Entries For: January 2009
A few days after I wrote my last entry, I was hit by a car - in the Mission Hospital (Asheville) parking lot, of all places. I went to visit a friend, parked my car, started to walk toward the street and hospital entrance and never made it.
A woman hospital employee in a large SUV came speeding into the lot and ran over my feet. I was thrown backward and hit my whole back and head on the concrete. I wish I had the nerve to let you know the name, address and phone number of the woman who hit me. I was taken to the ER where I found out I had a concussion, a fractured vertebrae and a few other problems. After a day of tests, I walked out of the ER. Everyone says I was very lucky; I say it should never have happened.
Now I'm engaged in the hard work of recovery to get back on the trail. I'm walking, exercising, doing physical therapy. I went into the Smokies this past weekend and did the Rich Mountain Loop out of Cades Cove. With a little ways on Indian Graves Gap Trail, it was only about nine miles but I was exhausted. I spent the next day "recovering" from the hike. Obviously I was not ready for a full-day hike.
One of the benefits of being part of a hiking family, the Carolina Mountain Club, is knowing others who have had the same problems and worse. Accidents, illnesses, operations - hikers, many older than me, have temporarily shelved their boots but came back to the trail. I take great comfort in these role models who are now hiking and backpacking as well as they were before.
So, I'm going to try a half-day hike on Sunday and let you know how I did. Let me know about your recovery experiences. Email me.
Yesterday, the Carolina Mountain Club led its New Year's Day hike to the Green River Game Lands. We had 28 eager hikers, much too big a group, but this was a special traditional hike and a time for club members to reconnect.
The Green River Game Lands, a relatively new recreation area, are located in the southwestern corner of North Carolina, almost on the South Carolina border. At this point, the land is undisturbed wilderness with narrow, steep ravines, coves and some old-growth forests. The Green River runs through a rugged gorge on the Blue Ridge escarpment where at one point, it drops 400 feet in a distance of one and a half miles and runs through a six-foot wide crevice known as "the Narrows." Pulliam Creek cuts a deep ravine near the Green River, forming several small cascades.
We always have lunch on the river, at the end of Pulliam Creek Trail. Yesterday, we were lucky to see several kayaking groups coming down as we ate. I always marvel at these folks who maneuver the boulders and come down the rushing river. We then started the climb up Pulliam Creek Trail. After about a mile, on the left, there are views of the rapids known as the Gorilla. The best kayakers in the country race this section of the Green River.
The sixteen miles of trails are managed by ECO (Environmental and Conservation Organization, a non-profit group in Hendersonville) and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. As the name implies, hunting, trapping and fishing are allowed in the Game Lands. The trails in the Game Lands, a mix of trails and old roads, are not blazed but signs mark the trails at intersections. You can get a map from ECO. It's a nice change from our usual Pisgah/MST areas.