On a lovely spring day, four ladies set out for a Spa Day at the beautiful Mohonk Mountain House in the Shawgunk Mountains of New Paltz, NY. All checked in to the spa, they decided to explore. They didn't think to take their phones, they didn’t pack water, they kept on their flip-flops and set out with no plan and tissues, lip gloss and a thermos of Mimosas in their arsenal. They intended to take a quick walk around the grounds. They were wrong.
Yes. I was one of these four knuckleheads and lived to tell the tale. Our intended stroll turned into three hours of wandering somewhat aimlessly through the greater Mohonk preserve without the first clue of how to get back where we started from. There was panic. There was hunger. There was thirst. There was talk of who would get eaten first if it came down to it. It wasn't pretty.
Once we found our way back from the brink of death, we picked up a map. Of course now we are aware that a map would've been useful BEFORE getting lost in the woods for three hours but clearly that thought never crossed our pretty little minds as we stepped out into the world. What do you want? We are cute. Do we have to be smart too?! Geez. You want everything!
Anyway, having examined the map, I was able to suss out exactly where we went wrong (over and over again) and I made a poster out of it to commemorate this horrific event with some of my dearest friends.
You can click this image for the full map but I'm going to break it down for you right here in the blog. By the way, you are welcome, in advance, for how smart you are going to feel after you read this.
First is our intended path. This is what we set out to do.
But that is not what we did. No. As it turns out, we set out on the wrong path almost from the get go. Unaware that we were already on "leg 1" of the walk of fail, we stopped to toast our awesome girl's day out with the mimosas I was toting along. Also, blissfully unaware that it is against the rules to have alcohol on the hiking trails. That's another tidbit I learned from the map I picked up afterward.
After walking a bit further, my friend Tami thought we should turn around. We all still thought we were on a path that would loop back toward the main house. We ventured on.
We had set out on our walk at 11:00. It was probably about 11:45 when Nancy's stomach growling began startling small forrest creatures. She tried to bribe Tami for the cheese she had packed but, sadly, Tami left it in her spa locker along with anything else that might have been useful.
We were starting to feel lost when we came upon a map of sorts at Rhododendron Bridge. It didn't say anything about the Mountain House but it mentioned a Trapps Visitor's Center. We had never heard of it but figured a visitor's center meant people who could potentially help us. My friend Jean thought that would take us away from where we needed to go.
This is the actual sign at Rhododendron Bridge.
Now on "leg 2" of the walk of fail, I tried to break the mounting tension as I offered to allow everyone to eat me if I died first. The didn't object much at all.
Before my friends could take me up on my generous offer, a jogger appeared wearing a Mohonk Preserve tag. She shook her head at us guessing that we came from the mountain house and were way lost based solely on our lack of appropriate foot wear or gear of any type. Who does she think she is?!?! Nancy thought the jogger "saved us". Looking at the map, I think she might have said "Hey, why don't you walk another 400 yards to the Visitor's center and see if someone can give you a ride back?" Or even "Come with me, I will help you!" Not exactly the heroine of the day in my opinion.
Following the joggers instructions, we headed wearily back to Rhododendron Bridge which I have dubbed "leg 3" of our walk of fail. We reached the bridge and headed in the direction she indicated. Her vague instructions said that the road would be "uphill" so when we came to yet another fork, we took the uphill fork. Wrong again.
On "leg 4" of the walk of fail, which is by far my LEAST favorite part of this journey, we were on some unnamed service road in the blazing heat. It was at this point that we began yelling for any nearby help. Tami employed her super loud whistling skills and got a bird to respond but nobody else. Nancy declared that we were turning back!
Little did we know that we weren't far from a more direct path back to the mountain house but with the decisions we'd been making so far, we probably wouldn't have taken that turn anyway.
Finally, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We could actually SEE the resort! We had been avoiding drinking any more mimosas for fear of dehydration. We were so relieved we took a much deserved break to quench our thirst. It tasted like heaven.
We finally reached the dining room for our complimentary spa lunch at just about 2:00. We burst in like the desperate lunatics we are begging for water and a phone so we could postpone our spa appointments to 3:30.
At last! With our thirsts were quenched, our appointments were moved and our food on the way we were able to laugh about our excursion... well, a little bit anyway. We realized that nobody would really feel bad for four dummies who set out unprepared and didn't even miss a meal.
It is true. We are dumb - dumb -dumb but would it kill someone to put an arrow on the bridge sign saying “HEY LOST KNUCKLEHEADS - MOHONK MOUNTAIN HOUSE IS BACK THAT WAY!” and signs on the trails saying “YOU ARE NOW LEAVING MOHONK RESORT PROPERTY AND ENTERING THE MOHONK PRESERVE WHICH IS VERY LARGE AND YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO DO IF YOU ARE WEARING FLIP-FLOPS AND ONLY EQUIPPED WITH LIP GLOSS, TISSUES AND MIMOSAS!”
More useful things we found on the map when we got back.