1 day ago
Of all the things that can hinder your progress when hiking (bad weather, trail closures, getting lost) I think injury is the one that concerns me most. I’ve fought through unexpected snow and gone miles off-trail without clear direction, but I’ve still somehow managed to avoid any significant level of tragedy. But if I’m out there, 30 miles deep into the backcountry, and I break a leg? I’m in big trouble.
You don’t have many options. I mean, good for you if you’re carrying a PLB or satellite phone. But if not, you’re in for a lot of painful hobbling, hollering, and hoping for help.
I’m always conscious of the risks and try to make good decisions that will keep me from injury, but you never know. But I wouldn’t want my outdoor adventures to be risk-free. When we risk, we often find reward. And for me, the risks of backpacking that deep in the woods, off-trail, often by myself, are worth the immense rewards.
The thing that most people don’t take into account, however, is existing injuries. I cracked a rib almost two years ago and I couldn’t backpack for a while because it was too painful. Even after it healed, I could still wake up in the morning in my tent after a night of non-cushioned slumber and feel the aching.
As I get older and accumulate more aches and hurts, I’m becoming much more mindful of the injuries that I take with me out on the trail, even above the fear of the new injuries that might occur. You can be doing everything right on a voyage and have an old injury, that you thought had long healed, flare up and stop you in your tracks. So instead of blazing ahead after being hurt, I’m taking the time to rehab and take care of myself before hurtling into some new adventure, re-aggravating an injury, and getting into real trouble.
It takes patience, and it can be frustrating. But we need to take care of ourselves. Ya, be careful about getting hurt again. But take care of the old injuries so you can hit the trail when adventure calls.