Life Lessons I've Learned from Riding Trails: Part 3

I hope you aren't tired of hearing about trails! This is the last part of the series on the things that years of riding has taught me, and it has the most important lessons. (Read Part 1 and Part 2).



Just over a week ago, my husband, Shawn, had an accident with our UTV (side-by-side). I had stayed back at the camper with the dogs for a day of rest, but he had a friend in the passenger seat.

Shawn was attempting to cross a wide, deep crack on the trail, and when the machine began to tip over, he was unable to save it by applying gas (a common strategy). He ended up spinning around and landing on the UTV's right side, pinning the passenger's arm between the ground and the door.

This set off a chain of events that seemed like a series of divine doorways, perfectly aligned for optimal outcomes.

  • Immediately, other riders who were passing by came to assist and swiftly righted the vehicle. This was especially fortunate because trails don't often have a lot of traffic.
  • An off-duty EMT was one of those helpers, and he was able to set our friend's broken arm expertly. The hospital said it prepared his arm completely for surgery.
  • Another man on scene had a satellite phone to call to Search and Rescue, a blessing in an area with no regular cell service.
  • And when the helicopter was not available, our crew of friends and family banded together to get the injured person to the ambulance at the end of the trail. 
  • At the hospital, our friend underwent a successful surgery with a veteran doctor who happened to be within a day of leaving for vacation. Had he not been there, our friend would have had to be sent to a larger hospital out of state.
  • And to top it all off, we have accident insurance that will help with the medical expenses, removing a large financial burden.

Shawn was able to walk away with a few scrapes and bruises, and our machine only had minor damage that did not affect its operation. 


Of course my mind started going through What if scenarios, wondering how I would have fared had I been in the passenger seat or what would have happened to our dogs in the accident. But after a day off to recount, recover and repair, we got back on the proverbial horse and went for another ride.

This story encompasses the last two trail lessons perfectly, and it magnifies the significance they can have in our lives.

15. There are dangers and risks that come with riding trails. Life is never risk-free, and each path you take or choice you make can lead to physical, emotional, or mental injury.

16Trails can bring fear and doubt, but they also bring an abundance of joy and elation. If you let the fear and doubt take the lead, you'll often miss out on some of the best paths. However, if you embrace and savor the joy and elation in life, the dark parts can be managed, balanced, and overcome. This is why I ride, and it mirrors how I try to live my life.

Accidents rarely happen with our riding crew. We have experienced and sensible drivers whose skills and cooperation help get everyone back unharmed. But even that doesn't guarantee a safe return. We all understand the risks involved, yet we choose to welcome the adventure and ride.

Which will you choose - fear or joy?

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Some doorways from this week:

  • When in Moab, we visited Canyonlands National Park and stopped at several points overlooking the land below. I was amazed at the beauty that the erosion has made over millions of years.

  • We typically take our dogs with us when we go riding, and at one trailhead last week, a man approached us with a request. His dog had recently passed away, and he wanted to "say hi" to ours. Nita and Riley were happy to give some much needed puppy love to this man in need.

  • When riding in the side-by-side for the first time since Shawn's accident, I felt a calm sense of peace envelop me and the joy of the ride was beautiful.

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