Saturday, May 28, 2011


Thursday, on day seven, climbing up through Ochoco National Forest, I finally felt like I was in a groove.  Lighter traffic allowed me to lose myself in my thoughts, appreciate the unfamiliar yet inviting ponderosa forest that surrounded me, and even sing my favorite old songs loudly for my own amusement.

The day before I decided my ankle needed a break, and my sister Doreen sprung into action, calling a fellow Caldwell-Banker real estate agent in Prineville, were I sat moping, to see if there were any runners there who might host me for the night so I could heal. They suggested Norm Smith, who owned Xtreme Fitness Center with his wife Alicia.  Norm has completed many Ironman competitions and happens to as nice as he is inspiring.

Within minutes, Doreen called Norm and Norm called me and I had an invitation to relax at the fitness center during the day and an spend the night with Norm and Alicia. Thank you, Norm and Alicia! So I had a half day of rest, ice, and ibuprofen for my ankle, and I felt ready to test it out the next day.  Norm leaves for work at 3am, so I could get an early start and have lots of time to cover the 40 miles to my next lodging.

I intended to walk the whole day, and beyond if needed, until my ankle proved to be up for running again. I would stop midway to camp if my ankle pain returned; I had enough food and beverage for two days if necessary.

Before setting out, we weighed me--good news, no change in weight--and my stroller--yikes, 60 pounds!  I am convinced that I injured my leg on the full day of descending Mt. Hood, and my heavy stroller surely compounded the problem, adding to the strain on my legs and altering my stride.  I should say that the stroller is strikingly easy to push with 40 pounds of cargo.  I couldn't be more happy with it.  Yet, I underappreciated--foolishly, since I know better--the strain of all this downhill running so early in my trip.

Back to Thursday: the early start was glorious, and I was on top of the world with enthusiasm and optimism.  I had no pain while walking, and it was encouraging to realize that I could walk 40 miles per day if I needed to heal.

Unfortunately, thirty miles into my walk as I crested the pass and began a steep descent--the first of the day--my ankle developed significant pain.  It was windy and sleeting at the time, so I limped down from the pass as gently as I could, and the pain subsided as the road became less steep.  The pain returned as I climbed the mile-long steep gravel road to the bunkhouse.  Upon arrival I iced immediately, but I had already done too much damage.

I woke up Friday morning at 5 without improvement in the pain or swelling, so I went back to sleep and slept to 8--much needed catchup. I spent the rest of the day Friday resting, icing, and elevating my leg. I also took regular ibuprofen--6 tablets per day.  Even these things did not significantly reduce the pain or inflammation.  It is very hard for me not to make progress for home, but I understand, thanks to many of you, that I need to recover before traveling on.

This lodging was provided to me by a son Nick of Joan and Nick's from Portland.  Nick maintains this "bunkhouse" for teams of scientists doing fieldwork  in the area.  Living here at this time are Julie and Donovan, who are studying the movement patterns of beavers in this challenging high-desert environment.  Nick has generously welcomed me to stay on here to recover, and I really don't think I have a choice to move on yet.  My next lodging, also provided by Nick, is another bunkhouse 46 miles away.  While that normally would be a perfect day's travel distance, I expect I will want to camp along the way so I don't overtax my ankle before it is strong. I'm very grateful to Nick for these places to stay.  There is no cell coverage in the area, so it is nice that I have access to a phone so I can talk with my family.  Also, the view, as you can see in this picture, is stunning.  What a beautiful area!  Nick has also given me much-needed route information for my next several days of travel through areas with no services.  Thank you, Nick!

So, it has been a time of paradoxes.  On the day when I first had confidence and enthusiasm that I will make it home, I disable myself and cast new uncertainty on the trip.  Secondly, though I worked hard to pack light, preparing for the many contingencies resulted in a heavy stroller, which ultimately decreased, not increased, my chances of succeeding.  Both of these were predictable, and hopefully they will be two small lessons among many at the beginning of a long adventure.

Thank you everyone for your support in all of the many ways!



Joe K. Shoenfeld said...

Hi Glenn -- I'm looking at this week's Shelburne Falls & West County Independent with a nice front page article "Solo Mission" and a picture of you on the iron bridge... sorry to hear about that ankle but it sounds like you're doing the right things. Love the blog!
--Joe Shoenfeld

2LogR said...

Nicely written. In fact, I now hope for more rest days as they allow you the time to share your thoughts and insights with the rest of us. Rest, Recover, Return.

Anonymous said...

Keep your chin up and stay positive. Hope to hear that you are back on the road soon!!!