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?

106 thoughts on “Don’t Tell Mom

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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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    1. Why do you think I’m old? You’re probably older than me.
      I’m all about discovery. It’s no fun If I know what’s up ahead. Life is a journey I like to be surprised by.
      Definitely tag your photos on Twitter with #WRFChallenge. Instagram works too. Blogging works too! It’s all about getting outside this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 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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    1. 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

      1. 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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  5. 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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      1. Asking my wife for a ride would have equated to quitting. I learned a valuable lesson that day, and after the sensation returned to various parts of my body, I started considering a bike more suited to the middle aged.

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  6. 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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    1. 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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  7. 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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    1. 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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  8. 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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    1. 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

  9. 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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    1. 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

  10. 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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    1. It really is gorgeous and you’re right, I was pretty disgusting! She was really young and surprised me when she told me off. Ha!
      I’m done road biking. Too many people drive distracted these days. I take the underpass to the Res now. It’s not that far out of the way! Be careful out there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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