This week we moved down to Old Faithful. It is nice to be back in the trees and it has also been a lot warmer here (in the 20s) which feels so nice! This week has been about skiing. The best way to get to meals is to ski and the only thing to do when not at meals is ski. Luckily, I am no stranger to cross-country skiing. To quote myself, "I grew up cross-country skiing." Friday after lunch another driver agreed to show me Fern, a 3-mile loop that leaves from near the dorm. Remember that old Disney movie about Goofy skiing in the Alps?
It was an absolutely beautiful day! The sky was clear blue without a cloud and the sun sparkled on the snow. The snow muffles all sound and it is difficult to even carry on a conversation with your ski buddy. The first half on the trail climbs up the hill for a view of the valley. At the top we had to go off course a little because a bison was on the trail and showed no inclination to leave. The second half of the trail goes downhill.
The very last hill isn't very steep, but it is long so a skier keeps picking up speed. Zac made it down without difficulty and I hoped to do the same. I was flying along the long downhill and around curves at a speed that was both exhilarating and also a little concerning. I came around the last bend and saw the level coming closer. At the point of maximum speed something went seriously wrong. I flew forward and face planted. Embarrassed, I rolled over as quickly as I could, pushed my snow-filled sunglasses onto my head, and tried to shake most of the snow off my face. I got myself up and the pain in my right knee suggested I would probably have a bruise there. After getting my breath back and limping a bit down the hill I assured my guide that I was just fine and we continued to ski. After a few minutes I glanced down and noticed a tear in my new fleecy sweats. Rats! Then I noticed some reddish stuff at the edges. I peeked through the tear and saw a V-shaped gash. After getting back to the dorm we took a closer look and it was definitely a rather meaty mess. I rolled up my pant leg and Zac and a fellow from personnel helped me clean it up a bit. I haven't really been into shaving my legs here, but I probably would have made time for that if I'd known anyone would be seeing them, especially up close. Later, I had a ranger take a gander and he immediately advocated some "professional" medical care. Luckily, the roads aren't completely closed yet and my good friend Pete (a semi-retired engineer from Ogden) had a truck and agreed to drive me to the nearest open medical facility.
So we raced against the clock and made it to urgent care one minute before they closed. With some tweezers to pull fleece bits out, numbing, a tetanus booster, a scrub brush, and seven stitches (lucky number seven) I limped back out. In two weeks I'll take out the stitches. It's swelling up now, but in the next few days that should go down.
In the meantime I am back in the Park and it has finally started to snow here. Everything is covered with a new white blanket and hopefully more is on the way. From my room I can see it falling against the trees. I'll be ready to ski again before Christmas.
I have learned firsthand that Lord Mancroft was right when he wrote, "There are really only three things to learn in skiing: how to put on your skis, how to slide downhill, and how to walk along the hospital corridor."