Being that it had just rained the week previous, the trails were a bit muddy, but nothing too bad. We found a trail that crossed our service road, so we took it. It was marked, so we figured we were good. This is where it started to get hairy. As a side note, this was not mountain biking, not in the slightest. It was completely flat and very tame. However, the mud made our voyage quite treacherous. We both slipped and fell into huge puddles multiple times. The trail was about 5 km long, which isn't too bad. We rode through the forest, stopping to take pictures along the way. We could never stop very long though, because of the onslaught of hordes of mosquitoes that thirsted for our blood. We ended up putting on our jackets to protect ourselves from the pestilence. I discovered that socks do nothing to stop them from eating your ankles though.
Well, we made it out of the forest and to this lake area. It was completely barren except for one guy's little hut on the lake. Having rested a bit and being that a storm was approaching, we decided to head back. We tried going on the street that ran alongside the forest, but that was under construction and it was surrounded by huge walls which prevented access of any kind. We had to brave the forest. In one of my companion's slips, he ended up scraping up his hands pretty bad on the pavement. He had quarter sized chunks of flesh dangling loosely from the heels of his hands, making handlebar control something of a chore. With the approaching storm, we wanted to get back as soon as possible.
Instead of taking our well known, tried and true path that we just came from, we decided to take an unknown, but supposedly shorter, path back. All was fine until we hit a dead end. As a side note, none of our paths have been marked. We just followed the beaten path, where it looked like the most people had been. We took a turn from a little ways down the trail, which led us in the direction we wanted to go, generally. Eventually, the trail got more and more trashy, meaning: covered in trash. We met some dogs, which we thought were wild at first, but then their owners turned up. We kept going and made it to a clearing which ended up being a gypsy village in the middle of the forest. That was where the path led. We had no business being there and they knew it and we knew it. So we just turned our little white boy selves right around and pedaled back to where we took the wrong path.
After many more wrong turns and frustrated Mormon curses directed toward the no existent trail building committee for the green forest, we made it back to the lake where we could find our happy little trail that we knew and loved. By this time, the storm set in and it had started to rain. We rode all the way back through the rain, slipping and stumbling the whole way. Finally, our battered bodies and bikes emerged from the forest which was obviously Satan's hometown and counted ourselves lucky to not be eaten by mosquito or gypsy.
I now know what it feels like to be in Lehi's vision. I always thought: how hard can it be to hold onto the rod? it's right there! Soooo easy. Well, what if you see a way that you think would be faster to the tree? You're gonna take that. You let go of the rod and then get lost in strange paths. No soup for you. And when you get off the path, it's incredibly hard to get back on the path. It's possible, as we found, but it's much more difficult than just staying on the path. Another lesson to be learned is about taking the right path. Just because a path is well-beaten and obviously traveled often, that doesn't mean it's a path you want to be on. Those people that travel the path are probably not the ones you want to be associating with. It's better to stay on the path marked by God rather than the one traveled by men. There's a reflection for you guys!
Also, the answer to last week's two truths: I didn't see gypsies fighting with swords, sadly. But we did meet a guy who thought he was Abel reincarnated. And we sometimes go into the park and do slackline and backflip contacting. It actually works really well and we've gotten a ton of people's numbers from it.