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Bruised, Bloodied but not Broken on S. Dix

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  • Bruised, Bloodied but not Broken on S. Dix

    We left Elk Lake Trailhead at 5:45 a.m. Made it to the Slide Brook trail junction in about an hour and headed up. By 8:20 we were at the base of the slide. Very intimidating, but having read a few TRs on the forum, I knew it would be okay, we would just need to go slow and steady. It was okay, as long as I didn’t turn around and look back or down too often. I did a few times, and the views were amazing. It took us about an hour going up the slide. I was a little surprised because I thought when we got to the top of the slide, that was the top of McComb. It was another half hour and we were at the summit at 10 a.m. Hung out and had a snack and headed over to South Dix. I have to admit, the “delightful rock scramble” others have mentioned made my jaw drop, but again, not bad. The rocks were grippy and we were on top at 11:00. The sky was clouding up, so we headed right over to East Dix. Another hour and we were enjoying lunch at noon there. Three summits before noon! Had to be a record for us. What beautiful views. Stayed there for a half hour soaking in the views and the breeze and then headed back to S. Dix. Had considered tackling Hough, but that was not to be.

    When we got back to S. Dix, we decided to get down as I was a little concerned about getting down the rocks. This is when “it” happened. I don’t know exactly how, or what I did, but I took a header and came down hard on my head. Poor Mike saw it happening and couldn’t get there quick enough to stop the fall. I ended up on my face on the rocks with blood pouring from my head. Fortunately, it was just a puncture wound and I only had a big goose egg and a few bruises. Takes a lot out of you though and made me realize how far we were from help should it had been worse. We always carry first aid supplies and we bandaged up the head and I picked myself up and gingerly continued down S. Dix. Made the decision to save Hough for another day.

    It was uneventful going down, just slow and careful. The trip down Lillian Brook is rugged at first until you get down to the bottom, then it is a nice walk out. There was a little mud towards the end of it, but not terrible, boot sucking mud. The trails are easy to follow and never did we feel like we were lost or not on a trail. We were at the Lillian Brook junction at 4 and to the car by 5:45. Saw only a few groups the whole day. No forum members, just a few lurkers.

    All in all, a beautiful day, however, I must admit that I am reconsidering my quest for 46. Today I keep thinking how bad this could have been and not sure I want to put either Mike or myself in a situation where something bad could happen again. Maybe I will feel better after a few days removed.

    I am at 26. 20 more? Not so sure. My initial feeling is to maybe keep going, but go with others so it isn’t just the 2 of us up there; we love hiking by ourselves, but….still reliving the event and it gets worse the more I think of it.

  • #2
    Moo, don't let it bother you. Most of us have taken spills like that -- I know I have had my share -- just resolve that you will always give close attention to foot placement. Often such falls are just the result of 1/4 inch of foot lift causing a trip and headfirst flight. Also, the time to be extra careful is later in the day when you are tired, maybe a little dehydrated, and descending. Almost every fall I've had I attribute to inattention. Just keep telling yourself to "mind the step".


    • #3
      Sorry to hear of your unfortunate experience, head trauma under any circumstance is always unpleasant and frightening. Glad you are starting to mend, hope your recovery is quik.
      Congrats on knocking out these three wonderful but somewhat challenging peaks.
      The climb up the Macomb slide has been un-nerving to many but a steady pace with your eyes on the prize make it a bit easier.

      I understand your concern about continuing the journey. All that scary "what if" scenarios become real when you experience an injury in the back country. The decision is yours to make and there is no shame in pursuing other interests if the fear of injury outweighs the joys of the adventure. Give yourself some time to reflect on what the journey has meant to you to this point and keep in mind that you can always change your mind.
      "Climbing is about freedom. There's no prize money; there are no gold medals. The mountains are all about going there to do what you want to do. That's why I'll never tell anyone else how to climb. All I can say is, This is how I prefer to do it."
      Ed Viesturs


      • #4
        Originally posted by HPHikingMoo View Post

        I am at 26. 20 more? Not so sure. My initial feeling is to maybe keep going, but go with others so it isn’t just the 2 of us up there;
        There, there, Moo! They always say that your initial feeling is best so, I would go with that. I tend to fall at the end of a long hike when I’m tired and let my guard down. Once, in the Catskills, I could see my car when I went down hard apparently thinking the hike was over. Hang in there, you’re a 26er! I’m glad the injury wasn’t too serious. Rest up for a couple of days and give yourself a chance to get over it. Oh, and congratulations, you just climbed three more peaks!! I’m sure many of us would be willing to tag along with you if it made you feel safer and it helped you to finish. Ask and you shall receive!!
        Limped thru the Northeast 115...


        • #5
          Moo - Sorry to hear you took a header. I'm sure after you reflect on it for awhile, you will know what's right for you. I'm glad you had an enjoyable time otherwise.


          • #6
            First of all, congratulations on completing a very nice loop hike. Even with the header, you still walked out ok and that's always a good thing.

            I can understand your apprehension to finish the 46ers in light of the fall and can only hope that you'll still find the allure of the journey and enjoyment of hiking together to bring you back for the remaining 20. If it's fun, then keep going.

            Personally, I would not allow the mountains to get the best of me. I don't think anyone finishes the 46 without overcoming some adversity along the way and developing a mental tenacity to finish each hike.


            • #7
              I felt quite a bit of reservation as I worked my way through the 46... one of the reasons I wanted to pursue the 46 was because I *did* have a decent amount of fear/worry regarding tough mountain hiking and I wanted to overcome it. Crepuscular (Chris) could tell you of many time where I almost lost it, wanted to turn around, or just plain old melted down.

