Lost in the Forest Without Breadcrumbs

I was planning on going to the state park with Luke early Saturday morning, but when you don’t get home until 1:00 AM, you don’t quite get packed up to go by 9:00 AM, more like 11:00. But I did it! I overcame my fear of going to a new park with the horse and trailer and getting utterly lost in a huge state forest! Visualize big pat on back here…
I tied a pack onto the front of my saddle for my water bottle, camera, my usual collection of driver’s license and insurance information (in case of an accident or need to identify the body) and the GPS from my car. I wasn’t sure how the GPS was going to help since it’s meant to give you directions on the road and doesn’t recognize a non-roaded area, but I figured it would do in a pinch.
And I had good reason to be concerned as I had no map and there were no maps (like “you are here”) anywhere along the trail, just number markers here and there, which don’t do you any good without a trail map.
It was a longer drive to the park than what Luke and I have taken on previously, but it was a low traffic, easy drive, and there was only one other trailer in the parking area when I arrived, so that was a relief.
How do you like Luke’s ear protection? I should have taken a photo of the front with the lovely crocheted eye covering and fringes. It really does help. The horse flies land on Luke’s ears but can’t seem to bite through the nylon material.

Sand Dunes State Park

The trails all pretty much look like this and I was lost within the first 20 minutes.

Sand Dunes State Park

Fortunately, I ran into a guy taking a neighbor girl out for a ride. He figured I was a beginner rider because of the helmet I was wearing and thought he should help me out. I said I had the helmet because I was out by myself and it was just a smart thing to do on a trail with wild turkeys running around. He said that his daughter goes off alone riding too and he just tells her she better carry her cell phone and a knife.
Okay, well a knife requires getting way too close to a person to cause injury. I’d prefer a gun but I feel pretty safe on horseback; much more vulnerable when I’m out walking the dog.
Anyway, the guy and the girl rode a ways with me to explain the trails a little bit. They’d already been riding for a couple hours and the horse the girl was riding was 25-years-old and moving pretty slow, so they didn’t stick with me long.
But we talked long enough for me to find out that he has a place near the park where I could board. He’s actually trying to sell his two horses — another victim of the economy. He’s a single Dad and in his words, “Something’s gotta go, and I can’t sell the kids.”
I seem to run into this same theme wherever I go. People are really struggling right now, just regular people trying to get by. It tears me apart. It’s why I go out and look at the trees and flowers. Shows me that some things just keep growing and looking pretty, no matter what else is going on in the world.
I’ve been called a tree hugger and I guess I am. Trees have deep roots. I like that about them.

Sand Dunes State Park

The pine trees and all the needles on the ground smelled so wonderful. Piney and warm smelling, with a hint of flowery freshness. Aaahhh…
If you don’t look hard enough, you’ll miss the two butterflies on the flowers below, the colors are such a close match. There were actually about 10 butterflies, but I couldn’t get them all in one shot.

Butterflies on flowers

My trail guide had warned me I would eventually run into this. I have about seven options on which way to go. Eenie, meenie, minie, mo…

Sand Dunes State Park

I did end up feeling a lengthy moment of fear that I was never going to find my way out of the forest again. Trails branched off and re-branched off numerous times. I had no idea how to retrace my steps. It all looked the same.

Sand Dunes State Park

So the GPS did end up coming in handy. It had me marked as in some ? location but if I zoomed out far enough, I could see where the County Road with the trailer parking lot was and aim myself for it. What did we ever do before technology?!
It was such a beautiful day on Saturday! I felt guilty for doing so, but after my ride, I sat outside and relaxed, read a book and laughed my head off over Java’s manic moments, running through the tall grass with her frisbee in her mouth. What a goofball!


Today I met up with the 2nd Sunday art journaling group. We meet at a coffee shop that has been fixing up their outdoor patio into a very nice garden area.

