Monday, February 9, 2009

Climbing Mount Coolum

Being a new amputee isn't ALL great parking, fancy crutches and jaw dropping second looks at the mall, sometimes it can be a challenge too! I know that might be hard to believe so allow me to elaborate.

Take for example hiking or climbing a small mountain as was the case this weekend at Mount Coolum. I dare you to drive past that mountain without saying "we should climb that". It's just so damned tempting!

We pulled in and scouted the terrain. The sign at the bottom read "Experienced climbers only." CHECK! If that's the only stipulation, we should be fine. We've done hundreds of these hikes in our lives, all very successfully. Granted, most of those were completed bi-pedally but logically we should be able to assume that being a tri-ped can only help matters!

Now normally, one sign is enough for a guy like me, but I promised my Mom I'd be more careful. We looked around and sure enough, we found a second sign showing a man using a walking stick to make himself tri-pedal just like me. Clearly this is an advantage! His pack was much bigger than mine and he didn't even look tired! That was enough evidence for us, we started the long trek up an endless staircase to the trail head.

A hike like this would usually take us about 30 minutes and that's with ample photo time. A quick sprint to the top, plant the flag to covertly claim another small piece of this strange island for the great nation of Canada, a few quick snaps, a mouthful of orange vitamin water and a quick scree-ski to the base.

We must've been tired because it took us a lot longer than it used to. Could it be that we're getting out of shape? Perhaps we just needed more vitamin water... I knew we shouldn't have switched brands!

We hiked for about 45 minutes, deep into the "home of the peregrine falcon", or so another sign told us. The trail got steeper and much more rocky. We passed a sign that mentioned death or danger or... something... but we were so far off our normal pace, we didn't have time to read it. I'm sure it wasn't important but the little man with the walking stick was crossed out so I guess he didn't make it that high.

Not to worry, we didn't actually go beyond the giant unmistakable DANGER sign. I'm enjoying this period of challenge but I'm not so dumb as to do something that could risk my progress and my brilliant partner in crime is no fool either. She's a tough chick but I doubt very much that she's going to be able to piggy-back me down something like that.

Unfortunately we weren't able to make it to the summit on this attempt, a fact that still sits sour with me. We did get pretty high up but there came a point where we made the collective decision that the terrain was getting too treacherous to continue. Not too treacherous for going up, just for coming back down. There comes a point where crutches begin to high-center a person and the drops become a little too extreme when coming down a very steep slope.

Back at the base of the mountain for a little fishing, some salt and vinegar chips and a slug of orange vitamin water. This is the good life my friends, drink it up!


  1. Nicely done.... that ain't easy on crutches. Your armpits must be seriously tough at this point! Very impressed.

  2. Well done! I just saw a blurp on the all night ABC news re "side sticks" with cool interchangeable tips just for mountain climbing! That's what I'm looking for now som maybe you should check it out!
    Good luck!! CP