You know those news stories that you take your pee breaks on that are about those dumb people that got lost in a forest? THAT WAS ALMOST ME.
It started out beautiful. (I mean.. you can't see the dusky pinks and blues and orange-ish ness because it was either that.. or the trees and lake.) Now, I've already walked from the left part of the photo to the right. After walking about half that distance across some levee type grass thing to get where I am, I get the choice of three different trails. The one on my right obviously curves around the lake itself. The one in front of me is a mean near 90 degree angle... so no. Hell no. The one on the left is forked into two other paths - down and upish. I can't tell where the down goes, but up looks like it curves around the lake, too, but is a slightly more difficult path than the one on my direct right. At this point, I should've given into my lazy ways and gone right. There were people fishing, some walking, and others feeding giant dinosaur looking ducks. This was the SAFE PATH IN THE FADING DAYLIGHT.
I did not go towards the path of common sense. The path in front of me wasn't taking hikers at the moment. It had a headache or something, so I took the Up path of the left trail. Soon, I ran into this forest of trees. (I know, I know.. I'm in a forest so trees are a given, but being a city girl, a forest of trees to me means super dense foliage and tall tall evergreens.) It's a forest, y'all. I'm actually hiking in one of the largest urban national forests. This description threw me because.. the hell is an urban forest? Apparently, it means a forest that got lost and stranded in a city.
Anyway, the angle is hard to tell from the photo, but it's about a 20 feet drop from where I'm standing to that tree limb. I say limb.. and in reality it's a big and tall dead tree.. if that helps with the perspective. The hiking trail I'm on? Oh.. it's not even a foot wide. I'm realizing that I am in WAY over my head, but I'm hardly even sweating, and I am trying to get myself into shape..
Ten minutes later, I'm having serious thoughts about turning back, but the path I came from was hard, y'all. Backtracking is so not what I want to do. My poor dumb brain keeps telling me that just around the bend will be the light at the end of the tunnel.
The following is the running and mostly outloud commentary the woods were witness to.
"Okay.. around the next bend. Shit. I meant the next bend. Going up now.. bend.. Oh, God... I should pray at this point, right? NO! Don't sit down! This bend?! Uggggggggh. Crap, crap, craaaaaaaaaap, it's almost dark. Holy shit, I'm in the jungle. Why am I wet? Can racoons chitter laugh at you and pee on you? They totally are.. What happened to the nice tweety birds? IS THAT A BEAR!? I am going to fall, sprain my ankle, and no one will ever know. Bend.. another bend.. How will a helicopter see me through all this crap? X out of ALL THE APPS. 10% battery is not good. I'm going to be unidentified dumb girl who got lost in the woods. Hm.. at least my hair looks freaking awesome, and I did like my make-up not that there's anything left on my face. Why did I decide to wear clothes that matched the forest's color scheme? PEOPLE?! I hear people! No people.. I'm hearing voices. Am I dehydrated? Does one know actively that they might be hallucinating? Can't cry because of a 6% battery.. when they find me, I don't want the photo to show tear tracks.. I'm a wuss, but no one needs to know this. Is that a bear? Can they trace my GPS coordinates like on CSI? Cougar? There are totally cougars here.. there was that news story about it freaking out the townspeople.. Should I yell for help? What if I do.. and I'm literally a bend away from safety? Brid.. bridge... BRIDGE! I'm home freeeeeeeeeeee.....oh, shit tits almighty, it's a bend."
TWO POINT EIGHT MILES LATER....
I did not die. But almost.