In our own backyard.... Sometimes 'the road not taken' leads to trouble
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." - Robert Frost Throughout much of my adult life, I've kind of enjoyed being in the driver's seat whenever I can - speaking up about my ...
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost
Throughout much of my adult life, I've kind of enjoyed being in the driver's seat whenever I can - speaking up about my thoughts and opinions, being a part of the decision making process, and taking a back seat to no one.
But despite all that false bravado, I've never quite gotten up the nerve to take the driver's seat of our ATV since we first got it last year. I have no problem whatsoever navigating the world from the back of a horse, or behind the handlebars of a snowmobile, but since I didn't grow up around four-wheelers, I've always been a little hesitant to climb on and manhandle one through the woods.
And so, as husband Ken and I bumped over the rocks and ruts of a previously unexplored woods trail on our "wheeler" last Sunday afternoon, I gratefully rode behind him on the seat, both arms wrapped around his waist and holding on as if for dear life.
After riding several miles back into the wilderness, we finally decided to turn back and Ken suggested I try taking the wheel of the big ATV as he slid back into the passenger's seat.
After a few rudimentary instructions, I shifted into low and squeezed the throttle. With a mighty roar, the machine bucked back so both front wheels came off the ground, and then it lurched forward snapping our heads backward.
It took a while to get the feel for it, but when I finally did, I could feel my confidence beginning to build.
And so, when we came to the faint, rutted trail that veered off to the left of the main trail, I glanced questioningly over my shoulder at Ken before cranking the handlebars in that direction.
It turned out to be a beautiful trail, lined by mighty Norway and white pines, and I found myself enjoying the "front seat" ride tremendously.
At one point, we climbed a steep hill and then cautiously wound down the other side and into a long, straight stretch lined brilliantly in bright purple bearded iris and some sort of long-stemmed, narrow-leafed plants.
In retrospect, Ken said he should have recognized the change in vegetation and realized just what lay ahead. He said I seemed to be enjoying myself so much he hated to have to turn around.
When the front wheels descended into the first mucky area, I let up on the throttle in alarm, slowly wending the way through the puddle and climbing out on the other side.
"You'd better watch carefully to see what you're headed into," Ken suggested, still not sounding particularly upset.
It was then I hit a much longer stretch of quagmire and the tires of the ATV seemed to take on a life of their own.
"Oh, Wendy!" Ken cried with a note of warning in his voice.
As I let up on the throttle, he cried, "Don't stop now - you'll get stuck!" And so I squeezed the throttle for all it was worth, hoping to maintain our forward progress and make it to the high ground on the other end.
The only trouble was that there was no high ground. I had driven right into a stretch of boggy swamp land that seemed to go on forever.
"Ohhhhhhhh, Wendy!" Ken shouted, now truly concerned about where all this was heading.
Still, I held out hope of getting somewhere as I clung to the throttle and the wheels of the big ATV continuted to drive round and round. And for a hopeful moment, I thought I was actually getting somewhere, until I looked down and realized they weren't moving forward at all - but straight down into the mud!