Avant Garden Anoka
Avant Garden Anoka

I haven’t met with the group since the divorce announcement so I had some catching up to do. Everyone is taking classes, traveling, making art, and doing this or that to their homes. It made me realize just how much my life has come to an abrupt halt on everything but trail riding.
Trail riding and the woods are my link to earth and sanity. It’s why I’m reconsidering settling for boarding on a trail and selling the trailer. The truck and trailer equal freedom and some level of power over my life. But I’ll write about that some other day.
On the way home, I stopped at a garden store to see if any tomato plants were left. I found one somewhat alive tomato plant. I had hoped for two since I had two empty containers. I settled for the one tomato plant and another pepper plant. I think they should have been giving them away they were in such rough shape.
Anyway, this is my garden this year. The two newest plants are to the left. Not at all what I’d been dreaming about for a garden this year, but it will have to do.

Container garden

Java tried to do her part to help (she’s running with the plant container).

Dog running
Chewed up planter

I had to trim away a lot of extra leaves that were depleting the tomato plant of the energy it would need to bear fruit. Oh, oh, I can feel some sort of comparison to my life parable coming on… I’ll spare you for now.

Plant trimmings

Similar Posts


  1. I am happy to hear that you didn’t get lost! Good idea to take your car GPS with you! The trails look really nice.
    Java is such a silly dog!
    That coffee shop looks really neat. Love the boat!

  2. I’m thinking we need to get a GPS! We know our local trails pretty well, but want to explore new ones and that is always a little intimidating, especially w/out a map. I’m glad you had a great ride, and I know what you mean about the smell, the vegetation smells great on the trails this time of year!

  3. Wow– great post! I sympathize with you about feeling lost in that forest. The first few times I ventured in were on foot, and once in winter on a bike (i just turned in fro a road somewhere to escape the wind and figured I’d eventually find my way home. Wiped out on ice and had to walk the bike back out once I finally found the way because I didn’t know how to put the chain back on.) Luckily I kind of like getting lost- feels adventurous.
    I love Avant Garden’s back patio too. A lovely hidden hideaway.

  4. I actually remembered we have a carry around kind of GPS and I found it in a drawer. Unfortunately, I haven’t a clue how to use it.

  5. fist of all, I LOVE Luke’s Batman outfit…you must feel very safe on his shoulders. Second, Whooo Hooo, man a horse, does he live nearbye?
    Anyway, glad you got out of the forest!

  6. Those GPS’s are a lifesaver when exploring new places. I carry one all the time for when the urge to explore uncharted territory comes over me. At least I can use it to retrace my steps if I need to!

    Sounds like you and Luke had a great adventure!

  7. lol… i too have this almost deathly fear of getting lost, specially on a new road… All roads lead to the same G-d

    congrats on your journey

  8. Wow!! I loved this post!! I’m so proud of you for going to uncharted territory with your cool man Luke!! Love the topper by the way. I’d love to get Ladde (my horse) one of those – maybe it would help shade his eyes. Anyway, awesome looking trails you’ve got there. Great idea carrying the gps – I wouldn’t have a clue how to work one. I have been lost in the woods many times, have even gotten over my fear because I’ve done it so many times. I am direction-dyslexic if you know what I mean. If I guess which way to go, you can bet your butt it’s the other way. *sigh* Oh well, when in doubt, give your horse his head. Trust him!! He will take you back…probably via a different route, but back nonetheless. Horses have an amazing built in sense of direction. Try it sometime. But you have to trust him – don’t argue. Live and learn my friend, live and learn. I like your garden too – any garden with tomatoes is better than no garden. 🙂 I see you’ve met my buddy Manker – she’s a cool gal.
    p.s. I love that warm woods smell!!

  9. I’m a bit technically challenged myself, which is funny since I’m a technical writer. Maybe because I write instructions, I don’t like reading them. I can’t wait to go back to this park and spend some more time exploring. There were so many trails and so little time.

Comments are closed.