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Aug 6 2005 / Aaron

My Kingdom for a Working Knee

Christine hiking

Christine & Aaron at camp

Pasty Beached Aaron

An insult to cowboys, everywhere

Well, we got back from the Rockies on wednesday night and had a wonderful vacation. But things certainly didn’t transpire as planned! On day one we hiking into Banff National Park, from a trail head in the Kananaskis park area south of Canmore, AB. It was only a touch over nine kilometers of fairly easy terrain. By the end of it I was experiencing some discomfort in my left kneecap. I was probably carrying too much weight on it (my pack weighed in at 47 pounds). I lost so much weight over the last 5 months, I had probably lost some muscle in the legs, which probably lead to the injury. Christine started having bad menstrual cramps that night as well, and so we decided to abort the hike and the next morning we hiked back out to the car. It’s a good thing too because the hike back was excrutiating on my knee. It just killed to walk downhill. I could hike flat trail with some discomfort and anything uphill didn’t hurt at all. However, I could barely put any weight on my leg in a downstep. I’m just happy that I got the injury on the first day when it was still only 9km to hike out, and not three days into the mountains.

We made it back to the car in about three hours. The weather was absolutely perfect 30 degrees celcius with a gentle breeze and a few fluffly clouds here and there. We drove to the town of Banff which is just crammed with tourists this time of year. We found a ‘cheap’ (for Banff) hotel to stay the night. Then we went to a local beach and just chilled in the sun and took it easy. We had some beers out on the roof-top patio of a local pub and spent the day relaxing.

We decided to hang around in the Banff area and do things that wouldn’t require too much knee work. The next day we went for a horse-back ride down the Bow River Valley. The ride went for about three hours. One hour out to a small bush camp where they fed us a steak dinner, then a loop back up around some hills for a good view of the valley and back down the to stables. On the first leg we had a Mama Grizzly and three cubs run right between the horses. Our long line of horses advancing along the river valley had spooked the bear making it feel trapped next to the river. So she lead her cubs quickly between a gap in the horses in a mad dash for the forest. The three cubs all followed mama in single file intot he forest. Mama bear immediately sent the cubs up the nearest tree and then turned to face us all as we went by. The horses remained surprisingly unspooked.

The next day we drove out to kicking horse river about 20 minutes past Field, BC. We did some white-water rafting. That turned out to be good fun, although I was TERRIFIED beforehand. Once I got on the water, I was fine. No one fell out, but we did get darned wet. We had the stereotypical mountain-man ski-bum for a guide, which was great.

I finshed Cat’s Cradle on the trip. I liked it muchly.

I had been planning to go on a big week-long hiking trip with J this week as well. Now I’m not so sure if I’ll be able to because of this stupid knee issue. I’m going to do about 50 flights of stairs (up and down my apartment building) today, and see how it holds up. If it seems healed and not prone to further injury I think I’ll risk it and we’ll leave Monday. We’ll probably attempt the same trail Christine and I were going to do, but extend it.

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