Monday, June 14, 2010

Injury On the Trail!

May 17: I took my time getting out of Big Bear. I wasn't in any particular rush, so I watched the Early Show. (I decided I liked the Today show better, but I was open minded enough to try something new.) Eventually I got my pack together and started walking to the post office a mile or two away.

I didn't want to take my chances trying to hitch a ride back to the trailhead, so I used my cell phone to arrange for a ride from Lee, who offered rides to the trailhead for $5/person. I ended up paying him $10 since he had a $10 minimum, but it was well worth it in my opinion. =) He told me he'd pick me up at the post office and that he'd be driving the big yellow truck. "You can't miss it."

Indeed--you'd have to have been blind to miss it. It was honking huge, a monster able to tackle the roughest of 4WD roads, in brilliant yellow that you could probably see from space on a clear day. Lee dropped me off at the trailhead five or six miles out of town, and I started hiking.

I hiked passed a garbage dump. The scenery you see on the trail is sometimes amazing. Sometimes, it's not. =)

I didn't see many hikers for the most part, though. It was largely a day of hiking alone contemplating the meaning of life. Two sisters who are thru-hiking passed me hiking southbound--slackpacking for the day. I passed a group of a dozen or so kids laid out--perhaps a church group or something?--but they didn't seem especially talkative so I didn't get their story. A group of three day hikers going southbound seemed amazed to meet a thru-hiker and were fascinated by my hike, wishing me up, but nothing particularly noteworthy there either.

Late in the afternoon I finally caught up with a thru-hiker going in my direction. Wide Angle, from Germany, took a wrong turn on the trail losing a half hour walking in the wrong direction, which is the only reason I even caught up to him.

Even later in the afternoon, I met up with another couple of thru-hikers--Green Hornet and his son. (Alas, I've forgotten the son's name--Green Hornet was the talkative one.) They planned to hike to Little Bear Camp, which they thought was two or three miles further down the trail, but I sadly informed them that I thought it was a good seven or more miles away. I didn't think it likely they would make that campsite that night. Green Hornet's son seemed to be hurting pretty bad. I wished them luck, however, and planned to hike to the camp myself in any case. =)

The last part of the trail had been there a severe wildfire, which allowed for wonderful views far in the distance. And frankly, I was getting a little bored during the hike today. I started poking my trekking pole at burnt-out stumps and logs, chipping off pieces of ash and watching them fly through the air along the way. And late in the afternoon, when I was most tired and anxious to stop for the night, I did that one too many times. I lost my balance--just a little bit--but it was enough to throw my step off and twist an ankle. Hard.

"ARGHHH!" I stumbled, but caught myself before actually falling onto the ground. (Catching myself, ironically, with the trekking pole that was partially responsible for my losing my balance in the first place.)

A flash of pain shot up my leg, and I knew I'd be feeling this sprain for quite some time. I kept walking, limping severely at first, which grew to a more subtle limp after several minutes. It certainly wasn't bad enough to take me off the trail, but it would make hiking the next several days distinctly more unpleasant. Yeah, I know you were all hoping for a juicier injury story, but not every day is an adventure. I am, however, blogging about every single day. =) You get what happens, and some days are just dull....

I limped on another mile or so, setting up camp just past Little Bear Camp. The weather forecast called for strong winds and a 30% chance of rain, so the camp seemed a little more exposed that I preferred, and instead set up camp just past it, in the protection of some trees, on a nice layer of pine needles.


Okie Dog said...

Ryan, that last picture is Awesome!!!! The cloud bank, beautiful. Your cover photo next calendar, please.

GreenJello said...

I feel your pain. I hate sprained ankles. :(

Anonymous said...

I am adding you to my prayer list. I know how quickly an injury can happen on the trail. I was the contact person for my ex-husband while he thru hiked the AT (still great friiends) and kept all his drops on time at the general deliveries. Of all his stories, I always loved the ones about "trail magic"! Be safe I've got you covered in prayer now. Furface

Lynn said...

Holey Mackerel and Sandlapper are your AQ cheerleaders! Thanks for inspiring us to challenge ourselves.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You always have to pay attention while hiking. The times I've let my mind wander too much or get too side tracked by views...while still trying to when I've stumbled.

Those last two photos are frame worthy.

Hike On!
~Twinville Trekkers