Don’t Tell Mom

When I’m scolded by a young woman in her twenties for being reckless, I know it’s been a real adventure.

I had been road biking to a small town about ten miles from my house and back to build strength in my leg after knee surgery. After several bike rides, I itched for something different. Something new. Something…adventurous.

I decided to mountain bike around the Boulder Reservoir instead. I used to belong to a mountain biking group that explored Boulder County. It had been a while, but I thought it would be fun to hit the trail again.

Looking back, I should have recognized the turkey vulture as a bad omen.

turkey vulture

On the way to the res, I rode by Coot Lake.

Coot Lake

I entered the Eagle Trailhead. A new little friend hopped along the path and pleaded with me to turn around. Of course, I didn’t listen.

baby bird

Then I arrived at a fork in the road. You know what happened. Yes. I took the road less traveled. That’s what I do. It was unmarked, so I assumed it merged with the main trail. I was all kinds of wrong.

The road less traveled

After riding a short distance, the trail ran parallel to a stream. Soon the water overflowed its banks. I pushed forward until my tires became thick with muck. I rode on the grass between. When that became drenched, I stopped. I could see my destination ahead; the dirt road back to the trail. A little farmhouse stood at the fence between. I looked behind me. I had been riding on this trail for at least twenty minutes. It was too wet and muddy to backtrack. There had to be a way out.

the swamp

When I finally arrived at the farmhouse right in front of the road, my road, I was greeted by a No Trespassing sign and what I assumed was an electric and razor wire fence. Now what would I do? No way would I traipse through that bog again.
unfriendly farmers

I could see the trailhead where I had started my trek. I had to bushwhack.

The marshy ground was covered in shoulder-high weeds. It was hard to pedal and I thought my tires were flat, but I kept going. If I walked my bike, I would get sucked into the muck. I wanted to avoid West Nile mosquitoes bites.

I found an animal path cutting through the weeds and followed it for a while until I discovered a mowed pasture. It was underwater too, but at least I could see the ground. Then, I cut back into the heavy weeds. I couldn’t see where I was biking, but I closed in on the trailhead.

Once I made it back, I was screwed. It was fenced off. GAH! I would have to climb over. I picked up my bike to toss it over the fence and stopped to take a picture. A young twenty-something woman ran up to assist me.

toss the bike

“Can I help you?”

“I’ve got it, thanks,” I said. “I’m just taking a photo.”

“How did you get over there?” she asked.

“I took an old farm road, but it dead-ended.”

“I almost stepped on a rattlesnake last week, so you were taking a pretty big risk going off-trail.”

The only snake I might have stepped on would have been of the anaconda or water snake variety. She wasn’t done with me.

“Next time maybe you should plan your ride a little better.”

Did she really just say that? “No way. Why would I start doing that? Planning would take all the fun out of it.”

She shook her head and walked away.

The next day, it occurred to me if I had hit a rock or a hole and had fallen, no one would have seen me. Remind me next time not to tell my mom. She said, “You are out of your mind taking chances like that. Do you want to end up on the 6:00 news?”

Hey. At least I lived to tell the tale and to Ride Wildly another day. Would you expect any less?

When was the last time you took a wrong turn or made a mistake? When was the last time you biked? Have you ever seen turkey vultures?

105 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Mom

    • I’m too impulsive to stick to a plan. I get a physical (“I don’t want to!” *stamps foot like a two-year-old*) feeling in my gut if I force myself to do something boring which is almost anything I’ve done in the past. I’m wired to try something new.

      In my defense, I biked it again and that fork in the road must tempt a lot of hikers and bikers. It’s the only unmarked road!

      Thanks so much! Many of my blog posts have died a quick death with a boring opening line like the definition of adventure from Wikipedia. I’m working on that, so it makes my day that you noticed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I make wrong turns all the time. It’s not a trip unless I have to make a U-Turn (or four), lol. I tend to jump first and worry about the landing well after I’ve hit ground. I’ll be safely where I wanted to be and THEN I’ll think about the “what would have happened it…”

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    • Ha! A kindred spirit, for sure. I know exactly what you mean. I wonder how many times that has happened to me. I think we have an extra region of the brain which just aches for adventure even when doing the most mundane thing, like errands. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It was since part of being on an adventure is problem-solving.

