“Gravity is a contributing factor in nearly 73 percent of all accidents involving falling objects.” Dave Barry

It was bound to happen. Especially on one of the most pristinely beautiful hiking days one could ever ask for!  I slipped on some wet rocks and fell – hard – on my knee and had to hobble down two more miles on it.  But there were definitely lessons learned.

holey-tree

For those of you who have found me through channels other than Twitter, (thank you for reading wherever you hail from!) my moniker there is @SuuperG.  Also through this same social medium, I have teamed up with some amazing and diverse fellow Twitter-ers to climb Mera peak in the Himalayas as a fundraiser for Charity Water next spring.  For more details about this upcoming adventure and worthy cause, follow this link.  For this reason, you may be seeing more and more documentation blogs of my trials and exploits in pursuit of conditioning and prepping for this challenging trek. Here, I present you with a small setback :-}

Today I was hitting the trails with another hiking partner of late, Kathy, and because it was hot and we were considering going farther than the usual five or six miles, I took my smaller backpack and loaded it with lots of water, some snacks and only a few other items, like my camera and chap stick.  I remember looking at my big “fully loaded” backpack as we left my house, saying “I feel like there are things in there I might need”.  But, I shook off the feeling and we set out on the most glorious, clear, sunny but-not-hot SoCal day.

spider-on-dandelion

Spider on a Dandelion

We both felt really good and strong and after we got to the “saddle” junction, 2.5 miles up, we made our way down the other side of the mountain ridge, two more miles to Willow Creek where we had a refreshing (and achingly cold!) toe dip and munched down peanut butter and honey sandwiches. What? Hey, when you hike, the rules say you’re allowed to eat whatever the heck you want.  So there!

sitting-by-willow-creek-idyllwild-california

Lunch spot by Willow Creek - pre-knee crunch

We donned our packs and headed out, feeling invigorated and as strong as when we started.  We had 4.5 miles to get back, making a nine mile trek and we began talking more seriously about planning and tackling longer, more challenging hikes to the peaks in our ‘hood.  In fact, when we had two more miles to get down, I was remarking how strong and fit I felt after a pretty strenuous hike and I swear I had a spring in my ste – whoops!  I slipped off a wet rock and rather than help me stabilize, my trekking poles seemed to get tangled and I went down HARD – ripping my really cute hiking pants! – as well as a hole in my knee and ankle and jarring my pinky, which was caught in the poles. I was laying there in the mud of a small stream trying not to cuss – or rather not verbalizing the profanity that was running through my head – and tapped the floor in a silly attempt to chase the pain away…like shooing away bad spirits!

So this was my first bad hiking fall.  I was pretty certain nothing was broken, but knees are funny contraptions; they don’t like to operate when swollen and bruised.   We thankfully had some cold water to clean me (not my muddy butt and legs, mind you, but the knee) and Kathy – now nicknamed Special K :D – produced a nice hefty bandage as well as two Advil she authoritatively prescribed for me to take, knowing that for the way down, I was going to need some doping.

twisted-fallen-snag-in-the-forest

Still Life

So it’s now the hiking team of Suuper G and Special K, overcoming challenges on the trails! If I had to apply a moniker to my other treasured hiking pal, Gretchen,  it would be Feisty G.

So, remember when I mentioned all of the goodies I keep in my main, large backpack? Yeah. The one I left behind.  Well, I was remembering that I had a heavy-duty knee brace in there. Sighhhh…that would have been so very nice.  My main concern was not avoiding pain, but minimizing further possible tendon and ligament and whatever-else-is-inside-there damage as I continued walking on it – and down!  Anyone who hikes knows that injured knees scoff at going down…something about bending!  I was thankful at this time that my pinky was sprained so the throbbing took away some attention from my lower joints.  That backpack also housed wind pants and a light shell for unpredictable weather and of course some previously non-existent clouds were starting to roll in overhead. It stayed warm, thankfully!

ripped-pants

Carnage - lol - sorry it's blurry. No re-enactments!

