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August 2016

As one declines in age (inclines?) the bod starts to act a little more quirky. This past weekend, as I was prepping for a couple of upcoming backpacking trips, I set up all four of my tents in the front yard as an inventory of poles, stakes, rainflies, zipper health, etc. Everything checked out and after letting the shelters air out, a couple of which hadn’t been slept in for the greater part of a decade, I began to systematically roll each one up like a tight nylon doobie and place back into the Rubbermaid Tote o’ Tents. As I slightly bent over to drop in tent number two, a three-pound Sierra Designs Flashlight 2, a sharp ting hit me in the lower back. Recognizing this pain from before I instinctively paused, but I didn’t immediately collapse to the ground in pain so I eased myself upright and decided it was time for the sofa, a heating pad, a handful of Advil and a pale ale.

The girl and I had a couple of soirées to attend that night so like a tough guy I powered through several hours of standing, sitting, drinking and small talk. Sure my back hurt, but it didn’t seem to be nearly as bad as the previous two back spasms I’d suffered over the past several years. The next morning, however, was a much different story. The girl had to help me stand up out of bed. She did her best to get me situated with everything I might need for a day on the sofa: laptop, water bottle, phone, Kindle. She left early that morning to coach a rowing camp in Seattle for the next ten days.

All was good until I needed to piss.

After rolling off of the sofa and onto the floor, I slowly and painfully managed to get myself to stand up. The slow stumble towards the kitchen en route to the bathroom was sketchy and painful, and the danger of me actually pissing myself was code yellow. As I got into the kitchen I looked at the sink. I’m 6’3″ and then and there made the tactical design to utilize the drain in front of me. Not a proud moment, I assure you. On my way back to the main room I found myself stuck, leaning against a chair, unable to bring myself to get into the sofa. Twenty minutes I stood there, occasionally trying, swearing a storm, gritting my teeth, and subsequently trying to calm the dogs down.

The phone was about five feet away from me, well out of reach on the coffee table. “Hey Siri, call Keith on speaker phone” I yelled. And the miracle of technology swiftly went into action. Within ten minutes my boy Keith was over helping lower me into my leather home-hospital bed. Several hours later after another failed attempt to visit the bathroom (mind you, I wasn’t drinking or eating ANYTHING as to mitigate the inevitable need to relieve myself) I called upon another buddy to come get me and take me to the ER.

So now here I am, loaded up with prescribed amounts of Valium and Hydrocodone (I’m referring to such cocktail as The Limbaugh”) and I’m doing better. The pain is most definitely here but just enough of the edge has been taken off that I’m ambulatory within the main floor of my house.

Needless to say, this upcoming weekends’ backpacking trip through the Olympics has been scratched. This is not the gnar I was hoping to fill the blog with stories of, but it’s where I’m at and I’d might as well tell a story about something. Those of you who have suffered back pain can sympathize, and I with you. It’s incredible that no matter how tough of a guy you are, a injury like this can turn you into a crawling, whimpering baby.

With that, I’ll leave you with a few images from last weekend’s time spent at a cabin with friends off Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho.






Basically toe-ing the line.

I think I’m ready?

T-Minus 10 Weeks


This will be like last year but more and better.


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