Saturday, February 14, 2015


continued from the above page; RULES OF THE DISABLED HIKER

3. Listen to the concerns of others when making your plans.

Upon returning to the hiking trails, there were a number of naysayers who seem determined to confine my travels to city streets and so-called nature trails that had been cleared of every bump and rock. But I wanted adventure. A chance to touch nature again without the sterilization process that so many wished to impose on me.

However also present were those I like to call 'the go for it crowd '. Composed of well-meaning individuals who often don't fully understand the implications of all they suggest for us. Clearly our purpose most certainly differs from the average hiker.

Whereas most are out there to challenge their stamina if not every muscle in their body, we are out there with the full intention of coming back unscathed for multiple reasons. First, so that we will be able to do it again without our friends and loved ones worrying about us every minute we're out there. And second, so that we can build a little confidence of our own. Not only confidence physically but mentally as well.

If we are truly to listen to the concerns of others when making our plans, it is essential that we find a way to keep all those concerns in perspective. It's essential to not scare easily nor trivialize any of the things that present themselves on any overnight hiking trip. That's when I decided to devise a little game for myself in the hopes of answering those really tough questions 'others' had about me hiking again.

I never really named this game as I was really just making it up as I went along at first. But for now we'll call it The Disabled Hiker Wilderness Stew Game. Because basically, you throw it all in a pot, heat, stir, and serve it up unseasoned and piping hot. Regardless of how good or bad it tastes, previous knowledge will ensure the recipe will get better with time.

To start out with, I began by soliciting and writing down a list of all the concerns that people presented me with. From friends, relatives, and anyone else who cared to offer an opinion. Excluding of course the ridiculous and obscure that often came from people who had never been hiking nor spent a night in the woods in their lives.

Secondly, with the help of my old hiking journals and simple memory, I compiled a short outline of a weekend hike where everything that had ever gone wrong on all of my hiking trip's was compiled into one weekend hike. Adding to it I further included all the mundane things that every hiking trip would not be complete without, from setting up a tent to going poop in the woods. It was important that I leave no aspect of this imaginary adventure unrecognized. I especially added the times when things went really wrong.

Third, I compile both these lists into a single outline of a wilderness vacation that reminded me more of a of a 55 hour long nightmare that included not only 'the concerns of others', but also the concerns laid out over years of my own hiking experiences as well.

Ironically... I guess it's true of all good stew's in the pot, that it is difficult to keep the tasting thief from taking a sample long before it is finished cooking. As I added the two lists together, I found myself cheating and I had to constantly restrain myself from problem solving until the outline was finished.

The fourth step then became obvious as I released the bloodhounds of my consciousness on problem after problem. Answering every dilemma as best I could. At first verbally, and then later physically as well. As I said, I wanted to know how I was going to handle everything. Even the little things mattered as those little things can seem awful big when you're in pain and not feeling within normal parameters. 

I found a prime example of this in an old trail journal entry from long ago when I had twisted my ankle on the trail. I was in considerable pain especially the morning after.

On this particular occasion I dedicated two full pages of my journal to darkly colored metaphors and line after line of curse words strung together like a tapestry of doom, simply because I had knelt down by the fire to make coffee without grabbing the water that hung on a tree limb only yards away. Yet considering the pain I was in at the moment, it might as well have been miles away.

This journal entry of which I speak became the inspiration behind 'The Hook' featured in episode 2 part 5 of The Disabled Hiker. 

Once I'd stopped patting myself on the back for my ingenuity, it slowly dawned on me that this was going to be an ongoing process. It was also apparent that this process had a unique way of preserving and addressing the concerns of others while directly utilizing my own experience to maximize my preparedness. And where it's true that every problem is in need of that eventual perfect solution. They don't all need that solution right away. 
For indeed the journey itself is why we're all out there.

 By; Terry Craig 
~The Disabled Hiker~
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