Sunday, August 30, 2009

Redcloud - 14,034, and Sunshine - 14,001

It seems strange to me beginning this entry that I have no photos to show of Redcloud or Sunshine. Saying why means remembering how in 2003 I was still clinging to analog - to my 35 mm Pentax, that is, until a malfunction forced me into the digital age, at the very cusp of which transition Redcloud and Sunshine came.

Not that photos are needed to enhance the experience. Nor would pictures taken early on have shown much of anything. It was pitch black when I set out from the Silver Creek parking lot. I saw only one other person that brisk late August morning. A guy came along as the sky began to lighten over Redcloud and passed me midway along the connecting ridge to Sunshine. After we'd both summited I watched with interest as he bailed down the west shoulder of that peak, a route that with decent snow cover would make a fine ski descent. As for myself, I backtracked north to the low point in the ridge before dropping down to the South Fork drainage and eventually back to my truck.

The memorable part came near the end of my trip. About a half mile from the parking lot I dropped to my knees unable to keep walking, my right foot hurt so bad. When I finally did make it back to my truck sandals were a welcome relief, while back in Albuquerque I arranged to see a radiologist. I remember the look on his face as he came back into the room after viewing my X-ray, and his strange first words:

'Did you hurt your foot recently?'

You'd think this would be an easy question to answer. I was at a loss to explain it except for a time in the Wind Rivers 23 years ago when I'd gone down heavily on the outside of my foot. What I had was a peroneus brevis avulsion, the peroneus brevis being a tendon that runs down the leg to connect with the outside of the foot just where it's bulbous, which had somehow yanked off (avulsed) a part of that bony protrusion and thus was causing me pain. The piece was too small for screws so I was advised to have it removed, which it was later that fall. And now I have three big words to think of every time I remember Redcloud and Sunshine. Oh, and this, the Aftermath:

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