Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Fallen Adventurer

It was going to be a great day.

There I was, all alone in the middle of the wilderness, enjoying my most recent hike. The day was a cold one, and the paths were covered with snow and ice. I was right in the center of one of the larger nature preserves around here, on my way back to the front of the park and out to my truck. That's when it happened!

I came to a lonely area where only the deer like to go. I was entering a gully where I like to stop and enjoy the quiet  of nature. The place is like a bowl that is surrounded by trees, except for the human foot path and a deer trail that crosses it. As I got halfway down the slope, my feet slid right out from under me!

A lot of times, when this kind of thing happens, it seems to go in slow motion, but not this time. I was laying on the ground almost before I knew what happened! I did have time to kind of tuck my body to try to minimize any injury, and to try to protect my camera, which is too valuable to me to let it get broken.

I fell on my back, and my arms and legs splayed out to my sides, as I slid a couple of feet down the slope. As I was falling, my eyes turned to my hand with the camera in it. I tried my best to keep it out of the snow, but it ended up completely covered by the wet white stuff.

These are the marks in the snow from my fall.

While I did feel the impact as I crashed to the ground, I didn't really feel any pain. I guess it must have happened too fast for that. What I was most concerned about was the camera. When I stopped sliding, I sat up in the snow and began trying to get the snow off of it any way I could; it was everywhere. I was happy to see that my prized device was still working.

This whole time I just sat there in the snow. I never once attempted to stand up. I didn't feel cold or wet, I just felt frustration and confusion. How could I have slipped? I was wearing my trusty ice cleats on my feet. They should have dug right into any slippery spot. I then noticed the battery indicator on the camera was flashing, so before I got up I changed the batteries.

Finally, after putting in the new batteries, I got to my feet. I felt fine! I didn't seem to be injured in anyway, not even my hind end, which probably bore most of the impact. I had a feeling that I'd be sore later though. It was then that I decided that all I wanted to do was to get out of there. I wanted to go home.

Notice the blurring on the bottom left and the middle.

I began quickly walking towards the front of the park. I took some pictures just because that's what I do. I noticed that there were a few very blurry areas on the view screen of the camera. I hoped these were just because the lense needed to be cleaned.

It was then that I noticed I was moving so fast. I also noticed that I had a few aches and pains that wouldn't normally be there. I realized that in a situation like this that it was natural to panic just a little bit, and that's what I was doing. The pain was from the fall, and my movement had warmed me up and brought out the pain.

When I realized what was happening, I physically stopped myself. I came to a halt right there on the trail. I told myself to slow down and be careful. Tiring myself out or really injuring myself wouldn't help one bit. I reminded myself that I was fine and to slowly continue on my way out of the park.

Finally, the parking lot!

In the end, I got out of the park and to my truck, but it was very slow going because I made sure to move extra slow. My camera still works, but I don't know how well yet. I immediately felt exhausted when I got home, and took a long nap. When I woke up I felt very stiff, but other than that I'm uninjured. It could have been much worse.

This should be a lesson to any prospective hikers. Try to hike with someone if you can. I only hike alone because I have no choice. I carry a cell-phone with me for situations like this. I almost needed it. Without my phone, if I had been really injured, nobody would have heard me yell for help, because I was very much alone out there. Before you go hiking take a look at my post on hiking tips for beginners. It could save your life.

I guess that's it for today from a sore, but otherwise fine Everyday Adventurer. I hope you all have a Happy New Year!


  1. Well, Ratty, that is a scary story. I am so glad nothing worse happened but it certainly could have. You are as careful as anyone can be, I know, but accidents can occur. Good thing you carry a cell phone. It transmits from your hiking area? That is reassuring, at least! I'm glad your camera survived the fall as well!

    I'm sure you will be sore for a couple of days but at least your bones are intact!!

  2. Goodness, I'm glad you're okay girl! That ground gets harder every year doesn't it? (I remember it being much softer when I was 12 than it is now at 40 *cough* something :o) Ice under snow is definitely one of the sneaker facts of nature :oP I can remember busting my tail on more than one occasion; standing there one minute then blinking rather dazedly at the clear blue sky the next. Looks like your camera might be okay too...the blurry area disappeared Whew!

  3. I get where you're coming from about not hiking alone...but sometimes you don't want company...I tend to let people know where I'm going to be 'ish' but do like to go it alone. I think this is one of the few times when I don't hate technology.
    Glad ur ok and wish you all the best for the new year...and the camera check over!!

    there is no blurry patch in the last pic...maybe it was a little snow left on the lens??

