Saturday, September 8, 2012

Grand Canyon..the Saga Continues

Okay, so I haven't posted about my Grand Trip. In fact, I've been incredibly lazy about blogging. After breaking the ankle I spent one month in a cast. If you've had a cast you know what a pain in the butt it is. You get itches that you can't reach except with a popsicle stick or the use of a bamboo skewer made for the bbque. You are stuck in one position for a very long time. If you are an analytical type like me, you know that there is a growing amount of dead skin under there, too. It's sort of creepy.

Taking a shower is really difficult. You wrap a hefty trash bag on and secure it with some kind of tape that you can get on, but also get off. As soon as you step into the shower the slickness of the bag nearly drops you on your ass onto the shower floor, if you haven't already managed to punch a hole into the bag. That's when duct tape comes in handy. Anyways, you do shower, but you never really feel clean because, well, you still itch under that cast.

After 4 weeks, the cast came off and then it was on to the walking cast. Only problem is they actually wanted me to wear it at night. Can you imagine? I have chickens. And those chickens poop. And I need to go into the coop to let them out, and also to feed them and provide water. There was no way I was wearing that walking cast in my bed. I told my orthopedist he obviously didn't have chickens nor had ever walked in dog poop either. I mean, really? So I wore it all day long and took it off after work. Wow, real air, and a real shower. It took at least a weeks worth, maybe two weeks worth to eliminate all that stuff from under the cast. The first thing I did when I got the cast off was go get a pedicure. And a glass, actually three, of wine.

Well, now the walking cast is off, much to the delight of my coworkers. I couldn't sneak around my office at all. The walking cast had hinges that clicked into a specific position on both sides to keep the foot and ankle in the proper position. It was very noise and made a really annoying sound. Though my co workers said they knew I wasn't stealing anyones yogurt out of the work fridge because I'd be caught. They also noticed when the noise went away when I got it off a bit over a week ago.

Now I'm on to rehab. Having that cast on, and then the walking cast really wrecked havoc on my walking gait. It also threw my left leg out of whack, my back out of whack, and I have pain in my neck and shoulders. The achilles tendon is what I have to work on and flexibility to the tendons that attach to the ankle and tibia/fibula which are the two bone I broke. Who would have guessed you could get a clean break of two bones running a Class IV/V rapid while being in the raft? I've been walking every day about 6 blocks to a mile with the dog now. And today I did about two miles, but I'm pretty sore tonight.

Now that you're tired of this story I thought I'd share some photos of why running the Grand Canyon is worth breaking an ankle for.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Grand Canyon Adventure