      I forgot to include the part when I was riding back with mud all over my legs like a real adventurer. I came to the intersection and whipped my water bottle out of my back shirt pocket and felt “all cool like that” as I rode by the stopped cars… Ha! I’m sure they didn’t even notice. When I got home, I was disappointed to see I wasn’t muddier. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jean! I could have blogged it in the “close up” Weekly Photo Challenge, but forgot. I wish I knew what kind of bird it was. Its parents were going nuts since it had just jumped out of the nest. I couldn’t get a good look at them. 🙂

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  2. Who needs whippersnappers like that?! The nerve of her! 😉 The last “wrong turn” we took was along the beach at Lake Michigan. We couldn’t find a path back to the road (lots of bluffs) so the kids decided we should just climb the bluff to the top! It was great fun, and we ended up coming over the edge in some guy’s yard. He was mowing his grass, and all he did was wave and say hi. These are the adventures to remember!

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    • Isn’t that the truth? So much in life isn’t remembered since it blends with every other day. It’s worth it to go out and explore. It sounds like a great family adventure!

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  3. When was the last time I made a mistake? Daily it seems. We have the Turkey Vultures around here too. They are kind of intimidating when you get close. I never believe they are as big a they actually are. Love that off road bike trail. Looks like fun! Actually it looks like my front yard after the Bobcats left their tracks in it from building the pool… The title of this post caught my attention. If I had a dime for every time I uttered that as a kid!

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    • Me too! My mom still worries about me. 🙂
      There were several vultures pecking at some nasty corpse. Of course I had to take a picture. It was a clean stretch of road the next time I passed by! I’m glad my corpse wasn’t being picked clean in those weeds! Too gross?

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  4. What do you mean no one would have seen you fall? What about the anacondas?
    Personally, I always try to take the road less traveled when biking (biking next to speeding cars is not fun), but I try to keep to the paved ones, and even then spend 5 minutes on Google maps checking that this road isn’t a dead end and goes approximately where I want to go.

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    • You are the opposite of me! I just take off from my house with a general direction in mind. I’m glad I was alone. I tend to lead and would have felt guilty leading anyone through that swamp.
      Yep. I’m sure quite a few animals watched me slog through the mud while snickering, if animals snicker.

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  5. You’re a gutsy gal, and I think you’ve proven the adage ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ Glad you came out of it okay. And hey, you got a great blog post out of the deal!

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    • Thanks Carrie! It never occurred to me that I was in any danger until the next day while talking to my mom. I bet there are all kinds of obstacles hidden beneath the brush. I have always said that I have an exhausted guardian angel.
      Having a blog is great incentive. Although, there have been quite a few adventures I haven’t blogged about. I have to be in the mood, kinda like when I go out on an adventure in the first place! Ha!

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  6. With all the rain this year, I’ve been little more careful. Many of the trails have been pretty wet! I’ve been riding my road bike some and hiking quite a bit. Still, we’ve quite a few wet hiking trails that are normally dry. Great post, Susie. Glad you made it back in one piece!

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  7. The 20 something was gutsy to say that, I may have thumped her. (kidding) I rode my bike out to take sunset photos the other night. The wild bison herd decided to wander near the road while I was busy. Thankfully, there were a couple cars parked along the road. If those 2 cars hadn’t been there, I would probably have back tracked and taken the long way home.

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  8. Oh dear, that was quite the adventure! I was out on my road bike a few weeks ago & was scolded by a random guy, riding what I will describe as a cruiser. I was waiting for my husband to catch up & this fellow stopped to chat. As I cranked my head around to see if my husband was coming up the hill, this guy made a sarcastic comment how he sees all these cyclists & can’t understand why they don’t have mirrors on their helmuts to be able to see cars coming. Good point I guess, except this guy wasn’t even wearing a helmut…..hmmmmm….