We made a make-shift support by soaking one of those gel-filled neck cooler thingies (I think that’s a brand name) and tying it tightly around my knee and refreshed it with icy cold water from streams on the way down.  Again, Special K thought of this and I was uber grateful!  We made it down finally – as is evidenced by this post – and it was a tedious business.  I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep the night before or the two Advils, or a combination,  but I was getting a bit foggy and fatigued at being so tentative with every step for a long distance and my mental energy was waning.  I found that curious, and worrisome as I reeeaally didn’t want to trip again.  Has anyone else ever had a similar effect or experience with an injury?

“I learn something every time I go into the mountains.” Michael Kennedy

The boy scout moral of this story is; be prepared.  You really don’t know what you’ll encounter on a trail and the one time you cut corners and break your own rules is precisely when you could have benefited from them!

Can the Suuper part of me declare that it was still an awesome day?  ‘Cause it was…and my main hope and goal in healing this angry joint is to get back on those boundless and bountiful trails.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also tolerate: Hiking Stats: A Walk in the Park (State Park!) and Hiking Stats: Nature Makes Me a Fool

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Helene June 27, 2010 at 7:47 am

Oh NO!!! hope you're feeling better and it just ends up being a bad bruise…lots of hugs for you and your knee my dear!

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gitanablog June 27, 2010 at 6:11 pm

I went to sleep with an ice pack on it :} I didn't wrench it in any direction, more like slammed down on it so I'm thinking if I take it really easy, it will come back to me! lol :) Thanks for visiting and commenting dear one! Hugggs and smooches! xoxoxoxo Gina

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@TheTop10Blog June 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Gina, I am in shock, I may have to do a Top 10 Hiking Injuries and feature your photo at Numero Uno!!

As we Geordies would say 'Gan Canny next time Lass'

Take care

Tony

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gitanablog June 28, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Tennnyyy! Hi. Always nice to see you taking a stroll through my blog! Too bad I didn't have a compound fracture with shattered splintered bone protruding…THAT would have landed me at #1! ;-) OK, so please enlighten me as to what, exactly, is a "Geordie" and what, pray tell, does "Gan Canny next time, Lass" mean? I mean, I get the "next time Lass" part, but the rest escapes me! Thanks for visiting :) I need to saunter through your awesome bloggy top-tenny site soon as well (that is a threat). Cheers and cheerio my friend! *huugggs* G

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Tony Hastings July 1, 2010 at 11:53 am

A Geordie is someone from Newcastle in the North East of England, a proud and rugged race with a language all of our own, I just talk posh when I am on Twitter! Gan Canny? Translates as go carefully.

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gitanablog July 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Tenny, a "proud and rugged race.." …? Are you going all "Outlander" on me? lol I love that talk posh on Twitter. I shall endeavor to appear convinced ;-) Always lovely to see you grace my blog. Have a stellar weekend ya beastly northern chap! Cheers and hugs – G

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@URKidnRite June 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Ouch.

I think we'll have no more injuries during your training for #TeamMera, ok? I rely on you for my imaginary fitness routine of cyber-exercise. Now my knee hurts.

Such a bummer to hear of the fall. Glad to hear it's probably just bruised & needing some down time.

It's interesting to note those nagging feelings of "I probably need…." before any excursion. I'd never leave for any event / trip / outing if I listened to all of the nags my mind gives me. I usually just say "yep, I'm sure there's something important I'm forgetting, but I'll probably make do, or buy it there if it's critical. Too bad they don't put drug stores up in the mountain trails, huh? Sometimes those nagging messages are right, which just makes it that much more frustrating / naggy.

