Postholer.Com Login   Journals   Maps   Data Books   Planner   Snow   Google Maps

Julianne - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2010

Entry 112 of 113
First  :: Previous  :: Next  :: Last

View/Sign my Guestbook

City: Gardiner
State: MT
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 14, 2010
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Mon, Feb 7th, 2011

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 1,357
Journal Visits: 95,500
Guestbook Views: 6,485
Guestbook Entrys: 197

Gear list

Pacific Crest Trail Map

View: 1  2 
(Click image for full size)

Frosty Bison Feb 2011 Yellowstone


@font-face { font-family: "Times"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }

February 7, 2011

I saw where someone on the PCT-L asked for 'after' stories. This was a while ago, but I'm just getting to it now. I made it to Canada September 9, got home to Montana September 11, had Total Knee Replacement (R) and arthroscopy (L) on October 4. It's now February 7. I still have 900 or so miles to actually finish the PCT because I got off the trail after Forrester Pass due to health issues.

So, how is it going? The first 6 weeks after surgery were... how can I put it? Not good. I can now say I have felt pain at 11 on on 1-10 scale, fortunately not for long. The painpills I had to take did a number on me emotionally. I cried a lot. When I quit them, probably sooner and more quickly than I should have, I cried straight for about 70 hours. Yikes! Suddenly, though, it was as if a faucet turned off and I felt better. Weird, but good to know for the next time. "This, too, shall pass." will be my motto for the left knee someday.

I'm lucky in that my job is outdoors. I am a guide/instructor in Yellowstone National Park. (You can see posted winter photos on my FB page. My name is listed as Julianne Yellowstone Baker, so I figure you could find me easily enough.) Because of this, I have not had any sort of ache over leaving the trail, I'm not missing it, I'm not pining for the outdoors from a desk job in some city office without a window.

September and October were the most gorgeous autumn months in memory for me. The days were sunny and warm, the wildlife abundant. The warmth lasted into November, then winter came, almost overnight. Just the way I like it. 70 degrees and sunny or 25 and snow. Forget the in-between grey damp stuff. We have had incredible snow this year. In some ways that was a downer because I could not take immediate advantage of the snow. While I was so depressed, my PT suggested that I put my skis on even if for just a few minutes and be very careful not to fall, but to ski a little. So, on a day when I could not stop crying, much less muster a smile, Fred talked me into going outside onto the white lawn (which is usually bare), he helped me put on my cross country ski boots, and helped me clip into the bindings of my fatties (I own about 12 pairs of skis.... yeah, I'm a gear junkie, especially where skis are concerned). He walked next to me with his hand on my shoulder as I shuffled and snuffled around to the back of the house. I slid down a slight incline and he clapped. Fred told me that I looked better on skis than I did walking and he was right. No limping, just gliding. Within 10 minutes I was back in the house, but I did indeed feel better. I felt like I might, just might, get my old self back.

TKR (Total Knee Repacement) is physical therapy intensive. I went to the therapist 3x/week for quite a while, "mall walked' the grocery store first with walker then with cane (we have no mall here), then the gym as I got stronger, and was able to use the local Super 8 pool (I live in a very small town, no community pool). I still go to the gym when I'm not working in the field, but I've stopped the 'mall walking'. Almost daily I stretch the knee--straighten and bend, none of which is easy or comfortable. Just talked to my PT, as a matter of fact, and he reminded me to continue daily straighten/bend stretches. It will have to become a life-long activity, I'm afraid.

We've had some very cold days when the high was below zero F. The last cold day we had, I was out with a fast group of skiers and could not keep up with them because I could not breathe. So, the emphysema that I was diagnosed with during my 3 week off-trail time seems to be affecting my ability to move fast, at least in cold weather.(No, don't know cause of emyhysema. Not smoking, for sure.) Of course. I laid around for how many weeks? So I lost pretty much any cardio I had and am still working to get that back. Fred points out that I'm still less than 6 months out of surgery, and that I won't be back to 'normal' for a year. So, before I feel like I'm too old, decrepit or just plain weak, I have to give myself time.

Time. Time and patience. In our lives we go through what we need to learn, and it seems like patience is always hovering over my head, tapping me on the shoulder, reminding me to be patient, damn it!! Even working here in Yellowstone teaches patience. What, Old Faithful is 'late'? NO.... Old Faithful and the other geysers are not late. Ever. They are on geologic time, and just because we humans think we know when to predict the next eruption (predictable geysers are very very very rare, by the way), that does not mean that the geysers will follow our dictates.

