Google Maps Doesn’t Understand Forest Service Road

The weekend started out simple enough.

We made a trip to Springer Mountain this weekend and drove up to the trailhead to check out the road conditions and do some hiking in the area. It was raining on Saturday but that was OK; we hiked in the rain and had a good day. Sunday we decided to drive up to the trailhead viaForest Service Roads 28 and 42, which was how Google directed us to go. As expected is was a dirt road with rocks and potholes but drivable and in better shape than I expected after all the rain lately.

Things Get Interesting

We drive back out the way we came in all the way back to the paved roads.So we did what most of us do: we asked Google Maps which way was the fastest way to go home. It started out OK until literally we came to where the pavement ended. We continued to trust Google and headed forward into the unknown. As we went the road got rougher and more narrow but onward we went as now it was too narrow to turn around. In retrospect my first clue should have been the worried looks I was getting from the 4×4 passing me going the other way.

After a few careful miles of rough dirt road we came to a side area in the road where the road crosses the Approach Trail. Just ahead the road looked a little rougher but despite the fact that we had room to turn around and go back the way we came we did not. There comes a time when you make a questionable decision when you realize what you have gotten into but you can’t go back. This is where we soon found ourselves. Every few hundred feet I would have to stop so we could plan out how to cross the next obstacle. There were times I was not sure we were going to make it. All told it took us 1 1/2 hours to come 10 miles!

Moral of the Story

When in the vicinity of Forest Service roads don’t blindly trust Google Maps because it just doesn’t understand that in this case “road” is more like wide trail. I have a decent amount of practice on similar roads but was not in a car that was made for that kind of driving and had I got stuck it would definitely had made for a very bad day. I was so busy trying to drive that didn’t even think to take pictures of the road once it really got bad.

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