Some people have an already built-in navigational ability. They seem to always know which way camp is and the best and fastest way to get there. My father had a navigational ability that kept us from getting lost and out of harm’s way.
Unfortunately, he did not pass that trait on to me. If I can’t see the sun, I am easily confused about direction. Just ask my boys. They know better than to ask me which way is North.
A couple of years ago, we’d been riding all day in the Utah desert. The month was late February. The day temperatures were comfortable, but the nights were colder than blue blazes. It was afternoon and close to three o’clock. We still had a considerable distance to get back to camp. The problem was most of us did not know the fastest way back to camp and were considering going back the way we came.
Returning the same way we came would take hours and the horses would give out as well. There were ten of us riding that day. One of the riders, Mark Albertson, pointed out that if we went in a southernly direction we would make it back to camp in just over an hour.
Some of us have ridden with Mark for years and have learned of his ability to get you where you need to be. On occasion, the ride might be a little sketchy, but we always got to camp in one piece.
Peter Cannon, who also trusts Mark’s abilities, and I headed back with Mark. The other seven felt more confident taking a different direction. We headed out at a fairly good clip. The trail was marked and easy to follow for a short distance. Then it seemed the trail disappeared, and we were winging it.
Mark never deviated from his sense of direction. The countryside was so unfamiliar that Peter and I thought we were lost. If you think you are lost, you usually are. Not in this case. Within 45 minutes we started to notice familiar territory. It was only a short time until we rode into camp, dead tired but ecstatic to be there.
Mark was extremely capable at getting us back to camp safely and before dark. The other riders who split off from us rode into camp an hour later, worn out and ready for a bowl of Dutch oven stew.
So, why do some people have a built-in navigational ability while others, like me, get lost? I’m sure, in the future, I’ll be nagging that question, after some unknowing cowboy comes up to me, on a cloudy day, and says, “Do you know where camp is?”
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