Mitchell Lake is a popular, small lake at the base of Mount Audubon in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. I normally would continue hiking past this area, however my PT gave me very rigid restrictions, 1-2 miles no more than 300′ of gain. I decided, since I’d gone through a lot of PT, then surgery, then PT again– that I’d listen to her.
We arrived unusually late, 10AM, at the trailhead, then slowly made our way up to the lake. It was only a mile in, so it didn’t take long.
We caught the last of the good weather for the day, and retreated down to Very Nice Brewing Company to play some games and eat lunch/ drink beer.
I’m glad we got out, even for such a small hike, I was sore after that…very sore. I have a long way to go before I’m back to my normal shape, but it was a start. I just need to be good about doing my PT, and building back up slowly.
My best friend Tess was expecting an awesome trip, climbing 14ers, camping, lots of different breweries and activities. I was not ready for all of that, sadly. I thought my knee would be stronger by then, but walking distances was still hard enough. I felt really bad for not being able to take her on all of the fun adventures we had planned, but we tried to make the best of it.
My friend Ashley so graciously lent us her condo for two nights in Fraser so that we could adventure some in that area without having to camp in the rain. We drove the long way down there through Rocky Mountain National Park, then spent the next two days, canoeing Lake Granby, 4 wheeling up Rollins Pass, playing scrabble, and cooking. It was a lot of fun!
On our last few days we went to the Denver Botanic Gardens, Lake Dillon, played more scrabble, and had some tasty beers.
There are times when you need to take it slower to recover properly, and as much as I felt bad that Tess and I could not play in the mountains– we still had some fun. There was talk of our next trip being to Costa Rica– which would be a BLAST. We’ll see. I’m just glad we got to spend some time together, and view some pretty places. Next western trip will be Yellowstone, and I know she’ll enjoy spending time up there- it is beautiful!
Over my weeks of recovery I was giving the opportunity to go on a few adventures, the Celestial Seasonings Factory, Leaning Tree Museum of Western Art, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and a 4WD tour of old mining ruins.
It got me outside, and moving. It felt like an adventure, sort of– I got experience what it was like to be in a wheelchair at a museum. I would actually ask them to place the displays a bit lower, because I was unable to see most of information without standing up on my good leg.
I figured I’d just share a few photos of our mining ruin tour on Oh My God Road outside of Idaho Springs. It was during wildflower season!
I’ve known so many people my own age who have had shoulder surgery, knee surgery, etc. etc. etc. Up until now, I’ve been fortunate enough to have avoided this route, but when my doctor had tried everything to help heal my knee, ( I had 5 different shots in my knee, and PT) finally I was ready to have surgery.
Surgery scares the cannoli’s out of me– cutting you open, digging around, potentially cutting the wrong thing. Lots of horror stories from TV, and I had willingly accepted that it was my fate, after nothing else worked.
Going to a surgery consult was very different from visits with my regular sports medicine doctor. He had taken a quick look at my MRI, and told me that it was a bone marrow lesion that could be fixed by a procedure called “subchondroplasty.” What that essentially means is they would drill a tiny hole in my femur where the lesion is, and fill it with a bone cement that supports the bone while the lesion heals.
He asked me talk about this with my other doctor, who entirely agreed with his assessment. I made the appointment, and fought through all of the insurance rigamarole in order to get it done. Once I made it through the final hurdle, I sat in the Boulder Surgery Center, scared, but ready to get this done.
Greg sat with me as they gave me the IV, and my first round of calming meds. He waited until they rolled me into the OR, and then waited in the waiting room until I woke up. All I remember is being rolled into the OR, and asked to move from the bed to the operating table. The anesthesiologist rolled forward to stick my leg with a nerve block, which had been suggested by the surgeon…which I am so glad he suggested! It took two days for it to wear off, I’m sitting here on saturday evening, and it just wore off today– so hopefully I have avoided the most painful part!
I know that when i initially woke up from the anesthesia I asked where Greg was, they told me was waiting for me to wake up more. I said “okey” then fell back asleep for 45 mins, then woke up to Greg there with me. The nurse offered me water or ginger ale. For those of you who know me, I love ginger ale! They told me to take it easy, I took two tiny sips, but I wanted to guzzle. I was starving, thirsty, and Greg brought me a chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. Rather than take it easy, I took a big bite. Best. Food. Ever.
