Saturday was a beautiful day – the temperatures were perfect for a stroll in the woods. Because of some major deadlines at work I was anticipating some Saturday hours in the office getting prepared for an accreditation visit next week. However, putting in some extra hours each evening during the week, I was able to complete the needed documents. So, the sunshine, plus the forecast for another week of bitter cold winter weather, called me to the loop trail at Caesar Creek.
The trail was frozen in the morning but during the afternoon the path became muddy and quite slippery. However, I was able to navigate over 20 miles without a fall. Any day of hiking without a fall is a good day!
As I have been blogging over this past fall and winter, I have shared some of my falls and the different forms of tumbling down the hill: face forward, sideway slides, and bottom first. Although avoiding an actual fall I have experienced many opportunities of practicing downhill skiing…. awkward, out-of-control runs… trekking- pole-saving, off-balance maneuvers, and other near falls that if captured on video would be hilarious to watch. I have a great friend at my church who happens to be a nurse. She expressed some concern about my blogs delineating some of my falls. She jokingly (I think) said that in the hospital I would be considered a fall risk. She did encourage me (without joking, I think) to consider exercising and building strength in my core muscles.
I have incorporated a few core exercises into my routine and have found them challenging, which just goes to show how right on she was and how weak I was in those muscles. However, I think the biggest factors in my falls are a combination of slippery trails and bifocals. Once the trail grabs your shoes, firm footing slips away and your feet lift off the surface of the path, gravity takes over and extremely powerful core muscles fall to the ground just like your shoulders. Those muscles sure help you get up faster.
Several weeks after our discussion at church, the nurse brought me some cool bracelets. They are bright yellow and simply say in huge black letters…. FALL RISK. I think they are great. I put on one my next hike and have not taken it off yet. I wear it with pride as a sign of support from my friend and because they remind me to embrace adversity (no adversity….no adventure). I figure if someone finds me beside the trail unconscious because of a major tumble over the side of a mountain, they will know that I understood the risks involved. The first aid personnel and ambulance drivers will shake their heads wondering why a Fall Risk would set out to hike the Appalachian Trail.
But Saturday at Caesar Creek I was fall free!