A Sign to Somewhere
“A sign!” I sang out loud in a melodic mix of relief and excitement. I wasn’t really, truly lost. Every now and then I could see the tree-cleared ski run on the mountain next to me. I could hear a river. I had drawn a mental map and I was still kind of moving in, what I thought, was the right direction. I could always back-track too. Still, I felt so elated I hugged the wooden post. Thinking you’re on the right track is a whole different experience than knowing you’re on the right track.
Thirty minutes earlier I was standing at 2215m. I had run up to Roc de la Calme, the highest peak of the Font Romeu ski resort that I could run to. I lingered at the top, feeling quite proud my three week injury-induced run hiatus was officially over. I marinated in the view but as I turned to run home, I was faced with a fork in the trail. Right, back down the way I came. Or left… Left, I figured, I would go down and around, joining back half way back where I had come from. “Hmmm….decisions, decisions.” My feet turned left and the rest of my body followed while my brain was still making a list of pros and cons.
I ran along the shore, jumping puddles here and there where the lake had spilled over, until the trail split. Left I went again, compelled by curiosity to feel the temperature of the water. It was surprisingly warm.
Lac de la Pradella
“Why does this keep going left? And down?” I worried. My mental GPS was repeatedly telling me I needed to go right. It was also starting to suggest I “make a u-turn at the next legal opportunity”. I stopped, needing a moment to figure out whether I should keep trekking down the 13% eroded rocky path or back track. I tilted my neck up the hill to look at what I would have to climb. I looked down at the technical path ahead. I looked at my cell phone, no service. I reached in my pocket for my emergency gel and down I went.
Ten (but what seemed like 30 minutes) later, I rounded a corner and squinted. It was either the sign-iest looking tree in the world or a sign. I got closer and it was a sign! I was so happy I sang out loud, figuring no one was around for miles. I hugged the post. I didn’t know the exact places the sign pointed to but they pointed to somewhere and that’s where I was going.