I know I don’t generally write about my personal life really, but Greg is just the greatest partner ever. My mom and dad were among the first to check on me, THANKS MOM AND DAD! I also have some amazing and wonderful friends who were checking on me and encouraging me. Thank you Sarah, Laura, Charlotte, Makayla, Kristin, and Tiffany- you are all wonderful friends.
My next project is to heal, and get back out there in the world I love so much- climbing, backpacking, mountaineering, cycling- any of those in combination would be great.
In the meantime, I’ll catch up on posts from my last few adventures, maybe a read a book or 4.
Greg woke me up at 4AM, and “poured” me into the front seat of our truck, a nice guy at Miners suggested seeing it at sunrise. We thought this was a pretty great idea, though I would have just kept sleeping through it, but I’m sort of glad Greg did not.
He drove us through the quiet streets, to the panorama point pull off, and woke me up just in time to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful.
It was beautiful, and quiet. I was so glad we’d gotten up, but as soon as we got back into the car, I passed out till the next stop.
After a little bit of coffee, I finally woke up and began to enjoy the scenery more. I had always wanted to go to Badlands National Park, now I had!
The clouds started to roll in later in the morning as we worked our way back to the Black Hills, and drove down the Iron Road towards southern South Dakota. At one point I wondered why all the cars in front of us had stopped, Greg stuck his head out of the window….and sure enough there was a Bison herd was running up the road.
By far one of the coolest experiences, it really is not often you are that close to bison, plus last time Sarah and I complained we didn’t see any.
The trip had been amazing, the weather had been beautiful, and I got to spend time with my favorite adventure partner! I mean I sure wasn’t looking forward to surgery but at least I got to have a nice adventure before not being able to do anything for at least 6 weeks.
Greg had originally not been into the plan, but he was pleasantly surprised, which is what I had hoped would happen. Now onto recovery, and reading about mountains.
After a day of touristing, it was finally time to get on some rock! We decided to climb in the South Sea’s area, just outside of the memorial boundary and on Sunday morning, Magna Carta area.
The area is filled with granite spires, challenging but fun climbs, and easy approaches, which because of my knee is necessary. I don’t want to mess it up more the weekend before surgery!
We decided to climb a 5.7 called Sharks Breath on the Sharks Fin, the rock was gritty, and crystally- but great quality!
Our second route, called “Solitaire”, was a 5.7 mixed trad/sport route- and by far one of my favorites. The first move was incredibly awkward, but once above that it was smooth sailing. I had fun placing gear!
We climbed a few more routes that day, and one of them was rather spicy. I got to the summit of Second Hand Rose Arete, then we realized that the rope was not long enough to rap from the true summit. I down climbed to another set of rap anchors about 20′ below me, and it JUST touched the ground. It was 8PM and we were hungry.
Fast forward to the next morning, we decided to climb at Magna Carta, a bit closer to the monument. The skies were grey, and it was relatively cool. The chance of rain was high, so we figured we’d climb in the morning then drive out to camp at Badlands National Park.
I had wanted to climb a route called “Gossamer” a 5.7 classic mixed sport/trad route, and we luckily were the first people on the roue for the day.
Getting up on to the face was the hard part, and for some reason I was not nearly as solid as I had been the day before. I was having a chicken climbing day, but it is important to listen to yourself. I took at every bold, on this route- but I made it. I’ll climb it again cleaner, when I’m feeling more solid.
We climbed one more route on the Shakers, a 5.8 called Goin’ down to Harlem with a Turd in my Shorts. It was very chrystally, and It had been smooth sailing till I hit the fourth bolt, and had an issue with my slings clipping around each other. I got really scared at that point, which is really unlike me. Once I had that sorted out I was no longer in the zone, so I just took every single bolt till the top. It was at that point we decided it was time to go. I was done for the day.
The climbing in the Needles of Rushmore had been amazing! I loved the routes, some of the gear was old and needed replacement, but the quality was there. I cannot wait to go back!
The rest of our day entailed driving a few hours east towards Badlands National Park, and ended up staying at a cheap campground in Wall, SD.
It was a nice, shady, quite campsite at the back of the area, not too shabby! Next morning, sunrise at Badlands, then work our way home. I have had such a lovely trip, I don’t want to stop.