Barbara Kingsolver writes: Wildness puts us in our place. It reminds us that our own plan are small and somewhat absurd. She writes more which always moves me to tears in this essay, but my point here is that the trail reminds us of the same thing. How many times did I/we make plans along the trail just to have them change last minute, due to weather or some other natural occurrence? I remember thinking: forget about flexible, we have to be fluid to keep up with all the changes. That fluidity comes into play even now. This last week, I had to be as fluid as possible as I worked with 19 great people plus another Instructor/guide. We had a great time but I was 'logistics girl' and we changed plans, altered itineraries, and worked to keep everyone happy and give them the best possible experience minute by minute. Wolves? sure, we can try to see them, but no promises. Coyotes? Foxes? you bet, we'll try. Why can't you tell us exactly when we'll return to the hotel? Because this is Yellowstone in winter. This is wildness putting us in our place. Bison in the roadway, frigid temperatures, oversnow travel speed determined by snow texture.... But, that is what I LOVE about Yellowstone, and about the trail. I love being reminded that we are not in charge. More of us humans need to be reminded that we need to set aside the hubris. We need to allow wildness to be wild, "we need to be surrounded by a singing, mating, howling commotion of other species, all of which love their lives as much as we do ours; and none of which could possibly care less about our economic satus or our running day calendar." (B Kingsolver again)

Like the autumn, this winter has been the most consistently beautiful and will live in my memory for its diamond days. While beautiful to my eyes, it is a very difficult winter for the bison, elk and other ungulates (deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, moose). Bison have been leaving the Park, walking past my house as they head out toward food and survival. Think of it this way: if you were starving in your own home, no hope of food there, wouldn't you leave and wander down to the neighbor who has a banquet going on? Yeah. Right. However, bison are a very political and controversial animal. "They" (MT DOL and ranchers) say that bison will give brucellosis to the MT cattle, and must be sent to slaughter if they leave Yellowstone. Funny, but elk also carry brucellosis, are allowed to roam and have actually given brucellosis to cattle (no bison has ever been documented to transmit brucellosis to cattle). So, what is the difference? Why can elk roam and bison not? Many reasons, and I think we might be getting down to the nitty gritty this year, since so many sero-negative bison may still be sent to slaughter. Some movie (I think it was a movie) had a quote: Follow the money.......Enough... the Buffalo Field Campaign has a website if you are interested in more bison info. There are other more middle road environmental organizations also going to court over this issue, so google it and make up your own mind. Me, I'm biased. I like bison in my yard, the two ranchers in this area who run cattle have no issue with bison on their property, either.

So.... that brings us to the elephant in the closet that no one wants to address.... overpopulation of humans. Bison, left to their own devices, would migrate out and repopulate the Great Plains. At one time that worked. Not now. Now, we cannot have Bison walking down Main Street Bozeman or Main Street Lincoln Nebraska. Nor can we have wolves wandering through neighborhoods. As we humans have spread out more and more, taking up more and more space, the wildlife is losing their habitat. We are pushing them into places where they just do not have enough room, nor food enough to survive. At one time, there was enough room for us to have our 'safe' areas and bison and wolves to have their space. That time is coming to an end, and no one wants to address the real issue of over population of humans. I love my life. But I have chosen no children. For many reasons, but overpopulation, even back in the 70's was an issue for me. Adoption? YES, all for it. Procreation? sounds lovely, but we are beyond the tipping point.

Guess I've been on a roll this afternoon. I had no idea where my typing fingers would lead, and here we are. Thanks for reading.

Favorite Gear of the Day: My wrist gaiters (.00 from REI). I took the REI design, bought fleece at 50% off and have made my own. Just a tube of stretchy fleece with a 2 inch hole in the seam for my thumb. I use them outside all the time, and they keep my hands much warmer than without. Plus, I am wearing them now as I type, since it's chilly in our house.

Entry 112 of 113
First  :: Previous  :: Next  :: Last

Journal Photo

Yellowstone On The PCT

Peace to all,
'There are some who can live without wildness, and some who cannot.' A Leopold


  Printed Maps :: Google Maps :: Journals :: Trail Planners :: Data Books :: Gear Lists :: Snow :: Elevation Profiles  

Postholer.Com © 2005-2020 - Sitemap - W3C