I think it’s good to admit that we’re not perfect. That mistakes happen and that sometimes we have difficult and challenging days in life and on the trail. Please welcome Jennifer to the blog today. This post wasn’t super easy for her to share so be sure to drop some love for her in the comments and share an experience with us on our facebook page about when you got up after a fall. Thanks for sharing this experience with us Jennifer!
I get these spontaneous ideas sometimes, turn to my husband and say; “I’m going to take Parker out to the mountains tomorrow.” I texted my mom, asked her if she wanted to join me and little man the next day and went to sleep knowing that in 12 hours I would be in Shenandoah National Park.
Our goal for that August day was Mary’s Rock, listed by the NPS as one of the recommended hikes out of over 500 trails you can access in the park. I had heard other local hikers talk about it before and the view was supposed to be amazing.
At less than 4 mi total and 1,200ft elevation gain combined with its proximity to the edge of the park for easy access back to the road home it was supposed to be the perfect school day hike. Get out there, hike, get back to my van and home before my oldest was home from school.
The majority of the hike was perfect, we hiked along the Appalachian Trail for 95% of the time, until we turned off to take the path to the Summit. The views were worth it, the trees were green and lush.
My son had a great time being let out of his frame carrier to climb all over the rocks ringed around the cleared summit area and we had a lovely lunch before heading back now.
Now I know you’re thinking to yourself, self, she said the majority of the hike was perfect, when is this other shoe going to drop?
Well, let me tell you, my friends. The last damn 10 minutes of the hike is when it all went horribly wrong for me.
This particular section of the A.T. was very rocky, the tiny lose rocks that you’ve constantly got to watch your feet on and you never feel like you’re properly on even ground.
On the way up I powered right through it, on the way down with about 50lbs of gear (the carrier, the kid, all our gear…I gotta work on packing light), well I had to be much more careful.
I was relying heavily on my hiking pole to be there for me and help with the support I needed going down the trail. And then one of the worst things that can possibly happen to a parent while babywearing happened to me.
I shouted, and my mom reached out and grabbed the handle on the back of my carrier, very likely having stopped me from falling flat on my face. (Thankfully I was wearing my son in my Deuter on my back that day).
As is I went down on my right knee HARD, remember those loose rocks? Well as I fell I kept sliding along them, after my right leg went down and skidded across the rocks my left leg went down underneath me at an angle so my left knee, shin and ankle slid across the dirt, rocks ripping into my skin.
I sat there and cried for a moment, I’m not too proud to admit it.
I also shouted some things I wouldn’t normally say with my mother present.
I’ve got to say though thank goodness I didn’t hike alone that day and thank goodness that carrier is super safe. Most importantly my son was 100% okay, just startled that all of a sudden mommy went from standing to sitting on the ground having a temper tantrum.
My mom helped me back up and I hobbled the rest of the way to the van, threw some water over all my cuts and pasted on a quick layer of antibacterial so I could get home in the knick of time for my oldest to get home from school.
That night I cried even more, I hurt all over, questioned myself; what could I have done differently?
What would have happened if my mom hadn’t been there to help me?
What if my son had gotten hurt?
Suddenly that night of all the hundreds of hours I’ve spent wearing my son it seemed threatening and dangerous, the ‘what ifs’ were eating away at me and I was scared to get back out on the trail with him.
I took the next day off because I was swollen, bloody and achy and still had pieces of the A.T. embedded in my wounds. (This of course can be a morbid silver lining, now I carry it with me wherever I go!)
I knew I had to get back out with him though and couldn’t let fear stop me from doing what both myself and my son enjoy so much.
I kept it simple and easy, I was still supposed to be resting but I don’t do well staying trapped in the house with a kid who just needs to get out and explore.
I picked a flat short trail less than a mile and we were okay, nothing bad happened to us and little by little with each passing day I felt more confident.
If I stop and think about it too long even now I feel myself getting a little teary.
It’s not something anyone ever wants to happen, but it does.
A stain on your confidence, mentality, and physical self is nothing to trifle with.
You can’t push yourself if you lose your way one day on the trail.
Just know that we are all human and one of these days, you’re going to fall if you haven’t already.
It’s scary, whether you’re babywearing or not, it can really shake you up.
For me though, I can’t live without hiking.
Giving up was not an option, and for me to be able to hike I need to be able to babywear.
Like all aspects of life just don’t let yourself get too comfortable or complacent, always be on alert or paying attention so that you don’t go looking for accidents on the trail.
Be sure to brush yourself off, and get back up again.