We know those trails reasonably well, though never covering all of them. Last time we were there - a few weeks ago - Vince and I explored a new route and managed to find our way out at approximately where we expected. This time we decided to attempt to run that route in reverse. That was only one in a series of decisions which guaranteed a little excitement.
Another of those decisions was to diverge from the somewhat familiar path and take an alternate trail at the first of many trail splits. Several minutes of rather difficult climbing later, we encountered the next split in the trail. Visibility was well under 100', nothing looked familiar, and the typical landmarks on distant peaks or in surrounding valleys were useless. We could have retraced our steps at that point, since we were already 2 miles into our run, but true to form, we basically flipped a coin and pressed on.
Once we made that turn we committed to being truly lost. At each intersection we would compare opinions, and consistently agree that we had no idea where we were. We'd sometimes stop to listen for the fog horns out on the river, or the traffic from Highway 4 nearby, but even then couldn't be sure which way was out. At one point we compared perceptions regarding the compass headings, and found we were working with realities approximately 90 degrees divergent from one another. His North was my East.
Those who know me AT ALL will understand why at that point I gladly gave up my perception of reality for his, knowing that I'm capable of getting lost in a mall parking lot with no cars and one exit.
After alternating between left turns and right turns for a while, Vince recognized a trail that we had taken earlier (good thing 'cause I didn't) - but we were headed back down it in the same direction as before. Yeah - great big circle. At least then we knew which way not to go.
Even if we didn't know where we "are."
After about 45 minutes of wandering at high speed, we did begin to recognize the trails and set out with more certainty.
We made it out.
I sit here this morning, another foggy morning, the day after Christmas itching to get back out there and run. Christmas Eve I rode the mountain bike from home, to Radio Shack looking for a new power cord for our newly inoperable DSL modem, then continued up to Briones Peak and back. (Don't get your AC Adapters from Radio Shack - I went to Fry's later and found it for a third of the price)
The modem now works.
Obviously - if you're reading this.