Burning off some vacation time, my beach trip got derailed by a heat index north of 110 degrees. I sipped coffee and considered my options. More yard work? I don’t think so. Slugging the rest of my java, I sprang into action.

Loading my equipment took less time than expected, which probably meant I was forgetting important items. I comforted myself with a mental reminder I was not going far, which for some reason always turns out to be a lie. I would need plenty of water and some food. Seeing carrots, hummus and crackers in my fridge, I took it as a sign. Due to my navigationally challenged nature, I need every single one of those I can get.

Before one departs into the woods a good plan includes researching the location. I was feeling adventurous though and figured, what’s the worst that could happen? Instead of picking from the multitudes of day hikes saved on my phone, I opted to let Google surprise me. That took even less time than usual, but I am getting ahead of myself which is one location I readily find without much trouble.

Departing for a distant trail head, a turkey picked through the neighbor’s lawn. As the hen turned, the sun highlighted her feathers as I snapped a couple of photos. My birding had already started. What else might I find? My destination would have been a good start, but alas, that was not meant to be — at least not for me.

I did find more turkeys though. They were darting through rows of orange trees along a clay road the color of a ripe pumpkin. With the blue sky ahead, it was a very pretty location. What it wasn’t was where I should be even if Google disagreed. As the hens scurried about like it was Black Friday at the local big box store, I wondered where they were going. I also pondered where I might be.

The mapping insisted I take a non-existent left to continue to my destination. Watching the flock of fowl bolt towards the wildlife management area far in the distance, it was clear that no matter what the GPS said I wasn’t getting there from here. Feeling a bit like crying foul, I decided I was going to strut my stuff somewhere. I just didn’t know how to get there or where there might be yet.

I was sporting new hiking boots and had downloaded a new hiking app. I even brought my new camera. I had binoculars, a hat and sunblock. I packed well but not planned very smartly. I also had not shared where I was going in case I did wind up lost. Mulling this over, I cheered myself with the irony that it really didn’t matter. There is no sense in filing a trip plan when you can’t figure out how to get to your location, right?

Google redeemed itself by finding me a new forest area to explore and I finally got some hiking in before lightning forced me back to my vehicle. Making my way back via helpful paint blazes, a flock of turkeys crossed the white sand path before me. Thankfully, this time we were all headed in the right direction.