This past weekend I went on a hiking and camping trip in northern PA at Hickory Run State Park. I took my fitness outside. I love hiking and camping. I couldn’t wait to go. We arrived on Friday morning and promptly set up camp, this being done we laid out the maps and picked our first trail. My guy, my dog, and me … happiness. We hiked over gnarly trails and saw beautiful waterfalls. On a narrow single track it happened. I tripped and fell, hard. It could’ve been much worse, but I knew it was bad immediately. As I fell I had protected my face from the oncoming rock with my hand. I watched, felt, and heard my finger snap. I knew it was broken from the second it happened. Yes, I cried. Yes, I rolled around on the rocky ground like a turtle. Yes, he had to help me calm down enough to let go of said finger and assess it. Once I saw it was still intact I gathered myself up and said, “ok, let’s finish this hike”. We hiked to the end of the aptly named Shades of Death trail and I calmly walked into the ranger station. I looked at Gretchen and said I fell and broke my finger, no please don’t call anyone I’m a nurse. I have meds at the campground what I don’t have is splinting supplies. May I please get something to splint my finger? Gretchen was wonderful and found ice cream cup sticks that fit perfectly. I splinted my finger and then swallowed my ego and accepted a ride back to the campground from the park ranger. Having traveled with my own chef I ate a glorious steak dinner that night, having had to ask for help to cut my meat. Those of you that know me well know how asking for help is not my strong point. Please feel free to picture me with a bum hand having my steak cut up for me and laugh. It was funny.
You’d think man what a story for the trip, but nope it gets better. My Nana didn’t call me Crash for nothing! The next day we headed out to hike to Boulder Field. It’s a national natural area that is mind boggling. You get to it by hiking a 3 mile slightly uphill, very rocky, root filled trail. The forest is so quiet and beautiful, it takes your breath away. Parts of this trail were made more challenging by the fact that all the rain we’ve had this summer hasn’t dried up. It was a flooded, muddy, slick mess. In other words it was fun and made you take your time. At one point about 1.5 miles in my left foot went to slide out from under me so I attempted to correct by moving my right foot, nope it hit a root and stuck. Did I mention the dog who had no idea I was falling so she just kept walking? Down I went, hard. Did my knee land in soft mud? Or on ample moss that was everywhere? Nooooo. It smacked into a rock as I attempted to tuck my already broken hand in away from the ground. As I sit in a puddle contemplating the fact that I’m the experienced hiker and the man currently asking if I’m ok is a total novice and I’m the one that keeps falling down the dog was like What the hell, lady? Needless to say I got up and we hiked on.
How do I feel today, 6 days removed from the first fall? I hurt. No lie, the ground is hard and at almost 42 years old I apparently don’t bounce the way I used to. My finger lives in a splint 90% of the time and my knee gets ice whenever I can take a minute and sit.
All this being said, I wouldn’t change a thing. Overall the weekend was amazing and I can’t wait to head out on our next adventure! The take away from this is we work our butts off in the gym so that we can go do all the things we want to do outside the gym. I want to be strong and fit so I can hike, broken bits and all. I want all of you to know having a higher level of fitness will give you power. Power to go on adventures, be they near or far, urban or off the grid. I think we are all better people when we don’t feel restricted by our body’s limitations. When your fitness improves so does your ability to enjoy all the life outside the gym. To steal REI’s tag line - Go Outside! Use your fitness to adventure near and far!