Park Meadow is a lovely spot in the Three Sisters Wilderness, popular with horse riders and hikers and along a well-trod trail. My friend, Gayle and our equines Jeep and Danny, had our second go today of finding this mountain paradise.
|Danny, Gayle and Jeep|
We went down the wrong trail, twice in two visits, consulted guide books, asked a mountain biker who had a map and found a spot with cell phone coverage to call Gayle's friend. How hard could it be to find a very large, popular alpine meadow?
Pretty hard, if you're not paying attention.
We did eventually end up in Park Meadow, and filled our vision with the mountains we daily look at from a distance. We were the only visitors present, a sure treat on a splendid late summer/early fall day. (Contented sigh.) There's not much more that can be said. If you've ever immersed yourself in a wild place, you'll know what I mean.
|Broken Top in the background|
As we headed down the trail toward home, I was mesmerized by the flopping of Danny's ears in time with his hoofbeats. I got to thinking about our experience and wondered it there is some sort of life application to go with it. It was a pleasant thing to do on a peaceful afternoon in the deep silence of the forest.
So here's what I came up with...
First off, if you're going somewhere that's a destination for many others who share your passion, follow their footsteps. We headed off on a trail today with a marked absence any other hoof prints and the significance of that didn't occur to us until we were down there a ways. We did this twice! When we finally got on the right trail, it was obvious that many other horses trekked there.
And don't depend entirely on what others tell you. It's one of the common-sense rules of wilderness travel to carry a map, but we didn't. We figured we wouldn't get lost because we were on well-marked trails and knew how to get back to the trailhead. If'we'd had a map, we'd have seen the bigger picture. Especially today, when I remembered to bring my glasses.
Finally, realize that signs won't always be in the right place. At the place we turned onto the wrong trail, there is no sign for Park Meadow at all. That certainly was an annoyance, but we didn't need to depend on a marker. If we'd been following those hoof prints, we'd have been ok.
In this case, the destination was way more valuable than the journey. Sometimes it turns out like that.