By William Ulwick
It was a Friday afternoon in May and I was sitting down trying to plan out an overnight hiking trip to knock off a few more of my remaining twelve of the New Hampshire 48 four thousand footers. With expectations of finishing the NH48 before the next winter season started, I was getting very excited for finishing this mission out. The plan was a traverse going north to south of Mt. Moriah and the Carters. A traverse that I’ve been purposely holding off on for an overnight, even though I believe that I could do it in a day.
Three days later, on Monday afternoon, my son and I were working on the mountain bike trail at the house. We finished a section and were going to test it out before Boy Scouts. I went in the rocky beginning and my son waited on the street. I stopped, leaned against a tree and waited for the boy to join. He looked nervous and I realized that I was in his way. I stepped off my mountain bike. The instant my foot hit the ground, I heard and felt a pop and a snap at the same time. I froze and screamed. Nothing took the pain away. I tried sitting, I tried putting pressure in different positions and nothing eased the pain. After some negotiation, I made it home and opted to skip the ER trip and go to the doctor in the morning.
After ten days of fighting with insurance and hospitals, getting my knee drained and a cortisone shot, the answer was a torn front lateral meniscus and another knee scope (I tore the same meniscus five years ago in the back). My hiking ambitions for the summer were trashed. Now I’m just hoping to get in the woods for the fall. Surgery was set and then pushed back two weeks. I was pretty down. I was frustrated at the process and not sure what I was going to be able to do to keep in shape. My wife got a little upset when she came down one morning and I was in my home gym, crutches to the side and I was hopping from one thing to the next. I had to do something and not just sit around feeling sorry for myself.
Hospital orders are to come in loose and comfortable clothing. On a bit of a side note, when you have surgery, you can’t shower for a couple of days. Wear cotton or technical T’s and you’re gonna smell. I lived in my Minus33 Tarleton ¼ zip T-Shirt for a few days. That merino wool doesn’t hold smells. I layered up the Tarleton with the Allagash long sleeve ¼ zip and it was perfect. Surgery came and went; that was a Thursday. The day after surgery wasn’t so bad. Saturday….now that wasn’t a fun day. Back to the gym…. It can’t wait. I needed to stay active.
April in NH comes with varied temperatures, fluctuating between low 40s and over 90. Without being able to move my feet much I wore my Minus33 winter socks and watched some good old 80’s classic movies and some really awful movies you’ve never heard of, and don’t want to.
Now it’s more bad movies and catching up on DVR’d TV shows, upper body workouts, PT and ice on the deck. Even though I can’t hike right now, I can use the downtime to my advantage with soaking up some vitamin D and spending time with the family.