Ok, so I didn't really go out intending on a 12 mile ride today. I went back to Riverfront Park and ended up taking a trail that looked like it'd be a good one. A few minutes into it the trail became more and more obscure. I started getting into some heavy brush and was really getting beat up by it. Twigs and branches kept smacking my hands, arms, and legs. Trees were grabbing my clothes and there were cockle burrs everywhere. I was already pretty far down the trail so I didn't want to turn around. Finally the trail opened up and I continued on. Then I saw something up ahead that I recognized, the sand from yesterday. I shifted all the way down and spun my rear tire through the sand while my front tire slid all over the place. I continued down the trail but it was just more sand, everywhere. The trail finally stopped at the river so I turned around to go back but I definatelly was not taking the same trail back. I found what I thought was a trail and followed it for awhile until it completely disappeared. I looked back and couldn't even tell where I'd come from. So what did I do? I kept plugging along hoping that I'd find a trail somewhere that would lead me back to something recognizable. I finally found a tiny, obscure trail but hey, it was better than what I was on. I took it in hopes of finding a larger trail that would take me back. I followed it for awhile and occassionally turned off on a different trail that seemed like it was heading the right direction and looked a little more promising. Finally, after wandering through the park for twenty minutes or so, I found pavement and knew exactly where I was.
I took off down the paved trail and looked at my clock. Man was I going to be late getting back to work. I decided to take the same trail that I took yesterday to get out of the park so I wouldn't get lost again. Whoops! I somehow did it again. I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in some sort of bird sanctuary with bird houses everywhere. I could hardly decipher the trail in the tall and thick grass. Then, out of nowhere , I hit a small log with my front tire. I'll just say OUCH! (high pitched voice implied by small font.) After recovering from my near endo / frame in crotch moment, I noticed that I was on the wrong side of the creek. At that point I'd had enough of this trail and turned around to find my way out.
After back tracking and taking a few more wrong turns, I finally found the pond at the east side of the park. I hopped onto the familiar trail and raced off toward the park exit. Overall, it was an enjoyable ride and without a time restraint, I probably wouldn't have cared about the wrong turns. I was just out exploring. But as it was, I was really late getting back to the office and even later getting back to my desk. I took a long, thourough shower to get all of the grass and burrs off so I wouldn't itch all day. Doesn't matter, I'm still itching.
As I write this, I realize that its probably really difficult to envision getting lost in a park. I really need to take pictures of this place so you can see for yourselves how overgrown and dense the vegitation is in this park. With exception of the trails and a grassy play/picnic area around the North side of the lake, the entire park is essentially virgin forest and wetlands. I'll bring a camera with me one of these days. But until then, these internet images will have to do.