Today was the day that I've been waiting for - and in honor of that I broke all the rules. You'd think I would know better, but no, I don't. I only used a small backpack since today was supposed to be a trial run down at Thunder Swamp, we would only go for an hour and I left earlier than I had planned as I have a lot to do today. I packed water and some dog treats for Pearl, just in case we met other hikers and I had to reinforce the good behavior we've been working on. I stuffed the map in there, I hadn't really had a chance to look at it all week but I figured it would be good to have. We arrived right before first light, we'd been hiking for about 40 minutes before the sun came up so I paid very close attention to the trail as it's rough and I didn't want to misstep. The trail was reblazed orange, the side trails red - in the early light both colors look the same. Why am I telling you all this? So then you'll not be surprised that I was on my cell phone to 911 waiting for them to connect me with the state ranger station which is what you do when you're lost in a national forest. I have NEVER gotten lost so this was a new adventure for both me and Pearl - all I want to say is if I'm ever trapped on a desert island it had better not be with Pearl and if it is she's very lucky I'm a vegetarian. I made the call when I located a trail marker which I didn't move from until he located me on his map and told me to start walking north. Bill the Forest Fire Supervisor was great, he called me every 20 minutes to make sure I was on the right trail and an hour later I was back to my car, what a relief! And of course the whole time I was texting back and forth with Janet just in case someone needed to know where the body would be. I'll be back there next week but next time I'll look at the map BEFORE so I know the trails, I'll pack food just in case and I'll leave after the sun is up so I can make sure I'm coming back out the way I came in. Part of the problem is I didn't really look at surroundings when I went in and it was light enough to see the trail but not much else, plus the red markings look the same as the orange in the low light. But on the upside - my new hiking shoes are GREAT! Almost 4 hours of hiking and not one blister. Lead on McDuff, lead on!