Hi world, it’s been a while since I wrote out a full entry, but what can I say? I’ve been having fun in the woods! I’ve had a great season as a Back Country/ Wilderness Ranger. I’ve had some great experiences and met some very kind and interesting people. Sadly the reason I am writing this entry is because one of the worst things that can happen to a Backcountry Ranger has happened. ……..I’ve been put on light duty.
It all started on the last day of August, the first day on hitch. I was excited, for the first time in a long time Rachel and I were stationed in the same district, and even camping together for at least one night. The reason for this was the Labor Day weekend. Everyone was expecting a busy weekend in the Entiat district, especially at Myrtle lake and up into the meadows. Rachel and I were set to patrol and make sure everyone at Myrtle Lake was respectful of the fire ban, the outdoors, and of one another’s outdoor experience.
Myrtle lake is a beautiful aquamarine lake that is accessible via foot, hoof, or wheel; motorized or otherwise.
Being a short easy trail to a beautiful location the lake gets a lot of visitors, unfortunately not all are well versed in backcountry ethics, which was precisely the reason Rachel and I were planning to visit throughout the weekend. Our first visit to Myrtle lake was on Friday afternoon. There was no one there, so Rachel and I simply inspected the campsites and cleaned up a little. While cleaning up a pile of roots someone had ripped out of the ground and placed up near a campfire ring I noticed that my back felt a little uncomfortable. I stretched my arms and legs a little and thought nothing more of it. Rachel and I set off to make camp a short distance away, we settled into camp and spoke to a few backpackers on their way out after a trip to Ice lakes.
It was a nice night with a bright full moon.
In the morning while eating breakfast I noticed that my back was a little sore. Over the next 20 minutes it began to spasm and I was unable to stand up from my seat on the log. Eventually Rachel was able to help me into the tent. I flopped down on my stomach unable to move. Rachel utilized her first aid training in order to roll me over as though I were an unconscious person. Rachel is the true hero of the wilderness, she helped me into a comfortable position and made sure I could reach my book, radio, beef jerky and bottle of water. Rachel wished me well and set off on her patrol. I was rather certain I would be up and about after a short rest. I laid in the tent for a few hours trying to read Salt, a book about salt. It’s quite interesting, unfortunately my back was getting worse, every motion caused it to spasm. By the time Rachel returned my muscles began to spasm for no reason whatsoever and at regular intervals.
Sometime after this, thanks to an adrenaline rush, I was able to stand up. I began taking small steps around camp in hopes of loosening my back up. It was still extremely painful and Rachel and I decided that it would be best for me to get back to town. Rachel, in true hero form, packed my bag and hiked all of my gear for me along the five miles of trail to the trail head. There we were met by our boss Randy who thankfully was waiting with 10lbs of ice. Rachel then drove me to the emergency room since it was by that too late to reach a doctor any other way. It was a relatively short emergency room visit. I was diagnosed with a Thoracic back strain, given a prescription for some pain killers and instructed to rest for a few days. I’ll have to stay on light duty for around a week or until I’m released by a physician.
So here I sit, catching up on missed blogging, reflecting on a great season in the mountains and watching our roommate Wayne’s great old movie collection. As I type, the classic The Three Amigos is rolling the credits, and before that I watched Show Down in Little Tokyo.
Anytime away from the wild is a letdown but considering how miserable I was yesterday today is “a walk in the park”, though “a sit on the couch” might be more appropriate and hold the same sentiment. I’m feeling much better. I can move without gritting my teeth in agony, though I’m still unable to stand up straight. No matter what, today is better than yesterday and things continue to be looking up, I can’t wait to get back out there. After all, look at what I have to miss!