It's Satuday June 30th (excerpted from an email I sent friends and family) and I am in Flagstaff at the Executive Suites Inn. I was injured in an accident on Thursday June 28th early afternoon running Lava Falls and have a broken right ankle. National Park Service helicoptered me out to South Canyon Village from Whitmore Wash at about Mile 187. The trip continued on without me, but I will be getting a ride in with the company crew July 3rd night or July 4th early moring to meet them at Pierce Ferry to drive home by way of Las Vegas.We hope to make it to Ely that evening and then on to Elko July 5th and hopefully home later that night.(Actually we made it all the way to Elko and Mike's wife Cindy had a fabulous dinner waiting for us!) I have a tibia/fibula break with crepitice. That means the bones are rubbing against each other. Glad it wasn't compound (sticking out of the skin.) Didn't know I was injured initially. We ran first at Lava and my friend Mike was rowing. He's an ex Grand Canyon guide in the 1980's and one of the best boatmen I've ever known. He's done 9 trips in a row the past few years and I'm confident in his skill. We've done tons of whitewater canoeing/kayaking together over the years. We made it past the entry ledge hole just slightly to the right and lined up for the V waves perfectly up the middle of the huge crasher but were tossed off right instead of left (bad place to be). Mike dug in with his left oar on that huge surging wave and I was high siding as that big monster wave rolled in on top of us; but he was ejected from the oars and I high sided more, flopping around like a rag doll. It was the most violent wave and water I've experienced before and that includes a couple of nasty swims out of my kayak from some huge holes on other rivers. Without a thought, I jumped into the rowing seat and flushed off the cheese grater rock wave chasing him in the river and got to shore and picked him up on river left. The current was really fast and not really an eddy so he had to grab the boat as I simply couldn't land it. Mike rowed us down to Tequila Beach ledges and when I went to take my wetsuit shoe off my right foot there was excruciatating pain. Those of you who know me well, know I'm pretty tough and it's rare for me to cry except at a very touching movie event or with joy over an accomplishment by my daughter or friends. Well, I was crying mightily. Still not sure what I hit as but the boat was so full of water we think my foot may have been momentarily caught under a box when I jumped in the rowing seat, or else I may have caught it in all the high siding big wave drama. In all the excitement and adrenalin working to prevent a flip and go retrieve him I didn't notice anything amiss until pulling off that shoe. The private trip following behind us was running as we were dealing with my injury. Their paddle boat flipped and there was a yard sale of paddles and miscellany so I yelled to our kayaker to get in his boat and help them out, please. They had three doctors on their trip (E.R. docs experienced in outdoor medicine, yeah!) When the other private trip got all their folks together their docs and even a veterinarian looked at my injury and felt certain it was a tib/fib break. They also said while it would be beneficial to get me out of the Canyon, it wasn't life threatening and even if I waited a week I'd be okay so long as it was splinted. So Lee and Mike went to work on that splint.And a good job they did, indeed. Well, after the accident things got a bit interesting. With two alpha males on our trip there was some bantering around about how my evacuation (if there was to be one) should be handled. In my court was Mike who is an EMT and Fire Dept. firefighter. I trust him implicitly. We discussed options of catching a ride out with a motor rig trip that would be arriving at Whitmore Wash heli pad later in the day and flying their clients to Las Vegas. Outstanding medical care and there was a high probability there would be room for me to helicopter out with the Hatch company guests and I could just pay them. Option two was call National Park Service on the satellite phone and ask for an evacuation for a broken ankle. This is what the Park Service also does very well. Alpha male number two was advocating immediate evac across the river and bringing in the calvary. It was somewhat amusing and annoying since only Mike had asked my opinion. I wanted to do the cheapest but healthiest way to leave and figure out how to meet up with Mike and Mark once they finished the trip. Egads, "I'm sitting right here, gang, and my brain is fine so how about allowing me some input into my evacuation?" It all worked out fine in the end. And it was Mark who reminded me and Mike that Moenkopi would be coming in to pick up the boats and gear we rented. So that was it--call the Park Service for the ride out. The only real benefit of the injury was I got to fly over the Grand Canyon and back over most of the river we'd just run. This is restricted air space, so I saw things virtually no one else does. It was reasonably clear and the views and flying just above the Canyon walls and even at eye level with some side canyons was truly spectacular. I've never actually been on the canyon rim ever so this was a nice way to see it. But I wouldn't recommend breaking an ankle or leg just to get the view! The battery on my cell phone was only one bar and I have a car charger so couldn't call friends or family to alert them to my dilemma. After the three hour hospital visit at Flagstaff Medical Center I was dumped on the street. Well, not exactly but I have a newfound appreciation for what is wrong with our medical system in America. I was a bit surprised they didn't keep me for overnight observation. In fact, they did a splint/soft cast and told me to go visit my own orthopedist when I got back to Boise. Imagine the homeless, a veteran with PTSD or an elderly person alone who has been injured and they have no friends or family close by. Maybe they have insurance or maybe they don't. I did, and recited it off time and time again like I was a prisoner of war reciting my name, birth and serial number to each doctor, paramedic, ambulance service etc. Fortunately for me, the National Park Service has an RN liason at the hospital that helps patients who have been injured in the park. Pamela was a wonderful caring human being who helped arrange lodging (credit card required as this is America,) and contacted Brady Black, the owner of Moenkopi Riverworks. Suffice to say this was not something I wanted as a part of my Grand Canyon trip adventure. Getting to the Flagstaff hopsital was more akin to a hitchhiking trip and a vision of Steve Martin hitching to the end of the fence row in The Jerk. It took a National Park Service helicopter ride to the South Canyon Rim and three ambulance handoffs to get there. As mentioned above NPS folks worked with me to find a place to stay and Brady Black who owns Moenkopi picked me up at the hospital and took me to get precription pain killers filled and to eat tacos at 11:30 at night before dropping me off at the Executive Suites Inn. The Executive Suites Inn was saving money by leaving all the doors open and no air conditioning in the lobby or hallways. The Europeans staying there didn't mind since this is the norm in Europe except at the most high end hotels. But this is not the norm in America. The room had nothing executive about it. It did have air conditioning and an ancient tube TV with Cable, so I watched the Olympic trials for swimming and track. I am not accustomed to having to ask for help. I had to contact the front desk for ice twice a day since I couldn't hobble around on crutches with an ice bucket. Apparently that is a life skill I missed out learning. I also couldn't juggle a cup of coffee or bowl of cereal at the same time. Why oh why was I never a waitress? Brady's manager Marilyn picked me up Sunday from the Executive Suites nightmare to go stay at the company guest house where I stayed for two nights until going with the crew to Pierce Ferry under the full moon night of July 3rd. The night at Pierce Ferry under the full moon was yet another adventure of sorts. John, a crew member, and I drove from Flagstaff leaving about 6:30 p.m. in temperatures of 74 degrees F. By the time we reached Pierce Ferry four hours later it was 95 degrees F. The moon was up, some clouds in the sky and we threw our Paco Pads on the boat trailer and a sheet each and I tried to find some personal gear to craft a pillow for my head and elevate my right leg. It was a fitful sleep due to the heat and no ice for my leg, but some ibuprofen and codeine took the edge off. Imagine my surprise to wake up at 6:30 to Mike walking across the parking lot. My group had just arrived from their 30 mile night float under the full moon. I'm doing okay now, but I was kind of lonely and bored out of my mind. Thankfully I had a good book called The Book Thief, that I finished up while in "solitary confinement." And Amanda, a crew member for Moenkopi rescued me and took me to dinner at the Himalayan Grill in Flagstaff where I had my first good meal since leaving the river and was surrounded by adoring Nepalese men and got to practice my very dusty Nepali language skills I acquired some 25 years ago. After the long drive to Elko via Las Vegas and Ely, NV I'm back home in Boise with my daughter, who got her drivers license days before I got back. We went grocery shopping at WINCO yesterday but their two motorized shopping carts were both in use, so I had to hobble around on my crutches. Wow, I was really tired from that when we got home standing on one leg most of the time. She gets to be my chauffer for a while until I get a new improved cast on Monday when I get to visit a local orthopedist.I haven't downloaded my photos yet but will try to post some of them in the next blog spot. Obviously I have no photos of Lava Falls so you'll just have to use your imagination. The other private trip videotaped our runs and may post to youtube so I'll post a link if it shows up. Thanks for the well wishes from John and Susun and the Goatherder among others. If it hadn't been so hot at Cornville, I might have opted for Goatherder to come retrieve me from Flagstaff. Hopefully this heals quickly as I have another river trip on the Main Salmon in September!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Goodbye Miwok, Goodbye Dancing Bare

