her hand looking at a map and pointed me in the direction I came from: "take a left when you come at the last intersection, keep left and eventually you will get out".
I had my phone in my pocket with detailed GPS maps too but somehow it was easier and nicer to ask for directions.