The suffering that I must go through to please you people. As I sit here on the couch and looking at my right leg propped up by a pillow, I see that my ankle is thicker than my calf muscle. I had a friend in high school—a girl—who’s legs looked like this. She always lamented that they installed her legs upside-down. That’s how my right leg looks now.
I managed to injure my ankle by twisting it on the hike back from Coyote Gulch in Utah. My pain worse because I didn’t get the shot I wanted. I was this … close. I allowed four hours to trek out, get a shot, and then hike back before the sun went down. The two-mile trail alternated between fine red-powder sand and slick rock which I preferred because I made better time while I walked it. As I neared the canyon, I was concerned because I couldn’t see it. It’s the same as Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River, so you have to walk to the edge to look into the chasm. The photo shows just how close I got and when I took it, I was not on the trail. What you can’t see in the picture is that beyond the cairn the trail descends like walking down a ball. To get back up, I would have needed to crawl on my hands and knees. Incidentally, that’s a very narrow ridge to be carrying a camera pack and tripod, so yes, I was a-scared. (BTW—here’s a link to what’s down there. It’s copyrighted so I can’t post it, but I can send you for a look.)
I twisted my ankle a third of the way back, and it’s the third time I’ve injured the same ankle. Each time I was carrying a load and my foot rolled-over 90º so that my entire weight was on that pointy ankle bone. Like the other times, I didn’t have a choice but to keep walking and the two-mile trail turned into four miles, then six. I became concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get back to the truck before dark. I began having thoughts about my demise. I wondered if I’d have to eat the dead, except I was alone. I questioned when my camera and tripod would become so much of a burden that I’d discard them along the trail. In case you’re worried, I didn’t die. I got to the truck at sunset and spent the night alone under the stars. I drove back to town the next morning and called my caring wife to tell her I had to come home early—she would need time to get rid of her boyfriends—the Chippendale Dancers.
I think that after the first injury, my ankle is susceptible to re-injury. I wear good hiking boots, and because of their high tops, they have more support. With all the walking, hiking, and biking I’ve done in the past couple of years, I thought my ankle would be stronger. If I want to get back out there and get those out-of-the-way shots, I’m going to have to do strength training exercises and tape my foot up before a hike.
Instead—I’m buying a drone. The one I’ve settled on has a four-kilometer range, and I could fly it out there and get my shots from the parking lot. I’ve pondered how to get more height in my photos anyway, and a drone is a perfect answer. A drone is a medical necessity—no less than an Iron Lung. The challenge I have is that I want a quality camera equal to my current gear. That camera is $21K, and lenses start at $10K. A drone stout enough to fly it is another $7K, and the controller is another couple of grand. Sure, fifty-thousand dollars sounds like a lot of money, but that’s the cost of an emergency room visit and a couple of nights in intensive care. I wonder if my health insurance will cover it if my doctor writes a prescription.
Until next time—jw