There are times when you decide it is best to part ways with someone or something that has been part of your life. This weekend was one of those occasions. My trusty Miwok raft that Steve Romoff and I purchased together in 1980 from the original owner of ARTA in California, along with a few other friends who bought into the discounted purchase of Miwoks served me well for 30 plus year. I rowed this raft on three different Grand Canyon trips two of which included Johnny Montezuma, Wayne Ranney and Bryan Brown among other notables. The trusty Miwok ventured down the Middle Fork, Main and Lower Salmon numerous times, typically with me and Steve Romoff sharing kayak and rowing duties. It ventured down the Selway, the San Juan, the Salt, Desolation Canyon and the Green River among others. Steve pretty much quit rafting 15 years ago and simply told me his share of the raft was mine so the raft stayed with me ever since. Once I had Megan and after I got divorced running a bucket bailer with a young child wasn't very practical so I purchased an Aire Ocelot cataraft. Megan loved doing day trips on that with me. But her first river trip at age 5 was the San Juan on that raft. After that she also did the Main and Lower Salmon on it.
Wonderful people from the nearby town of Emmett saw my Craigslist ad and came over to help me blow up the raft, rig the foam under the drop in wood floor and set up the frame and three ancient oars and the thole pins and clips. They fell in love at first sight. Wade, as it turns out, had been a rec planner in Idaho Falls for BLM and managed the South Fork Snake. And has fate would have it, his younger brother followed me around in my career with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, taking three jobs in a row after I had moved on and up the career ladder. How ironic is that? And now his brother is the State Conservationist of Utah for NRCS. Gee, maybe if I'd stayed on I'd be the State Conservationist of Idaho for NRCS but I digress. Was and his wife made a deal with me that I could borrow back the raft at any time if I found a need for a bigger boat. That is the awesome part. My friend Norm Henderson, who sold his Miwok two summers ago cut the same deal with the buyers of his raft, too. So $600 later my dearest Miwok has a new home, and the owners are convinced this was the greatest thing to hit them over the head. Ms. Miwok knows her way around the eddy and I'm certain her new owners will love her as much as I did.

