With about a week to go before I hike down to the Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon, my preparation for the trip is starting to pull together.
I've packed the new back pack full of everything on the checklist, plus a pro-grade DSLR camera body, a couple of lenses, and a lightweight carbon-fiber travel tripod. The loaded pack comes in at around 22 pounds, and I'm still working on paring that down a bit. I've done a number of hikes of varying distances and elevation gains with the fully loaded pack and found that even with the extra weight, I'm able to be at or near my usual pace of about 3 mph. My assumption is that we won't be hiking at that pace on the trek, so I'm feeling pretty good about how I'll do. With a week still to go, there will be more hikes before the actual trip.
In Parts I and II
of this series, I wrote about getting a knee treated with hyaluronate, once it was approved by my insurance carrier. I've had the treatment, but I didn't go into much explanation about what it is. Hyaluronate, is similar to hyaluronic acid which is a substance produced naturally in our bodies and serves a number of uses, including joint lubrication. For some people such as myself with osteoarthritis in their knees, injections of hyaluronate into the knee joint helps to alleviate pain, most notably felt when walking downhill or stepping down steps. Hyaluronate injections don't work for everyone, and they're only done for knees, but they've worked for me for many years.
My knee being injected with 3ml of hyaluronate. The skin is numbed and then the substance is injected into the joint. It's surprisingly painless
Obviously, consult with your family doctor or orthopedist to see if this will work for you.
Now some trail news:
The perennially popular 7 Bridges Trail (Forest Service Trail 622) has re-opened after the much needed replacement of bridges three and seven. All of the bridges have also had numbers affixed to them to better help you determine where you are.
The recent wildand fires in Pueblo and Custer Counties and the smaller fire this past week near Rampart Reservoir serve as a reminder that wildland fire danger persists well in to the fall. Please, be careful and heed any fire warnings and restriction that may be issued.
If you're planning on visiting Rocky Mountain National Park between now and next May, take note that road work on U.S. 34 between Loveland and Estes Park will be closed to through traffic from mile marker 77 to mile marker 80. Simply put, you won't be able to travel between RMNP and Loveland through Big Thompson Canyon until sometime in May.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: email@example.com.