Several of my friends have been regaled with my misadventure in January last year. I can tell the story with humor because I really didn't get hurt too badly and I was thoroughly amused by all the thoughts that ran through my heard during the hours all this took place. it also says something about my misplaced sense of ego in thinking what I can and can't do or perhaps it is more shouldn't do "at my age." There, I said it so I can get on with the story.
Picture a bright, beautiful January day in Glendive. Some snow on the ground, temperature is pleasantly chilly and there is no wind. I had spent the fall doing a lot of walking and had decided to kick my exercise up a notch. For several years I had read about snow shoes in the L.L. Bean catalog so I decided this was the year to give them a try.
The day I was ready to break them in I headed to the visitors' center at Makoshika Park, got out and fastened the snow shoes on. My European walking poles served as ski poles for this outing. Everything was going well. I was having a little trouble getting a good glide going and after a mile I stopped for a rest. As misadventures often transpire, I decided one more little sprint and then I would quit. By the time I got to the next spot I was tired and decided I had staring some new muscles enough. i was heading to a picnic table to sit down when disaster struck. The snow shoes crossed and down I went, hard on my hip into the snow. As I was going down my thoughts were, "Not the hip! Not the hip!" When I finally hit the ground I, of course, laid there for awhile wondering how I was doing. Maybe it was shock, but then the ridiculous kicked in and all I could think of was the commercial of the lady lying in her house calling out, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!" That sired my instincts of pride and self=preservation. I managed to kick off the snow shoes and in my rolling around in the snow discovered I couldn't be too bad off.
But now the question was how to get up without support. I tried the walking poles, but no luck. My knee hurt too badly to put much pressure on it so that wasn't going to work. I had walked in a little ways to a camping area and wasn't totally visible from the road and I hadn't seen anyone anyway. I thought I could crawl out to the road and weakly wave my hand if someone came by. That was quite a picture in my mind. i wasn't going to freeze to death at the temperature but from where I was located I decided they wouldn't be likely to find my body until Spring anyway.
So I began the struggle to get up again. (Oh, and before you ask, there was no cellphone service where I was.) I tried some thing I had learned in yoga class. Pushing my posterior into the air I managed to gradually work my way up until I could use my poles for balance and I made it.
Now the question was how to get back to the car which was one and a half miles away at the Visitors' Center. My knee was supporting my weight as long as I didn't overdo it.
Only a history major would understand, but thoughts of Hugh Glass began to form in my mind and this was before I had even heard about THE REVENANT. If you don’t know, Hugh Glass was a plainsman mauled by a grizzly bear east of Lemmon, South Dakota in 1823. Left for dead by his companions (one of whom was Jim Bridger) he crawled 200 miles to Ft. Kiowa on the Missouri River to rise as one from the dead to face the people who left him. I figured if Hugh Glass could do that I could make it back to the car. And I did by walking a few steps, stopping, and then walking again. Unfortunately, according to the x-rays, the bone on the side of my knee was cracked. A year later it continues to bother me a little. A second fall in July didn’t help the situation any, but I keep taking it one step at a time.