After deciding I was off trail, I reversed course and then found the trail so kept going. I could see some foot prints so figured I was on the route despite there being none of the usual signs like rock piles or a beaten down path. I began getting a little anxious at mile 7 and no trail sign. I was mostly in a canopy of trees so I could not ID prominent physical features like a rock outcropping to guide me back. I passed through a barbwire fence with crude gate, closing it behind me, probably now on someone's ranch. I kept going. Finally, at mile 8, I gave up, having not reached the "Red Tanks" trail. Turning around, it is a strange feeling to realize that you have to go back with it decidedly uncertain that you will be able to find the way. Don't want to be overly dramatic but it is a strange feeling. As I walked back, I took great comfort in finding a sandy spot and seeing my outgoing foot print. I later figured, after seeing a few empty shotgun casings, I had not been following fellow hikers on the trail but likely hunters. I also later learned (trust me, I had done a lot of research prior to attempting this adventure) I had been on an old wagon wheel route between Mesa and Superior used back in the 1800's. Things kept falling in to place and I found the real trail and returned with 16 miles and kind of sore feet. I need to get one of those detailed maps of this area if I plan on doing this again.
Well, I return to Ohio on Friday. Accuweather is forecasting a warming trend beginning on the 19th with many days in the 40's Gee I hope so. I rode the bike on Sunday with the temps in the low 50's and it was freezing! Below is a final look back at where I had been.