Fast forward to the next googbye. Dancing Bare is my Dagger Dimension tandem whitewater canoe. I fell in love with this particular tandem canoe 20 years ago or so when I ran it on a back to back trip on the Middle Fork Salmon and Main Salmon with my dearest of friends Ms. Lynn Green. We made the entire trip without a single swim and some amazingly fancy eddy hopping in Webber Rapids and Dried Meat, among others. And then there was Tappen Falls. Wowie Zowie. Another trip I did once I purchased my very own Dagger Dimension was with my ex husband on the Main Salmon at 20,000 cfs over 4th of July in 1996 while six months pregnant. I couldn't fit into my wetsuit so had to wear poly pro, fleece, a dry top and neoprene shorts and rain pants. Fortunately for use, we were the only people who didn't swim out of our kayaks or canoes on the self supported trip. And the weather was awesome. I ran that canoe on several other trips on the Middle Fork, Main and Lower Salmon along with Cabarton, Staircase, South Fork Payette Canyon and Main Payette Rivers in Idaho. It made a San Juan trip, a Dirty Devil trip, and several outings on the Upper Salmon near Stanley running Shotgun Rapid and Piece of Cake day stretches. But paddling on my knees has taken it's toll and so I listed Dancing Bare on Craigslist and my Facebook page. A friend who had moved to Oregon this past year saw it and contacted his friend in Coeur d'Alene who runs the outdoor program at North Idaho College. Jon called me and wants the canoe and will pick it up in May after he returns from his late April Grand Canyon trip. So Dancing Bare will have a new home up north but still in Idaho, loved by yet another river person. And Jon and I agreed I could borrow her back should I get the hankering to take her out with someone one last time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Solstice Schlock

Marti’s Solstice Schlock – December, 2011
With Apologies to the Dude who Wrote the Original

Twas the night before skiing
And inside my boot
Was a moldy ham sandwich
And what looked like a coot.

That stuff in my boots
Came from some where.
It smelled really stinky
Like Boise’s bad air.

“Who could have done this?”
I mumbled to no one.
My dog’s not that smart,
Perhaps it’s my young ‘un.

“Megan!” I said sternly
“Did you touch my boots?
They smell like dead animal
Or someone’s bad hooch.”

“I wouldn’t do that,”
She said with a smile.
“But I know who did,”
And she smirked with some guile.

“Remember last winter
Coming home from our ski;
You stopped for a beverage
Then got out to pee?“

"Your friend found the coot
Dead in the road;
Put it into the boot
But forgot to unload.”

“The sandwich, however,
Is a mystery to me.
Perhaps it’s an omen
By someone you’ll see”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Can Boise State Bust the BCS Again?

Well, football fans, it's hard to say if Boise State can bust the BCS or not. Despite getting off to a good start this year, we found ourselves without a kicker. We have a kicker, a decent human being named Dan Goodale, a walk on freshman who is learning the kick of the trade. But at 32 yards as his farthest field goal, we're sorely lacking. To Dan's credit, he hasn't taken it lying down and he is only a Freshman. So one of our local fans wrote a song to honor our lack of a kicker; all in good fun.
And let's face it. Boise State has beaten Virginia Tech, Tulsa, Georgia, Oregon and Oklahoma before. They can run with the big names. And most of those big names have been going down this season. So being back ranked at 7th in the polls again, well, maybe we'll see ya'll at the Sugar Bowl this year, and maybe a BCS championship if we can get a kicker.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snowmageddon This Winter

Well snow sports fans in Idaho and elsewhere. We're definitely headed for cold temps this winter and well above precip here in ski, snowboard, sledding land of the Northern Rockies. Though admittedly, the storm that we expected to dump 10 to 12 inches of snow at Bogus Basin in the next couple of days turned North and even South. But there is indeed hope for those of us afflicted with snow fever. We'll be at this years Warren Miller film on Friday November 18 to share in the revelry that is snow sports.

You probably read about Jamie Pierre getting flushed at Snowbird. I thought he had the record for the biggest cliif jump.

Evidently not . . .

Click on the title of this blog for the 300 plus accidental free fall by a French skier who survived while filming for a ski film. Amazing.

And Jamie, rest in peace, dude. You were one of my favorite extreme skiers and I am so sorry early crap snow at Snowbird underneath the first POW of the season took you from us, but more importantly, took you your wife and children. I hope you and Saucer Boy meet up with Speedy in the big free ride pie in the sky of extremely amazing people.