I’m broken. Since early March, I have taped my left knee daily. Going up stairs requires great concentration to avoid a blow out. My weekly climbing session has devolved into me pretending that I don’t have a left leg, or at least a left leg that is capable of straightening.
My friend is broken. In late February, he was with me and a group of friends on a ski trip. Near the end of the day after most of us said we were done, he opted for a few more runs down the now icy slopes. Skiing in control, a bunch of rambunctious young adults plowed into him from behind. He flipped head over heels, resulting in a complete yard sale. His one ski was 50 feet up the hill; his other ski was 10 feet down the hill. He was alone on a deserted ski run. The pack of kids had not stopped to see if he was OK. Ski patrol would not be by for up to an hour. All he knew was that he hurt, and there was no one to help him.
Sucking it up like the stoic northerner he is, he slowly assembled his gear, skied down to the lift, and rejoined us in the chalet. We instantly knew something was wrong by the way his right arm was dangling limply by his side. Long story short, he broke his clavicle in three places. After surgery, he now has a metal plate and 8 screws mounted permanently in his body. He currently has no use of his right shoulder.
We make a great pair. I have limited functionality of my left leg, and he has limited functionality of his right arm. But why should that get in the way of us enjoying the outdoors? Just today, I reserved a permit for us to canoe the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness this summer. We are still going to go and have a great trip.
Yes, we did scale the trip back slightly. Instead of the original route we wanted that required that we carry all of our gear and the canoes across a 1.5 mile portage, we picked a different entry point that provides access to many of the same lakes without portaging 1.5 miles. Instead of having an even number of people and 2 people per boat, we have an odd number of people and will rent a 3-man canoe. That way, if my broken friend can’t paddle, he can sit in the middle and be the official trip photographer. We are also packing lightly, trying to limit our gear to what we can fit in 3 portage packs. That way, if he can’t carry anything, the other 4 people should easily be able to portage the 2 canoes and 3 packs.
We ARE going to the Boundary Waters, and we will have fun, despite our brokenness.
Additionally, I have reservations for a backpacking campsite in two weeks. Last time I camped there, my husband and I hiked 5 miles with our backpacks before arriving at camp. This time, we will take the more direct route that has only a 1 mile hike to the campsite. Another change I am making is that I am limiting my load to less than 30 lbs. I believe my knee should be able to handle that. We invited my broken friend to join us, offering to carry his stuff for him.
Just because we are broken doesn’t mean that we need to stay inside. We are planning the trips we want to take, and modifying them accordingly. Maybe next year we will tackle that 1.5 mile portage. This year, we will enjoy a more laid back journey.
How can you work around your restrictions this summer and still enjoy the outdoors? Let me know in the comments.
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