Looking up at the blue sky, the world doesn’t seem so bad. It is a comfortable sunny morning. The hills are a verdant green. Ceanothus and wild flowers are in bloom. You and your sweetheart are spending the day together. This assumes your vantage point is while standing. Or perhaps you both are laying comfortably on a blanket in the middle of a field.
While this scenario is partly fiction and partly true, the adventure played out somewhat differently than my wife or I might have imagined.
The hike up from the trailhead across from the Old Mission dam was one I had traveled a few times with the dogs in past years. My wife and I had been on another section of this trail last week. It seemed at the time irrelevant to remind her that Kwaay Paay is one of the 5 challenging hikes in the Mission Trails park. The hike downhill on the western loop of the Kwaay Paay trail was going well, right up until my wife slipped and went down on her butt. With the reflexes of her favorite animal, the sloth, I could not catch her. She attempted to slow her fall with her right arm.
Though injured, and a little light-headed, she did not pass out, thank God. We did take several little “rests” in the dirt until she felt able to continue down the trail and back to the car.
The adventure, having already taken a different path than we might have wanted, only got more atypical. We decided she needed medical attention for her wrist, but she wanted to go home first (home is 5 miles to the east from Mission Trails). On the way there, we decided a clinic in her healthcare network was nearer (but at that point, 7 miles to the west) than the hospital (La Jolla is 15 miles from Mission Trails). However, while on her phone, working through the “Select two for appointments, three for pharmacy” medical directory, we backtracked again to go home first (which then lay 6 miles east). I balked but we had to change vehicles. With my car running low on fuel, she wanted to avoid another misadventure.
At 1030 on a Thursday morning, the hospital ER was not horribly busy. My wife was attended fairly quickly (including a history of light-headedness worked to raise her priority in triage). With the diagnosis of a slight fracture, she was patched up and put into a sling. But an orthopedic surgeon next week is on the calendar.
Though inactivity has its own debilitating effect on the human body, the more people engage in exercise, the more likely we are to suffer an injury, a mishap or something worse. Yet I rarely have experienced, or heard others experience an injury while out with a dog. Perhaps, dogs are actually our guardian angels looking out for us? Walking our dogs around the neighborhood for the last couple of decades, my wife and I rarely suffered anything more than a blister.
Yet we are presently dog-less. Particularly in this park, dogs have to be leashed and so we might have chosen less hazardous paths from the start. At least, none that poet Robert Frost might have chosen. From her vantage point, I imagine on this particular occasion she would have wished I had chosen the road more traveled.
It is paved.