The Fear In Our Eyes
I was terrified thinking possibly I sprained my ankle and we were no where close to the car. No matter what direction we turned, we still had 3-miles to hike. We just barely hit the half-way marker on Hawes Trail Loop in Mesa, AZ and by this time it was already close to 1:30pm. With temperatures already raising by the minute, it felt as if it been already summer, but we were only in Spring. Thankfully, being well-prepared for the hike, we had enough food and water to hold us down, but the pain was what I couldn’t handle. There was no way I was just going to have him leave me to go get it help. Plus, the fees that come with fire and rescue it ridiculous. So, I had to grow some balls and find a way to make it back to the car.
He could see the pain in my eyes, as tear after tear continued to fall down my checks as he barely was even touching me. With the amount of distance we had going back and the type of terrain we where on, there was no way I could go barefoot with just my wrap. Between cactus, rocks, and lord knows whatever else I could have stepped on, I just couldn’t take that risk. I had to just put back on my sock no matter what, deal with the pain, and see whatever damage I’ve caused at the house.
Hurts 2 Move
Even with taking the shoe laces completely off, my foot was still so swollen, not even half of my foot would fit in my tennis shoes. The longer I stood in that hot blazing sun, the more dripping sweat I could feel have running down the back of my body. Between the heat and the fears I had rushing thru my mind, I was just all over the place. But mostly that I wasn’t going to make it. By this time I was starting to see the fear in Travis’s eyes. At that moment, no matter how much we tried to prepare myself to walk the rest of the 3 miles, I just had to get up and get it done.
So I told Travis, trying to wipe all the tears from my face, and acting like everything was OK. I said, “Let’s just go, if we don’t, we will never make it.” At first, I could see the reaction on his face, worried that I needed time to rest. We were both still in shock and couldn’t believe what just happened. I mean think about it, I just rolled down a damn mountain. Travis wanted me to rest for a longer period of time, but the longer time went on, the sharper the shooting pain felt running up my right leg. It was now or never, and I just had to get up. Travis immediately reached out carefully for me, at the time it felt like someone just thru a pile of cement blocks on my ankle, and it was just written all over my face.
Am I Going To Make It
Once I was up I couldn’t put much weight on it let alone barely step on it. That day we decided to bring our hiking poles, and that honestly saved my life. Remember, we weren’t on no sidewalk, we were in the middle of the desert on a trail, so it wasn’t like Travis could stand by my side and help me walk the whole way back. Parts of this trail was either to narrow, cutting it to close to the edge, or cactus’s branches sticking out on the trail. I finally realized, it was going to have to be all me,
There was going to be no help to go back. Every step I took with my right leg, trying to barely put weight on it with my tippy toe, I put all my body weight on that hiking stick.
Told Travis the only way I was going to make it, it if he talked to me the whole way back. Sounds silly, right? But at that time, in that moment, the only thing that would help take my mind of the pain was conversation. I didn’t care about my scenic surroundings, the wildlife, or even the few hikers we ran into on the path. My goal was just to get to that car, suck up the pain, and do it as much as I could. I was not going to be stuck in no desert for a night, especially with an ankle injury. So, I knew I had to keep my eye on the prize.
The Pain Is Increasing
Travis tried to get me to stop multiple times on the way, but I was too scared to stop. Scared if I stopped the pain would just get worse and I would not be able to go any further. I had this adrenaline in my system to get me to the car, and whatever I did I could not stop till I got there. I made sure this time I was watching every step I took, especially on top of loose rocks and gravel, kept conversation up to keep my mind busy, and did everything I could to put all my weight on this hiking pole, but nothing would calm the pain for a second. The aching pain started to feel like I had a heart beat in my leg. The more I walked on it, the harder the beat felt.
I literally felt like alien vs predator, just waiting for the alien to explode out my ankle.
After hiking almost 2.5 miles, I for sure thought that I couldn’t go any further. I felt like my body was just going to collapse. I don’t know if it was from the injury or just the amount of pain I was in. My body was telling me it was getting to the point I have to stop. After Travis checked GPS coordinates to see where we were, we just had a 1/2 mile to go, I just had to push it. I knew if f we stood there any longer, resting underneath that tree, I would not be able to go any further. So I sucked it up, took a deep breath, and took the pain and walked that last 1/2 mile. At this point if I already walked 2.5 miles, what is another 1/2 mile right?
Not going to lie it was tough. 3-miles on a sprained ankle is something I’ll never forget. Took me almost 2 good months to recover from it and missed a week of work because I was in such bad shape. The pain was like nothing I have ever experienced, but the moment I was healed you bet I was back on those trails.
People ask me though, why I keep doing it? Why take the chance of hurting yourself again? Well then let me ask you this? Why you keep driving a car every day, why jump on a plane to get to your next destination, or even take a bike ride on a public street with cars. We all take our chances every day, rather we realize it out not. The difference is, is when you hit that trail, your mindset just changes. You become relaxed, one with nature, and begin to find the inner you. Sometimes this world gets so hectic, we sometimes forget what that’s like. So just make sure when you do hit that trail, watch your step and surroundings, never know what can happen.
In every walk with nature, one received far more then he seeks.