I planned this romantic date night hike with my wife back when we were dating. The plan for this warm summer night—after a brief walk in a city park, waiting for the sun to completely set—was to return to a hillside overlooking the steeple chase course in her town and watch the stars come out. I had brought a picnic blanket to sit on, jackets, a lap blanket in case she got cold and a travel tea set. I brought her favorite kinds of tea and honey. The setting was perfect to talk into the night, drink hot tea and watch the stars. I was planning to have her home around midnight and be back to my apartment by 1:00.
We left my truck just at the start of nautical twilight and sashayed hand in hand in the grey light. Down a paved road we went to explore the park for about 20 minutes. We crossed a field to see a picnic area and then hiked a few hundred yards down an old fire trail behind it. It was getting too dark to see very well so I led her back to the blacktop. I was so pleasantly distracted by her presence, her conversation and her beauty that I walked right past our turn. When about 20 minutes had passed, I admitted that I had better look at my map.
I got out my phone and saw that my mapping program was running my phone battery down fast so I had better memorize how to get back and shut it off. I was so embarrassed that I needed to check the map that I couldn’t think straight. I began to wonder if she would think I had lied about all of those hiking adventures I’d told her about. She thought she was with the Pathfinder but I was needing a map in a city park!
In my metal fog over this issue, I kept forgetting the next turn and had to use my phone a few more times and the battery died. I made one more error and got us hopelessly lost. We walked all night looking for my truck. I’m guessing that we covered 8 miles. About 2 am we sat down in the middle of the road leaning against each others backs so she could take a nap for a few minutes. When I helped her back up, she was so light headed that I had to partially hold her up and she stumbled along with her eyes shut. God blessed me in my foolishness and let me find the club house of a golf course. We got up under the overhang around 3 am just before it began to rain. I gave her my shirt outer layer and held her on my lap to try to keep her warm. My actions helped a little but I could not hold back the chill from the air that was now 50 degrees from the wind and pouring rain.
To be continued…Romantic Date Night Hike Turned Lost in the Woods!