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I’ve never actually been lost. I don’t carry a GPS or maps. I may look at a map before I go. I just have a photographic memory for landmarks, and I don’t ever lose my sense of direction.

There was one time where I was exploring about 20 miles in and there was a big mountainside where the trail ended but I knew it supposedly picked up again at the bottom. I headed where I thought I should go, and ended up getting cliffed out. I went back up into the open mountainside and noticed a spot down below where the trees were all the same height and next to them were taller, older trees. The shorter ones had been a clearcut probably 50 years prior. I aimed for that and sure enough, I found the trail again.

These days, I really can’t stand popular trails. I mountain bike to recharge, and that doesn’t happen on our well-known trails which have been flooded with newcomers. I am almost always on old, unknown trails that require hike a biking to get up and/or secret trails. All of our new trails suck, as they are built with strict adherence to IMBA spec.
 

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I have a pretty good sense of direction. I once found my way out of my mom's uterus.

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk
 

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No known cure
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Around here, San Bernardino Mountains/Big Bear, residents but up fake no trespassing/private road signs. One forgotten road that's county that I use to connect little used neighborhood trails had a fence stating private road. I drove over it in the Jeep. Other times at another entrance, an old man came running out of his home and said I couldn't access the forest from the gate there. It's a numbered forestry gate. LOL. He had homemade signs bolted to the gate. It's not like I'm going to file a complaint but a healthy, "Choke on a horse c***" works.
 

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I try my best not to get lost. As getting lost in Alaska brings a pretty significant amount of risk of injury or death along with it. When I'm going to new trails or new places I make sure to have a map of some sort saved on my phone and have checked to see if anything is on my Garmin watch. If need be I can just backtrack with my watch map and be fine. And if all else fails, I usually bring an InReach to call for help on.
 

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Great thread. Inspiring I hope. Camping every weekend with our two boys 7 and 9 means exploring the trails. Couple weeks ago the 3 of us got lost and with night creeping in sooner and some hike a bike it got a little scary. They surprised me with their resourcefulness and talked each other through it not to mention making fun of me for getting us into the thick in the first place. This resulted in some new good lights for their bikes and now we head out after dark on night rides which we'd never done before so it's opened up some new experiences for em. Agree with that other thread - not much beats riding with your kids.
 

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Yep. I'm exploring all the time. Some times small sometimes epic.

I love the barely existent goat track. That is my favourite type of riding
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Riding with my daughter in bear country, I try to not get lost. Sure, we explore new areas and trails, but it would be irresponsible to not do at least a basic bit of planning in advance.

This is from the most populated, least remote, most popular trail/trail network in my area, from earlier today:

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Last time we explored a brand new trail, which was a week ago, yup, you guessed it, we ran into a bear (not literally, although that was alleged to have happened in Canmore a few years ago…).

Here is a pic from that ride:

Bicycle Wheel Tire Cloud Plant
 

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Pro Coffee Drinker
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Would love to but barely have enough time to get my regular 1.5hr rides in these days. 3 kids under 5 y.o. will do that to ya. Hopefully as they get older we can adventure together.

-DS
 

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Keep things simple
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I started with paper maps as an aviator, hiker, and biker. One of the items I glean from them is a general idea of what the area I will be in looks like.

GPS has become another tool for me. Sometimes it is unavailable. No big deal.

I constantly evaluate many things if I go off exploring a new trail. If I come up against a “show stopper” item that I evaluated earlier, ex. running out of light, or low on water, tough terrain, a GPS fix, if I can get one, is, as we can guess, super helpful.

So as to the OP question. Yes. I do some exploring. I don’t push getting “lost” or into a bad situation.

I always let someone know generally where I will be. (that’s self explanatory)
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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Exploring, not knowing where you are, and being lost are three different things, IMO.
 

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I love exploring. I definitely would want to live a life without adventures, especially in the wood and the mountain. No one wants to get lost. Getting lost is usually the result of multiple mistakes.
 

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I mountain biked for decades without GPS. While I still do “explore”, I much appreciate the ability to know where I’m going and where I’m at. There’s also varying degrees of “lost”. I like to be prepared. As in food, water, shelter, etc. For me to go into some vast track of land and get “lost” would mean preparation and planning.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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So our winter trails (put in with snowshoes, skis, etc.) are so numerous one can easily get lost, but it’s fun to get lost. Some nights the city lights or mountains in the distance help guide you, but you will often take wrong turns or find a new trail and that is all part of the fun. It’s all in a relatively small area, but you have to “let go” to have fun there…
The other aspect about this (including this place) are the places that have many unmarked trails. Often these are fun and unique trails that take either local knowledge, or a sense of adventure to ride. I can’t count how many times here and other places like Flagstaff and Seattle where I just took something that “looked good” and didn’t worry about the outcome, as in it would probably be fine, even though I had no prior knowledge of the trail. Lots of cool stuff to experience that you wouldn’t otherwise.
 

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Single Track Mind
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Knowing I have a GPS with me gives me the confidence to get lost more often. I especially like to take the gravel bike out and see where random roads go; though, more often than not they end up at a "No Trespassing" sign. We don't have a lot of public land around here and the landowners are not usually very friendly when they come across me.
 

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I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been lost over the last 27 years here in the Southwest. Even with maps and a defined route my buddies whom were right behind me a moment ago would take a wrong turn, me too. Sometimes some of the best adventures are when you're lost, sometimes not so much. I've learned to be prepared for that; extra water, goo, snacks, and enough tools to get me back to the parking area.
 

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Is there some particular virtue in getting lost?

Does it heighten the mountain biking experience to not know where you are on a map? Is that more exciting than discovering a great new trail because you used Trailforks? To see a new-to-you trail and follow it deliberately, rather than stumbling upon it via serendipity?

As I recall, Christopher McCandless deliberately became lost because he wanted to imagine himself in a vast, uncharted wilderness; his naive, romanticized version of Alaska. He was in fact in very-charted territory and a simple map would have got him across that flooded river instead of suffering and dying miserably in a well-used hunting camp.

Maybe you just miss the days when you had big swathes of uninterrupted time and the world seemed bigger than it does now and getting lost wasn't consequential?
 
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