Saturday, November 30, 2013

Post shoulder surgery hikes

Katie on the shores of Avalanche Lake on Thanksgiving
I was beginning to think I wasn't going to file in November.
The right shoulder grew more and more sore and hadn't responded to chiropractic or physical therapies.
An MRI revealed a good-sized bone spur on the end of the shoulder causing the painful impingements.
I don't rush to doctors for anything, but was forced to for this.
On Nov. 21 I got arthroscopic surgery that buzzed off the spur, which has knocked out my favored activity --- backcountry skiing for now.  It has caused some significant pain and so far I haven't been able to raise my arm above my neck.
The day after shoulder surgery
I'm told this will take another 4-5 weeks of healing before I attempt the skiing.
Had it not been treated there was the potential for a rotater cuff tear, which would have taken even longer to heal.
I began taking long neighborhood walks the next day after surgery.
My biggest problem is with sleeping because pain radiates in my right arm when I lie down.  It might have something to do with the angles and where the shoulder remains swollen and inflamed.
I need to be patient.
So.... I didn't plan much for Thanksgiving, but ended up doing more than I would have ever imagined.
My wife and I went to the Izaak Walton Inn at Essex and spent three days snowshoeing in Glacier and at Marias Pass.
The first day we skied up Ole Creek to the foot of Scalplock Mountain where we picked up the South Boundary Trail and enjoyed lovely views of the Middle Fork of the Flathead.  There were tons of wolf signs on this seldom-used trail.
On Thanksgiving we spent most of the pre-meal day on a hike to Avalanche Lake in the Park.  I was surprised the road had not been gated, allowing us to drive to the Avalanche Lake campground.  It is a 2.5 mile walk on icy trail to the lake, located in a cirque below Sperry Glacier framed by Mount Cannon and the Little Matterhorn.
We were surprised to find quite few other folks out on this holiday enjoying the trail, but nowhere near the number of people that use it in the summer.
Katie working her way up Flattop Mountain with Glacier's Little Dog and Summit Mountains in background
We spent "Black Friday" at Marias Pass climbing Flattop Mountain south of the Park in the Two Med country.
There, we found amazing amounts of snow, lots of solitude, some wildlife and incredible scenery come right at us from the Park.
We just missed a small herd of elk, but heard its members chatter as they fled from us.  There was considerable fresh moose sign as well.
I figured we gained about 1,300 feet from the pass to the top and enjoyed exceptional views in all directions.
Marias Pass rarely disappoints.
I used my poles sparingly and the shoulder loosed up some.
Patience, patience, patience.
Katie crosses Ole Creek on a suspension bridge laden with heavy snow.

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