Should We Be Leery of Shortcuts?

We went to a local park for our walk today, and it seemed that most of our city was there celebrating the last long weekend of the summer. Douglas found a parking spot away from the trail parking, which meant walking across wet grass. I decided that walking across wet grass was just too uncomfortable, so Douglas said that he knew a shortcut to the trail that would bypass the wet grass.

I trusted him to know the park, for he plays 18 holes of disc golf at that park nearly every day, as his exercise routine. I assumed that he knew exactly where he was going, and like a robot, I did not ask what kind of trail it was or how hard a trail it might be. I just started walking behind him, thankful to be with someone who is so great at following trails, from his days hiking in the Sierras with his family.

We found the trail and began walking up, and it was not the paved trail, but a really rocky trail. After about 20 minutes of climbing upward on a rugged highway of mud, trees, and the ubiquitous boulders that lined the trail, in the heat no less, I was wondering if Douglas understood that I expected the shortcut to be less strenuous than the original trail that is paved. So I asked him exactly how much further did we have to walk to reach the paved trail, and he admitted that he did not know.

He had seen this path while throwing his discs and had never actually hiked it. I was dumbfounded to think that he had no idea where we were or where we were headed! I was sweating so much, and trying to keep the sweat out of my right eye, as the doctor had warned me not to let any water from the shower get in my eye. But, it was a lost cause. And, to add insult to injury, Douglas had to tell me to avoid the leaves of three which was poison ivy! Oh, swell!

Finally, we heard voices and was so happy to find someone who might tell us how far to the paved road. The couple we passed told us we were about a mile and a half from the junction, nearly all of it uphill and over the boulders. So we walked for another 20 or so minutes, when we met another couple.

I thought we had walked at least a mile, and only had a half a mile to go, only to be told that we had another mile and a half. After another 30 minutes, another young man actually running the path told us we had about a mile. You get the drift, right? The more we walked, the further we had to walk. Finally, we met a couple who told us of a real shortcut to the campgrounds, and from there we could find our way.

The guy advised us that it looked like rain at any moment, but Douglas told him that it was not supposed to rain until later in the afternoon, and we were fine. That should have been my clue that we were going to get rained on. Less than 10 minutes later, I wondered what the sound like wind in the trees was, and felt the first raindrops.

It poured and we got completely soaked. What I would have given for a durable raincoat to keep me dry. But, there was nothing to be done, and I just walked in the rain. Keeping water out of my eyes was impossible, so I just did not even worry about it. I had to laugh at the irony of my trying to avoid getting my feet wet by walking on wet grass led to my getting wet from head (thank God for Afros) to toe.

The rain finally ended, and we found the paved trail. After another 30 minutes of walking, we were back at our car. We had been walking for about an hour and thirty-nine minutes, and I was never so happy to see my car. As Douglas took the long way around to the car, I crossed the wet grass to get there sooner.

But, I must admit that the nearly 40 minutes of hiking uphill across rocks and boulders, listening to the crickets and frogs sing sweetly was strenuous but there was a touch of perfect in the peace and beauty of the trail. I took pictures of stone walls and beautiful trees (see above and below), and it was probably the best workout I have had in months. We saw wonders we would have missed on the paved trail, wonders that reminded me of the greatness of God’s creation.

Sometimes a shortcut is not a great idea, and it is arguable if this was the case today, as we profited in some ways, in particular the wonderful people we met and talked with as we were going up the trail and they were coming down the trail. I believe that everyone you meet is meant to touch your life and you their lives. I will, of course, be leery the next time my husband tells me he knows a shortcut, but because the pros of this shortcut outweighed the cons, I am willing to follow him just about anywhere.

Barfield Park Trail 2

Fandango prompt is Highway. Ragtag prompt is Robot. Word of the Challenge is Ubiquitous. Daily Addictions prompt is Durable. Scott Bailey’s Daily Prompt is Hour.

Written for the September Writing Prompts by Putting My Feet in the Dirty.

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