One of the most challenging aspects for me of riding a four wheeler in the Wyoming mountains was the unpredictability of the trail. It could change from a gravel road to a dirt path to a very rocky terrain in a matter of seconds.
Often I found myself, when the trail was fairly smooth, getting a little cocky, settling in and taking in the beautiful scenery a second or two too long. One second I would be looking at a beautiful flowered covered landscape and the next I would be bouncing up and down, adrenalin pumping as I forgot to trust the machine to get me to stay on the trail.
There were many times when the trail was smooth where the tires rolled, but in-between there would be deep ruts. If I wasn't paying close attention and feeling too comfortable in the smooth ride, I found myself trying to maneuver out of the rut. It was a constant balancing act, staying out of the rut.
Ruts are so easy to get into and even harder sometimes to get out of. Several times on the ATV trails of Wyoming, I'd be quickly trapped in a rut and feel like I was going to tip over and the machine fall on top of me.
The last night we rode though, I was feeling pretty confident. I had gotten used to my machine and felt I knew what I was doing. The scenery against the setting sun was beautiful, and I was enjoying the view while thinking about where we were headed to end our week of riding. The first full day riding I had crossed a creek bed at a baby snail's pace. On the night before our last day I had made the announcement to Cody's mom and dad and hubs that I was going to ride through that creek fast enough to get wet.
We were on our way to do just that and I was daydreaming about it all the way there.
There were some pretty good bumps and I had even gotten sassy enough to gun the engine going over them and "getting some air." But there was this bump that I saw in a distance. It was between the smooth trail I was on and an unseen rutted trail on the other side. Because I was too full of myself and daydreaming, I didn't take into account what may be on the other side when I landed. Overconfidence hid from my mind the possibility of what a rut could do.
I only envisioned the air I would make between the trail and my machine as it flew over the bump.
Well, I lived to tell the story, the machine and I both stayed upright, but when I hit that rut I was going too fast to maintain control on the trail and get out of the rut at the same time and drove off into a field of sage instead.
Ruts are like that. We get in them without knowing they are there. Or we don't anticipate them and even forget the possibility they are still lurking. We are living out our confident faith life, stepping out and doing and living in ways we hadn't even imagined when we started trusting the Machine to take us through and then BOOM! Out from nowhere lies a rut to throw us off our course.
Walking in faith means balancing the ruts you were in before you started walking in faith. The potential to fall into a rut is always there. Even in the newest and most unchartered trails, ruts are formed when the pattern remains unchained and the wheels keep going over the same surface again and again.
Some of the ruts I balanced on an ATV were disguised by pretty grasses and flowers. I thought I was on even, smooth ground....Until a moose or a mule deer or a pretty mountain caught my eye. Then, before I knew it, the pretty flowers or grass did not have the strength to hold up me or my machine. They gave out and gave up on me. The ruts didn't always support me when I needed it. In fact, they could have hurt me several times if I wasn't keeping my eye out for them.
So, watch out for ruts and keep your wheels out of them. Enjoy the scenery, but don't depend on the rut to carry you over the mountain.
(No, I didn't ride on these rocks, but I'm told there are trails that go over rocks like these).