We got to the bottom of the run right after the lift stopped running.

I looked over at my brother Ben through my goggles and then looked up at the mountain we just rode down.

I did not want to unstrap and hike all the way up there. So I looked around and saw an “out of bounds” rope to our left in front of a forested area.

I “knew” the lodge was in that direction, so I said, “Hey Ben, let’s take a shortcut through the woods. If we ride down that way we should pop out right by the lodge.”

So we ducked under the rope and headed out.

After about 10 minutes of riding through the woods I started to get a little concerned we may be off track. But we just kept going. We crossed a couple frozen creeks and it started snowing hard.

After about 30 minutes we finally came out on a little trail. We unstrapped and walked that trail for over an hour until it got dark. It had been snowing the whole time so our tracks were covered.

A few more hours went by as we walked and walked and walked. We would take a break about every 15 minutes and each time we just wanted to take a little nap in the snow but I would tell Ben we had to keep moving.

It wasn’t until it got really dark and we had no idea where we were that I finally had the thought of, Oh, hey we should pray! So I told my brother we should pray and ask God for help.

We got down on our knees and I asked God to help us get off this mountain. Nothing crazy happened. And we just stood up and walked a little more.

But it wasn’t even five minutes later that we saw big wooden snow-covered signpost. We followed the arrow that pointed to Highway 26 and soon enough we came out on the highway that led up to Timberline.

As soon as we did we saw a police car driving our way up the road. He was a sheriff and he had heard about the “two lost snowboarders” on Mt. Hood on the radio. Apparently the search team was out looking for us.

He took us back to the lodge where we were reunited with my other brother and our friends. Everyone was glad we were safe.

So why do I share that story?

Because I learned a valuable lesson that day (a few actually). But one of them is that “shortcuts” are not usually shortcuts at all.

Sometimes we try to take shortcuts in life and end up further away from our goal then if we would have just take the obvious, but more difficult, path.

If we would have just walked back up that run instead of taking the “shortcut” through the woods we would have never gotten lost. Sure, it would have probably taken us an hour or more to walk up there and we would have been exhausted. But at least we would have known where we were the entire time.

With “shortcuts” you never know where you may end up.

Think about writing. I would love to skip the “formative years” and just become a successful writer right away. I don’t want to have to post 1,000 blog posts before I finally hit my stride. I want to hit my stride NOW.

But that’s not how it works, does it?

Sometimes you just need to show up every day and do the hard work. That’s the secret to success, right?