              So coming from me, someone with a fair amount of anxiety, I would urge you to continue your pursuit of the 46 - taking it slow and with all the precautions you want. The exhilaration I felt on the tops of the mountains that were the hardest for me to climb is amazing. And I took my share of slips and falls, as well! In fact, my most recent climb up Grace made me realize I can't deal with the risks of slide climbing unless it is the only way up the mountain.
              Mountain Wolf ... aka: Jeanette

              46er: June 9th, 2012

              "We listened for a voice crying in the wilderness. And we heard the jubilation of wolves!" -Durwood L. Allen


              • #8
                I have hit my head quite a few times, on overhanging limbs and such. I think, I can't remember where though. Or when...but it never stopped me from hiking.

                I find that stupid stuff can happen to the best of us, aw heck, all of us. But, I could get hit by a bus after leaving my house too, but it doesn't stop me from walking to my favorite cafe! Now, what was the name of that cafe???? I forget.

                Head wounds can be nasty, I've heard. I've never had one that I can remember.

                As I gained experience, gotten older, I know I have become more cautious and that has made it all a bit safer. But, in the words of Joe Simpson, "experience is something you don't get until after you need it. That's the problem!"

                Natural environment sustains the life of all beings universally. Trees are referred to in accounts of the principal events of Buddha's life. His mother leaned against a tree for support as she gave birth to him. He attained enlightenment seated beneath a tree, and finally passed away as trees stood witness overhead. H.H. D. L.

                "experience is something you don't get until after you need it, that's the problem." - Joe Simpson

                As I was walking - I saw a sign there
                And that sign said - No tresspassin'
                But on the other side - it didn't say nuthin'
                Now that side was made for you and me!
                - Woody Guthrie -

                Charter Member of the Tongue-In-Cheek Club (TIC)


                • #9
                  Oh no! I am sorry to hear you took a spill, and particularly one on your noggin. I am sure you were, and are, scared after that.

                  I hope you know that you're already my inspiration when I get scared out there, because I think about how you faced Algonquin and it took you a year to get back out there, but you did, and about how Big Slide tried to drown you in its brook, and that you quit at "turtle rock", but you didn't REALLY. Sounds to me like when something scares you, you take it out. Seems like you just need some time and a strategic plan, and you kick its tail.

                  In other words, give it time. You've got time. See if the itch returns. Someone once told me this hiking thing is a disease... :-)

                  I hope you're feeling better, calmer, and safer. Whatever decision you make it will be the right one. The outdoors is far greater than 20 mountains...there is plenty to experience either way.
                  See my photos!


                  • #10
                    I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

                    A memento from Cliff.

                    Sorry to hear you "used your head" when it wasn't the right tool for the job!

                    Slips and falls shadow our every move and, as messy and frightening as it was, you can thank your lucky stars (you did see 'em, right?) that your accident was no worse. No one wants to lose blood, flesh, or structural integrity, during a hike but we tacitly accept this outcome the moment we set foot on the trail (arguably, the moment feet leave bed and touch floor). Don't let this unfortunate incident dissuade you from your quest. It's part of the territory and you walked away, a little humbled and in pain, but under your own steam. You're tougher than you think!
                    Looking for Views!


                    • #11
                      Sounds like, except for the unwanted head banger you had a great hike. That slide seems really out of place, doesn't it? The rock, if you can call it that is so different than any of the other HPs. So glad you got these done. Don't let this fall slow you down. Yes - you can get hurt and be in a remote place, but I have found that in the HPs, as long as you are on a trail to one of the HPs, you usually are not alone, particularly on a nice weekend. In addition, I have usually had cell service or the ability to text as I hike around. I do keep the rangers phone number programmed in my phone.

                      Hope to meet you out there one day.
                      Enjoying the journey with my favorite hiking partner.
                      Please visit ADKGurl's Blog: 46-High-Peaks


                      • #12
                        Is it possible your "concern" about getting down the rocks threw off your concentration? Were the gathering clouds in the back of your mind adding a sense of urgency? I'd say when pressures like those push you forward is the time to relax and slow down — to assess realistically whether there is any cause for concern.

                        Don't quit Moo!


                        • #13
                          This community and these mountains would suffer a tremendous loss if you decided to call it quits. I believe in you moo!
                          Crepuscular Rays: Dissolve into evergreens

                          There's always gonna be another mountain
                          I'm always gonna wanna make it move
                          Always gonna be an uphill battle
                          Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
                          Ain't about how fast I get there
                          Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side...
                          It's the climb
                          -Miley Cyrus


                          • #14
                            I get it

                            I know the feeling. There were a number of times when I walked away and even wrote in my notes that I wanted to end my pursuit. Hopefully, today you feel better.
                            Consider the spill a "warning shot". Sometimes we get too comfortable up there and we forget where we are. An old roofer once told me that it isn't the rookies who fall of the roof, it's the experienced ones who do. They get so used to being on roofs, they sometimes forget where they are.
                            My worst hiking injuries happened after I became a 46er, and on mountains that I had been on six or seven times. I've done some bone head things that I never would have done when I first began hiking the mountains.
                            So, just keep that little bit of fear in you. It will help to keep you focused and careful. Consider the spill as a blessing that will keep you focused and alert the next time(s) you go up.
                            Good luck with the remaining 20.


                            • #15
                              Moo, thank God you're ok. Those headers are no joke, and yep, makes one think. I took tumbles 3 times on the way back from Algonquin--always when you're tired and perhaps less apt to be careful. Took a good WHOMP onto my buttocks, and I think my eyes flew open wider than they've ever been. And sometimes all the care in the world doesn't help: we take spills. The point is that you're all right and you're recuperating. Do not freak out. Slow and steady wins the race. You are the one I'm following. Heal up and your mojo will come back. Hang in there!

                              "A full appreciation of mountains is not to be experienced by merely looking; that is why men climb." -Francis S. Smythe, British mountaineer