Two days before Thanksgiving, I tore a ligament in my knee and have been in discomfort and a leg brace since. Being as I’m writing for the Outdoors page of The Press, I’d love to tell a grand story of adventure gone wrong as the explanation for my injury. Woefully, I have no lofty tale to tell. Insipidly, I slipped and took a tumble down the stairs.
If you are like most people who I’ve told about my blunder, you’re assuming it was ice that caused my fall. If only. On the contrary, I wasn’t even outside. I managed to stumble down the stairs in my house, and I wasn’t even carrying anything to impede my motion. It’s certainly not the story I’d like to be telling, yet I’ve found myself telling it over and over and over in the past 17 days.
Fortunately, I had to use crutches for only a week and I do not have to undergo any surgery. On the flip side, I will be wearing my brace for another month or so, I am getting very little sleep, and my knee hurts most of the time. Just about every part of my day-to-day comes with extra challenges, including finding outfits to accommodate the cumbersome brace.
Perhaps the most deflating experience that has resulted from my injury was purchasing our Christmas tree from The Home Depot. While I am grateful that the store had a very lovely tree for us to buy, Stu and I had to forego our annual tree hunting adventure with family and friends. Come to think of it, last year’s excursion did end with me having to visit Urgent Care, but that’s a story for another time.
As I prepared to write this column, it occurred to me that my days of sulking over the past two-and-a-half weeks haven’t been overly productive. While I can’t be frolicking outside, enjoying the crisp air, there are plenty of outdoorsy activities I can be doing inside. First and foremost I can take some of my own advice and reorganize my first aid kit, make sure all of our backpacking and camping and fishing equipment is in top working order, and sort through our outdoor clothing to find what we aren’t using any more.
I also started thinking about all of the awe inspiring and inspirational outdoor adventure media that is available. For one reason or another, if you’re like me and have found yourself indoor bound for the winter, don’t despair! The magazines, movies, documentaries, podcasts, and especially books for the outdoor enthusiast are plentiful. Here’s a list of my top 5 of each.
Adventure, Outside, Wyoming Wildlife, Backpacker, and Orion
Dirtbag Diaries, She Explores, The First 40 Miles, Safety Third, and HumaNature, which is produced by Wyoming Public Media
180 South, Blackfish, Free Solo, Valley Uprising, and National Parks Adventure (which has excellent sound track too!)
Into the Wild, River Runs Through It, A Walk in the Woods, Wild, and The Great Outdoors
“Absolutely Anything” by David Quammen, “Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold, “The River Why” by David James Duncan, “Ahead of Their Time, Wyoming Voices for Wilderness” (a history project by the Wyoming Wilderness Association) edited by Broughton Coburn and Leila Bruno, and “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer.
This winter I plan to read “Erosion: Essays of Undoing” by Terry Tempest Williams, another one of my favorite outdoor writers.
Julie Greer is a member of the Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources Commission.