It’s often all too easy to look back on the dumb things I’ve done in my past and find some sort of viable rationale for why I did them. But in the case of when I was duped by a trail junction sign in Texas, I could only look back with confusion – it didn’t make sense that I could look at something as simple as a sign with arrows and arrive at a conclusion so pathetically misguided as to be void of any reason whatsoever.
(To make the long story short, I set out to hike up the tallest mountain in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, but due to misreading the trail junction sign, I hiked up the wrong mountain.)
I am by no means perfect, but I’d like to think I’m at least a little better than a complete idiot, so I went back to Guadalupe Peak to make peace with my lapse of brain function. Who knows? - maybe the sign really was confusing. Would it allow me to vindicate myself?
This is what I saw, much I like I remember it:
I stared at it for a little while, thinking back to the thought process that led me down the path to nowhere. Even if I had accidentally chosen the wrong destination, all three point towards the same trail. The only one that didn’t was “Tejas,” which was inexplicably the one I chose.
But this is clearly not how I thought. No… my thought process was a little different, I recalled…
Rather than interpreting the arrows as indications of which direction to walk, I foolishly interpreted the arrows as a flowchart – that is to say, where my eyes should follow. To me, the arrow for “Guadalupe Peak” didn’t point to a trail, it pointed to the arrow directly above it within the sign itself – the Tejas trail arrow pointing to the right. In fact, all arrows pointed to the Tejas rightward arrow, so I figured if I went right, I couldn’t lose. Right? Because, you know, “Tejas” sounds legit. I mean, that’s the state for which Guadalupe Peak is the high point. Makes sense to me. And away I went.
I want to blame this lunacy on the rush of crunch time, but shameless excuses can never fix the past. There was but one solution: hike up Guadalupe Peak for reals this time. Which, due to the encouragement of my companion albeit against better judgement (because we started up at 8:00pm), we did. And we conquered.
However, because we started at sunset, it was dark for the entire hike and I don’t have any pictures – only the silhouette of a tree crying out in agony.