My heart was heavy and my stomach queasy as I gently pulled my boot on over the bulky bandage. I looked around at the wonderful mountain scenery I would no longer be exploring - but I had to get this foot looked at. It would be the end of my hiking for a while, I knew that much. I stood up and gingerly put some weight on the left foot. Surprisingly it didn’t feel too bad.
And so began several minutes of internal dialogue...You might never come back here, just keep going – No, it’s too risky, gotta get this foot fixed up – Come on, two days forward or one back, what’s the big difference? – What about blood loss, infection, amputation, slow death? – Look at these mountains, this sky – You’re all alone, don’t be crazy – It’s just a cut – It’s a big cut – I’m walking on – Don’t do it - I’m doing it.
I did it.
Some of the time it was fine, and the landscape was so incredible I was glad to have gone on. I filled my water bottle from cool, bubbling rivers. I hiked quiet paths with views over deep, wooded valleys. I ate simple, tasty food and I contemplated the world around me.
At other times, like when I unwrapped the bandage in the evening and saw blood still oozing insistently out , and I was further from help, I doubted the wisdom of my choice. As I woke in the morning the slow throbbing in my foot reminded me of the previous day’s mishap. It was more painful and I needed a stick to lean on as I hobbled along. I was making slow progress, and climbing over the final pass for the day, I needed to rest every fifty metres and then verbally talk myself into standing up and walking on.
The adventure continued.
|Barren highland landscape|
|The green Tuolomne Valley|
|Have you ever seen a river meander like this?|