For a while, I got lost in the trails of Timberland while making our way back to the main road coming from Ka Vergel. King was in front, and I didn't see him take a right turn so I went straight.
It was a relatively steep uphill so I was walking my bike. I blew my whistle several times trying to get any response from him to no avail. When I got to the top, he was not there, but I still rode and hoped that he would be waiting for me at the next shade.
When I saw that the trail goes all the way down before going back up another hill again, I was forced to make a decision - follow the trail and hope that it leads me back to the parking area, or go all the way back to Ka Vergel. At that point, being alone on the trail with tall cogon grasses, I was bit panicking. But I knew there was no room for that. Assessing my situation, I still have ample water to make the trip back, but I don't have any trail food. Looking at my GPS, I can trace the route without any problems. Also, there seems to be a trail 20 meters away from me. That's another option, I thought.
I turned around and rode back. True enough, from the hilltop, I saw a group of bikers right below. I blew my whistle and got their attention. I signaled them to wait for me.
I rode as fast as I can. The grass was so high that I couldn't see them when I got down. Then I saw that there was another trail on the left, and I took that. And there they were, looking at me as if I was crazy.
I asked them if this was the Blue Trail, and they answered "yes". "It's the last stretch out," they added.
To someone who is well-versed in the trails of Timberland, this story can be quite funny. But when I was in this predicament, images of me walking back to the parking lot under the mid-afternoon sun were on my mind.
Here are my learnings from this experience:
1. Don't panic. Panicking will make you do crazy things and might lead you to a worse situation.
2. Bring a whistle and make it easily accessible. I wouldn't have gotten the attention of the bikers if it weren't for this.
3. Wait for your buddy at crossroads. You may ride a different pace from your friend, but make sure that you wait for each other at forks and intersections.
4. Have ample water and food. You may be walking back to civilization, but walking back to civilization when you're hungry and thirsty is worse.
5. Use a GPS. Mine logged the route that I took, so all I had to do was follow it to go back. Today's modern smartphones mostly come with GPS as well. Use apps such as Map My Ride and Google Maps to take you home.
6. Bring a cellphone in case you need to call. Too bad mine didn't have any signal.
Here's the map of my ride: