Monday, September 21, 2015

Back in the Woods

Enroute to a geocache.

Its been a long and brutal 6 months. If you follow my blog, you know that I have been dealing with a debilitating back injury since early this year. I couldn't hike or backpack. I could barely walk. Eventually I had to apply for short term disability at work. The ordeal was slow and painful. Most of all it was frustrating. I was sick of it. I AM sick of it. When all treatment methods failed, I finally opted for surgery. I am happy to report that I made the right decision. It has been nearly a month since my spinal discectomy and I feel better than ever. It still blows me away how great I feel. Now I just need to recover what I lost during my injury.

Raccoon tracks in the mud
 In the past few weeks I have been hiking a ton. I'm getting stronger everyday. I'm enjoying my time in nature more than I ever have. It can be depressing when you live for the woods, but are stuck in the house hurt... for weeks on end. Time slips away. I have been soaking up nature. Noticing everything. Appreciating all of it. In the desert I've seen lots of coyote tracks in my usual haunt. More than normal. I wonder why? After a rain last week I saw small birds snatching dragonflies out of mid-air. I've never seen that before. I saw two roadrunners in the Phoenix Mountains last week where I've never seen any before. In Oregon I saw a firenewt for the first time on a hike to Mirror Lake. In northern Arizona I saw raccoon tracks in the mud, and found fossils in some rocks. 

Halfdome 2
Not only do I feel great physically, I am also coming round mentally. It takes a toll on the mind being laid-up for so long. Luckily I have the most amazing woman on the planet by my side. I know that I could not have survived this summer without my Sarah. I appreciate her and everything she has done for me. I appreciate everyone who helped me: My brother-in-law Jim Ciomber for being the best friend a guy could ask for. My coworkers and managers at REI for their understanding and support.

 This winter in the desert I predict will be a great one. I can't wait to throw on my Crown VC and spend some nights in the backcountry. Physically, I'm not there yet... but I will be.