Kid

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gitanablog July 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Heyyyy Kid! Thanks for your awesome comments, as usual :) Yes, I think that is a GOOD plan to incur no more injuries during training or even during recreation leading up to my big trek ;) You couldn't be more right; in the idea of never leaving if we listened to nagging thoughts, the brilliant idea of a high altitude emergency pharmacy, AND the fact that it kinda sucks when those nagging voices are right. Grumble grumble – lol. Thanks again for reading and truly "reading" me…I don't feel as aimless when you comment! ;-) The knee is healing well, thanks. Be well! Huugggs – G

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Angel July 1, 2010 at 12:17 am

WOW ! That blog post ia almost a comedic short story ! Suuper G and Special K, sounds like you guys need a show on the Travel Channel ! Sorry to hear about your injury….yes, isn't it funny how "instinct" is never wrong. You looked back at the bigger backpack before leaving for a reason I guess.

Hope the knee is healing, and I guess this is just the beginning of training for the Big Climb…..no one accomplishes the big things in life without some battle scars (?) Keep up the good work, looking forward to your posts as you continue training.

Angel

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gitanablog July 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Thanks so much, Angel, for popping in to read my blog and my adventures as well as misadventures! ;) True about battle scars…and that our most poignant lessons are built into them. I look at this as a near miss…it's a badly bruised knee but it seems to be functioning in it's required task. Perhaps I needed to suffer this fall to rattle me about using care and not only training my body but preserving its "intactness" for the big day next year! Thank you, again for your encouraging comments. It's a pleasure to connect with you :) Cheers and hugs, Gina

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The Dirty1 July 2, 2010 at 9:05 pm

There's nothing like a minor(ish) injury to make you appreciate just what your body can do for you, is there? :o p Good to hear that K was able to bring you some comfort and get you off the mountain as quickly as possible, although having a slight fug going on from the Advil probably made it a little more bearable in the end. Hehe Still if I may be so bold as to say, give it PLENTY of rest, elevation and cold compress, and you should be good as new soon enough. Just remember to pack the supports for next time… ;o)

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gitanablog July 5, 2010 at 1:05 am

Hi…ummm…dirty one – lol. Thanks for your visit and for your "prescription"! I am properly humbled into taking better care next time out :) My body is iron clad and I am grateful, but I should definitely not take it for granted and be negligent in the proper care and feeding. Special K and I plan on a goodly hike this week. There will be a knee brace with me I can assure you! Thanks again for reading me :) Cheers, G

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goldeneagle July 12, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Aaaaw. Sorry about all ur injuries. I was a Navy medic, among other things(so you _know i woulda' carried ya home) where we learned to make due with what was @ us. In other words- KEEP SPECIAL K @ ! This sentence is the only important one here->Don't overdo it the next many days…you'll be sorrry. Ok, back to my blog practice…sit down! I have 3 points that bother me. #1*"Get out of my way giant pack, I'm too lazy to carry you both ways"! 2*"It' s sooo hot we should go an extra(strenuous) mile"(HUUUGH?)! 3*"Look at me(boasting OUT LOUD even)I am so fit and agile I am going to belly dance over that(dangerous) rope bridge"(ok, I stretched a bit there for personal reasons, aheem!)! This reminds me of a long joke(sit!). There was this guy in his house during a super heavy rain. His neighborhood was flooding so he went upstairs. A canoe came by and asked him if he needed help(1*) "No I have faith in God, I'll be fine. Later as the water continued to rise he had to get out onto the roof! A boat came by and the owner said to get in! "No, I'll be ok. God is looking out for me.(2*) As you may have guessed the water rose further washing him into a small oak tree. Soon a helicopter came by(you get the idea, long-story-short…)he drowned and finds himself talking to St. Peter at the gates to Heaven. "Who do you think sent the 1.canoe, 2.the boat, and 3. the helicopter? Dummy! My point is…could you please do a belly dancing video, put it in ur safe dep. box, and list it to me in your will(before you kill yourself)! : ))

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gitanablog July 13, 2010 at 5:26 pm

LOL you're killing me!…and I haven't yet created a safe deposit box with said requested video! :P Thanks so much for reading and yes, even for chastising me! And WHO is boasting about fitness, carrying a full-size grown up woman with hiking boots 2 miles?!?! Hmmm? haha touche! Thanks for the giggles. Cheers, Gina :)

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