Lost in a Small Woods

Remember a few years ago when Tony and I accidentally hiked a dozen miles in the UP? The mistake two years ago rests firmly on our shoulders: we didn’t consult the map at the trail-head that had distances clearly marked (unlike our paper trail map).

Unintentionally long hikes seem to be a bit of a theme for us. This Saturday, I feel like we were victims of badly marked trails instead of just being lazily uninformed. We settled on a two-mile route in the trails behind the old Traverse City State Hospital – after consulting the trail map. We even took a phone picture of it so we’d have it nearby. We set off, taking the first left as indicated on the map.


That was the last time, for two hours, that we knew where we were. The map indicates a few different trails, neatly marked in distinct colors. The woods, however, is a spiderweb of unlabeled intersecting paths. At each (frequent) crossing, we’d decide whether to fork left or right. Or continue ahead versus turning.

bridge in the woods

We never feared actually being lost. The entire system is sandwiched between some main roads, and we could often hear TC traffic if we just listened for it. Eventually we meandered back to some marked trails, though we never did make sense of where we had gone or how we had ended up where we did.


β€œIt’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

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16 thoughts on “Lost in a Small Woods

  1. Love that first shot! And I think we may have “been there” one time! Something about it seems eerily familiar. Like, WTH am I, and how!

    • I don’t know what to say! Thank you!
      For me, photography is about telling a story. The bridges in the woods pull me into them, so I’m glad I capture that even marginally in my photos!

  2. About getting lost. Well you see, you are there and I am here. But, from your point of view I am there, which means that you must be here. But, you can’t be hear and there although you might be neither here nor there, which means you would be nowhere. But, you can’t be nowhere, so you must be somewhere or indeed anywhere or perhaps elsewhere. So you see what I mean.

    P.S. I loved the shot through the tree arch, as if into a another world, but beware of the shadow people (and dog). πŸ˜€

    • Thanks Pat! That section of woods was enchanted. As we were walking by, Tony and I both stopped and admired for a few moments before I got busy with the camera. We both knew I would, but it was so magical we just stood agape πŸ™‚

  3. Heather, you “followed your feet”! Whether you wanted to or not… I am picturing that old state hospital in Traverse. Barry’s grandpa lived in the nursing home next door during his final years. Echoing what Pat said. Fabulous photo!

    • I thought of your blog as I was writing this! We definitely followed our feet! And I did it again the other morning – ended up on some two-tracks a couple of miles away in a brand new world πŸ™‚ (Unfortunately, Petey found some yellow jackets, and I couldn’t help him 😦 )
      I hope that nursing home is as nice as I’m led to believe from looking outside-in.

  4. Beautiful pictures, Heather. That last one with the trees makes me feel nostalgic about somewhere I’ve never been. πŸ™‚ I’ll be looking forward to more of your posts.

    • Thank you Anita. What a compliment! I feel like that photo makes the place feel absolutely enchanted πŸ˜€
      (Stopping by your blog just as soon as I get caught up on my own!)

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