Risk's Ultralight Hiking

The skills involved in setting up a light backpack serve well for both hiking and touring. Learning what is really necessary and then finding high quality gear that meets my honest needs leads to much less carried and more fun. I hope this journal is as much fun to read as it is to write.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Foiled in the 100 Mile Wilderness

It's been 10 days and I am beginning to feel OK about it.

On Monday, July 3rd, I left Dayton and drove to central Maine. In the back of the pick-up was my GS450, strapped in and ready to roll.

I dropped the truck off on Tuesday morning at Abol Bridge in the shadow of Mt Kathadin and drove my bike 90 miles to Monson, Maine. I arranged to keep the bike there for about a week and entered the 100 mile wilderness, headed north with 6 days of food.

It rained on my trip down to Monson, hard thunder storms with lots of lightning. It dried out for a bit in Monson, but began sprinkling sometime after 6 PM and rained on and off until I reached the Wilson Stream lean-to at dark.

The night of the 4th was brilliant with the Creator's own fireworks, and I enjoyed them very much with about 8 others at the shelter.

The next morning, I set off for about 15 miles of hiking in the wet woods. I was a little disgrunteld that the trails had not been recently maintained and the bushes on both sides of the trail crossed and linked branches, giving only scant views of the roots and puddles on the trail.

About 4 miles into the day's walk, I fell down a 10 foot boulder and heard a bone in my left leg crack. That was not good.

It hurt too.

I unbent all my legs and found that there were no bones sticking out through the skin. That was great news. THe ankle was not badly strained and when I tried to put weight on my leg, I could limp pretty well. I had to be very careful with each step, because the outside of the leg, where my fibula is, was very tender and I could feel some movement of bones in that lateral part of the leg.

I walked about 2 miles to a cross connecting gravel road that showed on the AT map, and which connected with a road that headed back to Monson. I walked about 3 miles on that gravel road and was able to get a ride back the rest of the way to Monson.

Though things hurt pretty well, I was able to ride the bike and return to Abol Bridge and then (because the truck is an automatic) I was able to drive. I drove to Augusta
that evening and get a motel room and a very long day of driving on Thursday got me back to Dayton in time to watch the midnight news.

The next morning I went to the hospital and the xray showed an isolated spiral fracture of the fibula. The mechanism of my injury was likely that while I was falling, my foot turned out and then my knee rode up and over the foot, twisting the ankle like a twistie tie. My knee hurt some as well, but all the injury to the knee seemed to be involved with the exterior ligaments on the medial side of the left knee.

I was able to persuade the docs to give me a brace instead of a cast and here 10 days later the fracture is beginning to feel OK. It has sure ached a lot in the meantime.

I am looking forward to getting back on the bike in a week or so and back to hiking in about a month.

Such is life....


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