We arrived and started hiking the trail. We had a map which I printed off of the internet. It SEEMED fairly easy to follow.
But you see those red, blue and yellow trail lines? There are way more trails there which are NOT on this map!We found the large oak tree on the red trail easily, however we did not see any markings or signs indicating it was the red trail.
After that we continued to follow the map, thinking we would just continue to follow the map and exit the park. However, something happened and the trail map did not seem to be working for us. We ended up at the other huge oak tree. It appears to be dead, but it is still magnificent.
By this time we were tired and a bit hungry and we decided it was time to head back to the entrance, the parking area and my car. We looked at the map carefully and we realized that we were at the point on the map the absolute farthest from the entrance. Our route back to the entrance and parking lot appeared perfectly clear to us. However when we would reach a spot that was supposed to have a turn to either the right OR the left, there were two routes to choose from. So, we made the best choice possible, but we messed up and after a while, we realized we were going around in circles.
We started to get nervous, and we shouted out a few times, hoping there were other hikers nearby. No luck. Thankfully, Betty had her phone with her and we called Peggy and asked her to find the phone number for the Town of Lockport main office. We were able to memorize the number and we called and told someone our dilemma. After a few phone calls back and forth, and after we located the second big tree again and agreed to wait there, we were told that a park ranger, a man named Ken, would come out and pick is up in a four wheeler. He said it would be twenty minutes, but it was more like a half an hour. We waited patiently and he finally arrived.
He was so nice. He said he is not really a park ranger and gave us another title, but I cannot remember it. Betty and I sat in the back for the one mile ride to the entrance. I noticed that he did not take the route that we had chosen, by following the map. He said he was surprised that we were not able to get help from other hikers, but that when he arrived he noticed my Subaru was the only vehicle in the parking lot. So, we were the only hikers in the forest when we got lost!!! What bad luck. We had encountered a young couple and another man a couple of hours earlier while we were headed to the waterfalls.
Just before we said goodbye to Ken, a very young couple with a child in a stroller arrived. Betty asked if it was their first visit and they said it was. She told them how easy it was for us to get lost and I gave her my map.
Betty and I left and headed north on 78 and went to Gordy Harpers for lunch.
What a day. I made a firm decision: in the future, every time I go out into the woods, no matter who I am with, I will use my GPS and set the coords for my car. Also, I would like to get a good compass and learn how to use it.