Day 269 – Olympic Loop, September 11, 2011
Well, my first day on the Olympic Loop Tour was a memorable
one, though not in a very good way.
VANilla carted us several miles down a gravel road to the Staircase
Rapids Nature Trail, a four mile path that follows a cascading Skokomish
River. It turns out, the hike was in the
Olympic National Park, where dogs are not allowed on the trails, and this
morning I really wanted to include him on a walk. Therefore, we turned around and stopped at
Lake Cushman State Park for a trek to the summit of Mount Rose.
The prettiest part of the hike was the first two minutes,
where a waterfall trickled over rocks and a fallen tree. I took two pictures and realized my SD card
was full, and thus erased the pictures because I thought I had downloaded them
all (to find out later that I didn’t…UGH!!)
The rest of the walk was up a very steep incline which resulted in the
trail being rated as difficult. We
walked for almost an hour up and didn’t even make it the 1.8 miles to the loop
that circles the top. Sweaty with flies
buzzing around my head, I opted to turn back, as I wasn’t enthralled with views
of vegetation and trees. I was hoping to
keep the lovely creek in sight. In order
to follow the trail downhill without running, I picked up a walking stick to
help slow my momentum.
Just before I reached the bottom, I ditched the stick. With a can of Off in one hand and Petey’s
leash in the other, I only had to take two more steps before crossing the dirt
road to VANilla when I caught my foot on a log and fell. The log’s sharp, pointy branches ripped my
shorts, cut my back, and one four inch piece the size of a pinky finger broke
off into my leg! Being beneath my
shorts, I didn’t realize it at time. I
just had a severe burning sensation and shredded clothing. Upon changing my shorts, I noticed the end of
the wood chard poking out of the fat on my leg.
Lucky for me, I store my fat on my thigh! It kept my attacker from damaging my muscle
or any other vital part of my body. Of
course, at this point I had a feel-sorry-for-myself, panic session. Frantic, I asked a guy where the closest
hospital was located. He said, “Fifteen
miles south to Hoodsport”. That was a family
practice facility, so I asked a lady in a store and she said, “Twenty miles to
Shelton”. Naturally, she provided me
directions, but I don’t recall them. I
just started heading south, trying to ignore the burn and hoping splinters
weren’t breaking off into my leg.
Then it donned on me that my GPS has a hospital icon. I pushed it and Gina eventually got me
there. I suppose the beauty of a small
town hospital is that I walked into triage, gave them my ID, and they had me in
an operating room in five minutes or less. I think the entire procedure of shooting Novocane
into my wound, slicing my leg six inches, removing the branch particle,
flushing it, and stitching with twenty stitches (both internal and external),
and checking out took less time than driving there. Or at least it would have if they could have
found all of the parts to the water gun that they had to assemble to flush the
My nurse, Jake, who is in the Navy and has been deployed as
a medic to Afghanistan and Iraq twice each, was super cute! I kind of wish I didn’t stink so bad I could
smell myself. No, he was married with
five kids and liked football, so at least I got to watch pieces of a few
football games while Dr. Hautala stitched me up. Anyway, Jake graciously took photos of my
injury, and I thanked him for his service to our Nation which seemed
particularly fitting given it was September 11th.
Today also marks the six month anniversary of my dad’s
death. I think the date of this injury
might be unforgettable. If the doctor
could have only removed some of the fat with my enormous splinter! Sadly, I’m more upset over deleting my
pictures than the beautiful scar that is going to grace the top side of my
Petey behaved relatively well while being left in VANilla
during my emergency room visit. We stopped
at the Wal-Mart in town for an antibiotic and painkiller before calling it a
day at Dosewallips State Park. I’m
currently waiting for my Vicodin to kick in.
We’ll see what tomorrow has in store for me. I might take a few days of rest…ETB!