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    • There are dickheads everywhere in the world. I bought a mirror a long time ago and never glued it to my helmet. I was afraid it would distract me or fall off at an inappropriate time like when I was riding with a big group. I would never catch up if I stopped. I have no idea where it is now. Not a bad idea though. I may have to dig through the abyss that is my garage…

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  9. I have been living in the city too long – have been sticking to the bike trails, which are beautiful trails to bike I might add. I make all kinds of wrong turns lately in getting use to living in a new city with about 4 million people. Plus with all the rain and flooding lately here it is never dull, especially the commute on Monday. I love being down here because the bird life is so plentiful – vultures, pelicans, ospreys, herons, egrets, shore birds, crows, eagles, ducks, etc.

    Happy Wild Riding – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

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    • Cool! There are adventures to be had everywhere you go. I would love to take the LOBO trail down to Boulder. I’m not sure how all the trails hook up, but there’s only one way to find out. 🙂 I would never research it on the computer.
      Thanks Renee! And the very same Wild Riding wishes to you.

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      • You know me I am up for ADVENUTRE – ha! We would make a great team I know it – The Wild Rider and The Craves Adventurer 🙂 I love pointing the feet, the bike and/or the car in a direction and just head out with no plan in mind. The places I would not have seen and the people I would not have met along the way.

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  10. Great photos and fun post! I have never been chastised by someone younger than me (except my daughters). I don’t think I would take it as well as you did. But maybe that means I need to add a little more “wild” to my life.

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    • Thanks so much!
      It was pretty surprising to get a “lashing” from a twenty-year-old. She obviously lives a VERY boring life in comparison. I bet her kids will say, “Don’t tell mom!” on a daily basis! Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A few years ago, a friend of my daughters, 12 yrs old at the time, told me (whilst being a guest in our home) that I needed to budget my money a bit more carefully! Ha! What do the youngsters know? Budgeting? Planning? Where’s the fun in that!

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  12. Last week, my son, a neighbor, and I went for a kayak paddle in a small, nearby lake. There is a stream or ditch going out from it, so we paddled down it. The ditch occasionally narrowed to the point that we were paddling through grass that was much taller than we were. Then it would quickly open up again. Twice we had to navigate downed trees, going under some branches and over others. One branch almost stopped us, but we each scooted over it. We only stopped and turned around when we hit a beaver dam. The neighbor climbed out of her kayak, thinking about portaging over the dam, but changed her mind when her leg sank knee deep in mud. By that time, I had enough little spiders, grass seeds, and other assorted twigs in my kayak that I was more than good with turning around. It was fun! What an adventure you had. I was expecting you to find yourself in a field with a bull or something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope I didn’t disappoint you! It was gnarlier than the two hour loop I had expected, but no bulls.
      Sounds like you had quite an adventure too! Sometimes it’s good to get out of our comfort zones and go for a Wild Ride!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phew! Glad no mean critters chased you. As we were paddling, all I kept thinking about was how I wished I was wearing a go-pro camera videoing it. Might have to do something about that next time.

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  13. The greeting birds were staring thinking “And they call us bird brains”? What fun is an outdoor adventure without a little boggy spots? (Surprised she didn’t tell you to always have a buddy…Do something Susie – she must have thought you were a foolish tourist!)
    Actually glad to see some moisture on the ground. Fires always a worry.

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    • This is the greenest August ever! It looks like May or June. Amazing. Yep leave it to my bird brain, but I doubt I’m the only one who has ever done that. I’m not sure what she thought except disgusted comes to mind. Ha! Too bad for her. WARNING! Boring life ahead… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Susie Susie Susie, this blog post is a masterpiece and says it all hilariously for adventurers everywhere! Recently I had to do a long white-knuckled drive on a winding boulder-strewn muddy deeply-pot-holed wilderness road to find Porter on a mountain pass to bring him in for resupply on his hike of the Continental Divide Trail. That’s the kind of adventure I’m having now, I’m in it before I know it and there’s no turning back. Your spirit of adventure is ever-inspiring!

