posted on Apr, 14 2010 @ 09:33 AM
I have several learning experiences under my belt -- all a result of bad decisions -- but that's how we learn, right?
I started college in northern Utah -- USU. There were three dams outside of town, and I used to hike up the mountainside above third dam to study.
I'd found a game trail through the bitterbrush, and would gain about 2500 ft. of elevation by the time I got to a large flat rocky outcrop. To get
up the outcrop required a fairly vertical climb of less than 15 feet.
I'd made this climb hundreds of times, with my ol' wood frame pack. One day in the spring of my second year, as I was going up the rocky outcrop,
my foothold broke, and I dropped about six feet; a slender point of rock about two fingers wide and six inches long pierced my left calf, ripping it
and impaling my calf muscle on it. I struggled for quite a while and eventually lifted myself off the rock and hobbled to the base of the rock. I
could see people as little dots of color at third dam, but of course, nobody could hear me, nor see me flapping my blue gortex jacket.
My calf was torn and bleeding badly. I put several handfuls of moss over the wound and bound it fairly tightly with my t-shirt. Mistake. The
moss was very difficult to clean out, although it did help to temporarily staunch the flow of blood. Drank some water. Made a fire, drank a beer
(mistake) and used the can to make a cup to boil some water in. I should've had something better than beer/ hot water to clean the wound. I
had a dinky 1" X 1" sewing kit in the pack, and dropped the black thread in the water. Bent the needle as much as I could and had a hell of a
time threading the needle since it had softened in the water. Set to making some very ugly butted stitches. It was a mess, and would've been
better to have debrided some of the ragged tissue. No scissors, just a semi-sharp Buck knife. Ended up putting a couple dozen ugly stitches in.
Didn't have any food. BAD mistake. It was getting toward afternoon, I was light-headed and knew I had to get back down the mountain to my truck.
People were leaving third dam, and I still couldn't attract any attention. Cut myself a makeshift crutch from a pine branch. Hobbled down the
mountain -- it was dark by that time. Had a flashlight, but it was nearly out of juice and just cast a feeble light.
Somebody passing by on a bicycle heard me (I saw their bike light) and came and helped me to my truck, threw their bike in the back of my truck and
drove me to the hospital. My stitches were pronouced to be ugly, contaminated and were removed, the whole area cleaned, debrided and restitched.
The good samaritan wasn't in school there, but a skier (gates) in training. He wouldn't take anything in payment, which was good because I didn't
have much. Good guy.
I went back up there later in the year. Always made sure somebody knew where I was and when to expect me back, plus took more goodies with me than
before. Several people asked if I'd ever heard of studying at the library. I never could concentrate there, felt like I was missing out on
something -- remained and outdoor studier. Still have a nasty scar to go with the rest of the reminders of my bad decisions.