  4. Glad you survived your ordeal intact, and uninjured! I try to tell my husband that same thing, that he shouldn't hike alone. Especially since a cell phone would be no good in the state parks around here.

  5. I'm glad you're not injured! Take care, and rest..

    Have a wonderful and great New Year, Ratty!

  6. Glad your ok. You and I often hike (alone) in some remote areas with(cell phone) Good reminder even though we can be very careful "life happens" Last time I was out I slipped dropped the camera battery compartment opened an I lost the batteries in the leaves. I always have spare batteries in my pocket. Just wanted to say HAPPY NEW YEAR and thanks for sharing your world

  7. I'm glad you are ok! I hike alone a lot too. I do always have my phone. Have a great New Year and take care ok.

  8. Ratty- Looks like there was ice under the snow. Youch! I'm glad you got off with only a few aches and bruises. And the last picture doesn't seem to have the blurry spot. I hear you about the camera. What a scare!

  9. So, your dignity suffered the worst injury? I hope it is so. And I hope you're back to normal soon. Best wishes for the new year.

  10. oh no, that sucks! i'm happy to hear that you weren't seriously injured and that your camera is still intact. wishing you a very happy new year my friend...hugz!

  11. Ouch! Be safe and take it easy for a few days!

  12. thankfully, you are safe and well. I have a very similar experience, but I was with my husband then, I seldom hike alone, oftentimes, when I am alone, I choose a popular trail where I won't feel so alone and scared, but once I hiked alone in a place I am not so familiar with thinking it was popular one, but I almost got lost, almost lost myself to panic, but thankfully, the right senses came and I was able to find my way out, and told myself, i will never go out on a trail alone if i am not familiar with it.

    on the other hand, me and my husband before were enjoying some photography at North Lake, I wanted a very wide angle of the rocky Sierra mountains, and I would get it if I will get into the lake a little bit. Thinking that the lake is not so deep since I can see the grasses and some weeds at the bottom, and some rocks half submerged, I stepped into the water (or so I thought), and did not realize it was ice i was stepping into. As a result, I slid like you, and what happened next was so fast, all I knew was I was lying down on a frozen lake, thankfully, I did not hit any rocks. My husband told me that while I was falling, I was so concerned my camera won't get hurt, I was protecting the camera the best that I could :) , well, just like you. Thankfully, like you, I did not get injured, just minor bruises, and my camera did not break either. But that was a lesson I also learned when out of the doors, to pay attention to surroundings.

    happy New year and hope you continue to be well.

  13. I am so glad it wasn't worse for you Ratty...your camera can always be replaced...but not YOU. You are right, you need to be careful. Hypothermia can set in very quickly this time of year too!
    Be careful and take some Tylenol as you will be stiff for a few days.

  14. You have ended your 2009 with such a "wonderful" experience, by the way, you are safe.

    Let's start 2010 with a more adventurous journey.

    And Bon Voyage.

  15. Sure am glad you were able to get up and out of there okay Ratty. I have to grin that you took a picture of where you fell. I guess I'd do the same thing. It's part of your story. This was a little scary for you. I can tell. You will be very sore for a few days probably. But thank heavens you are okay and your camera is okay.. Happy New Year!! I look forward to lots of your tales in the coming year!! Hugs. Ginny

  16. Ouch, you are probably going to be sore for a few days. The good thing about snow is it softens the fall a little. You did the right thing by not jumping up just after the fall, take stock and make sure you are ok. The next thing is to keep your wits about you and not panic, you did good.

    If at all possible let someone know where you will be hiking, and when to expect you back. As a former First Aid/CPR instructor I strongly encourage everyone to take at least a basic course in first aid. It can be useful even if you are alone.

    Have a very Happy New Year Ratty!
    PS, I have done far worse to cameras, just make sure it is completely dry inside.

  17. Glad to hear you weren't seriously injured. After the fall I took a couple months ago I can tell you that you're probably going to be a little sore for a few days :) You did the same as I did though, falling to the ground first thought was to save the camera.

  18. Falling is part of the adventure! I'm glad you are OK. Makes a good story though.

    I fall on a regular basis because I work as a field ecologist. The trick is stay relaxed as you fall. I fall better in my late 50;s than I did in my twenties because I have a lot more practice.

    Nice adventure at any rate!