The Transylvania Times -

For A Real Connection, Disconnect From Technology


June 26, 2017

Courtesy Photo

Reading a map is an essential skill to master before exploring the trails and waterfalls in Transylvania County. It's important to know how to orient yourself before heading out.

The other day I wanted to get away from it all, so I headed out N.C. 215 on a road ride and on to Tanassee Gap Road to find the road less traveled. I was pleasantly reminded that we have some amazing countryside here in Transylvania County. And since it's constantly changing with the seasons, you never get the same view twice. Growing up here, I have stumbled upon many nooks and lots of crannies, all of them beautiful in their own way. I'm out riding so much that I sometimes begin to think that I've seen everything that Pisgah has to offer. There can't possibly be anything left to discover. But then, every once and while, I happen upon a new spot. The forest still has her secrets. And the only way to find them is to get lost.

The trouble is, technology makes it nearly impossible to get lost these days. If you want to get lost, if you want the chance to stumble upon the unexpected and the surprising, you have to go old school.

I love just opening a map to look the possibilities, unfolding it, seeing how everything connects, getting the big picture. You can't get that experience on an app.

When DuPont first opened, I used to ride around for hours, checking out the trails. Basically getting lost. Then, just as things started to get a little dark and slightly uncomfortable, I would pull out my DuPont map and figure my way back to where I started. I found some of my favorite spots that way.

We have so much to offer in this town as far as places to explore and this is the perfect time of year to venture off the beaten track. Long days, nice temps, and good fitness. Let's stop over-planning our next ride. Put the phone down and disconnect. Go down the road and see where it pops out. Worst-case scenario, it dead-ends and you have to backtrack. I can think of much worse ways to spend a day.

So here is my disclaimer: carry a map, because phones die and don't always get reception. Don't explore farther than you can pedal/walk might end up at a dead end. Respect private property, and stay on legal trails.

Our lives are complicated these days. We require day planners and calendars on our phones that remind us when and where to be. We schedule our lives and the lives of kids down to the minute. We sometimes even brag about how busy we are and how much we have to do.

With how complicated life is, sometimes it's just wicked fun to go out on an unplanned, unscheduled adventure. The only thing you really need to know is that you are about go on an adventure with some food, a map and cash in your back pocket. So call some friends and tell them that you want to go for a ride. When they ask, 'Where are we going and when are we going to get back?' shrug your shoulders and tell them that you don't know. You won't regret it. The bond and stories you gain will be priceless.

When I was younger, it was much easier to get lost and just roll with it. We had no place better to be than right where we were. Technology does keep us safer and it does make things easier, but it has made us dependent on being all knowing. Sometimes I don't want to know. I just want to find out in due time.

(Dickson is the owner of Sycamore Cycles, and has been getting lost in the woods before GPS was a thing.)


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