Monday, October 24, 2011

Short Trip

I parked at the trail head where I would exit the canyon and started cross country to the point where I would enter the canyon. It was about eleven o'clock and I had about two and one-half miles to go to get to the rim. My plan was to get to the rim, take a break, eat lunch and then begin the descent. I was walking fast using a compass to navigate and wading through brush when I hooked my rear foot on something. I couldn't catch my balance in time and fell.

I extended my arms to catch myself and came down on my hands and knees. My stomach was above some broken branches and I had the thought "I'm glad I didn't impale myself on them". (Now I find that thought amusing.) As I pushed myself up I realized something was holding my left forearm. I had caught a pointed dead limb at the right angle to force it about three inches into my arm.

I bandaged my arm and debated what to do. In the end I thought I would go back to the car, wash my arm using some extra water that I had left in the car, unwrap my arm to see if the bleeding had stopped and then decide whether to continue my trip or drive to the clinic at Grand Canyon Village.

When I unwrapped my arm about an hour later it started bleeding again and I began considering the risk of infection. I created plan two: drive to the clinic (which would take a little over an hour), get the wound treated (hopefully within an hour), drive back to the trail head (another hour plus) and enter the canyon at that point rather than my original entry point.

I was in the clinic almost three hours. Paperwork up front, make a couple attempts to call to get my insurance number because I had intentionally left the card at home since I wouldn't need it, get the wound washed and irrigated, wait on a doctor, get xrays of the arm, get a steri-strip and bandage. I expected a couple stitches but the decision was to leave the wound open in case of an abscess.

By the time I got out I was starving and thirsty since I had missed lunch. I chose not to continue the trip because I couldn't eat and get back to the trail head before dark. I considered starting the next morning but I would been one day behind and wasn't sure I could make up for a lost day.

In the end I chose to head home and work on the greenhouse I'm building. I was able to phone Julie in Amarillo each morning, afternoon and evening. I made good progress on the construction and I read a book during the week then started a second book. I had a good week.

Todd, my hiking partner, and I have discussed doing the same trip next spring using a third entry point into the canyon. I'm determined to do this trip.








Blogger Buffalo said...


10/25/2011 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Tim Hodgens said...


I guess we could say you had a dance with Fate.

Be well. You're important.


10/25/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Ouch. There is a certain risk to traveling alone, and I hope you won't try it again.

10/25/2011 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

Gross! Damn I'm glad it wasn't any worse! I had a slightly bad feeling when you told us you were going out alone. You, my friend, need to be glad I didn't have a REALLY bad feeling.......

10/25/2011 06:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Lani said...

I love the determination and the cool, collected thinking. I think that type of calmness is what makes solo trips work. Of course I agree that traveling alone is a much larger risk and we don't want those we care about to be in a terrible situation, however, I think some people really enjoy solo trips and, if they are going to do it, your calm and rational spirit as well as your ability to adapt to situations are exactly what is needed to make such a thing possible.

10/27/2011 05:47:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home