Hiking Handies: From Crutches to a Mountain Crest


The view was spectacular —but the climb itself was my milestone.DSC_1624

Seven months after ankle reconstruction surgery, I had hiked to the top of Handies Peak, one of Colorado’s fifty three “14ers.”*  In the previous week, my ankle had carried me high into the San Juans, up vertical DSC_1608climbs to impossibly blue crystal lakes and over treacherous rock slides to exposed wind swept crags.

With my surgical scar hidden beneath the strap of my hiking sandal, no one could see the evidence of my three bone and ligament grafts acquired in November of 2012. The few determined hikers we encountered around Durango, Silverton and Ouray saw only a mother and daughter pair, celebrating a graduation and a relationship, pausing only for photos and occasional gasps of the thin air.

OK, I may have smiled a little more than the average hiker —but it’s tough to contain the exhilaration of beating “you can’t.”263448_10151136090428148_585337907_n

* Mountains with an elevation of over 14,000 feet.

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Stuffing (kindle)


  1. Yours is an incredible journey! As a Colorado native, I miss the setting, too. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Many thanks, Coach E! I’ve no doubt I’m a lucky lady, and I’ve come to enjoy the challenge of spinning “negatives” into “positives.” Last year’s surgery has actually brought many good things into my life —even beyond my vastly improved right ankle!


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