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  15. Fantastic Susie. Good on ye for following your heart. I think when a twenty-something person scolds you for being reckless, you must be really living. That’s the whole point of living isn’t it? Loved your tale. When I grow up, I want to be as bold as you. 😉

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  16. Inspirational. You do quite a bit for an old lady. Did your diaper hold up?

    Discovery rides are the best, whether on or off road. Some of my favorite routes have been created by discovery.

    I owe you a Wild Rider blog! I am riding at Brown County State Park in Indiana this Friday. I will make I take pictures to share. If anything I need to get a picture of my road bike against the city limits sign of Gnawbone.

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  17. Dude that totally reminded of that movie where the guy (played by James Franco) goes climbing/hiking somewhere in Utah/Arizona and doesn’t tell anybody and then he gets trapped and has to cut off his arm. Dude! The road less traveled is always an adventure I love to hear about, but Tell your mom next time. 🙂

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    • Not if I want to get an earful again. Ha!
      I had my phone, but there were a lot of old prairie dog holes. It didn’t occur to me how much of a chance I was taking until the next day. But we could get hit by a car walking across the street, I always say. Better to live large than not live at all.
      You are the GUAT who jumps out of airplanes and off bridges! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! You got me there … but I did tell my dad I was jumping off the bridge and I got laugh from that one I imagine he’d crack up shaking his head just thinking of the plane :). But you’re right we could totally be sitting at Coffee Bean and get hit by car so might as well live large 🙂 Have a good week buddy.

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  18. I was on a road bike ride a few years back. I felt like I could ride forever (but should have realized it was a tailwind). Once I got to the point of turning around, my tailwind became a headwind. I called my wife on the cell and told her I’d be very late.

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  19. What were you thinking? I probably would have started out that way, too, but . . . I definitely would have turned around when I hit the muck. I’m not that adventurous. Good for you though. But, please stay out of the 6:00 news. And don’t blow out those knees woman.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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    • I forgot about my knee! After I got home I was totally wiped out. I think I pedaled ten times harder because of the mud. Part of the motivation to keep going was West Nile. The next time I biked there a new sign warning about listeria carried by deer flies. Sheesh!

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  20. Out of the mouths of babes… sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. I got ‘lost’ walking a trail and i had to look at my phone to figure out where I was – i figured it out and realized what i had done – wrong turn. Wrong turns are good opportunities to get experience – sometimes it’s good, sometimes not. It’s all good, glad you got to write about it, instead of being written about. Have a wonderful weekend.

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    • You’re right about that! I want to keep on adventuring and writing for a long time to come. Wrong turns can make the best stories.
      I wonder if some young people have less filters because they spew online all day long…

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  21. I say bravo!! Life is nothing without a little risk and playing it safe every time would get rather boring. When I was hiking in the mountains one day, I had ventured down an unmarked trail. I ended up getting stung by a few wasps and even brushed up against some poison ivy, but spotted this perfect little meadow of daisies which are my favorite flowers. The battle scars were totally worth it. 😉 Here’s to taking risks!!!

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    • Ha! Thanks so much, Jessica! That is very true. I took Danny on an EPIC adventure today. Combined two bike hikes with a stretch of trail I hadn’t been on for fifteen years. Whew. I’m relaxing now…
      Have a fabulous weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hey, you! Of course you did all of the above. You are fearless and shall I add stubborn to that? 🙂 Me, I would have been crying the whole way. Actually, scratch that – I wouldn’t have been riding. LOL. That’s why you it’s fun to live vicariously through you and your adventures, Susie. Your poor mom… 🙂

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    • She doesn’t know the half of it. Shhh!!
      Thanks Maria! It was pretty bizarre looking back. It’s an unmarked trail and I’m sure a lot of bikers have taken it, but I’m not sure they plowed through to the trail head. Next time I’ll wear hip waders…

      Liked by 1 person

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  26. Coot Lake looks gorgeous and I love how much wildlife you got to see! You must have been so muddy and happy – the poor lady was probably just a little confused to see you!

    I’ve only been cycling to work for a few weeks, but I say “wheeeee” at least twice a day on the hills. I just wish some of the drivers didn’t seem so keen to maim me with their cars. 😦

    p.s. I’ve never seen a turkey vulture

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