Bitten by the Wilderness……..Continued

So, continuing from where I left off in the last post, I had just had a close encounter with a rock, a little bit closer than I would have liked. I gathered myself up, as best I could, and assessed the damage for a few minutes. Then, I got back on my horse, determined to shake off the swift kick in the ass that nature had given me.

My first concern was to determine if I was able to paddle well enough to reach the launch point, where my truck was parked. At this point, I could move my hands, although it was quite painful to do so. I could still grip the handle of the paddle, and go through the motions of paddling, so I was a bit relieved with that.

What I didn’t realize, right at that moment, was that my body was running on pure adrenalin because of the accident, and that was actually blocking a lot of the pain. I felt like I could actually continue to paddle farther down the lake, even though it was painful. It was such a beautiful day, and I didn’t want to waste it.

IMG_0139 Panorama

So, onward I went, gritting my teeth at every paddle stroke. You have to realize that this is what I do, this is life for me, I don’t do anything else but this, so, if I can’t do this, then what will I do? Watch other people do it? I felt like, if I kept paddling, then I would shake off the injuries, and everything would be fine.

In this next video, I had just gotten back into the kayak, and I was, basically, still in shock, and assessing what I could do, and what I couldn’t do. I have to say, after watching this video now, that it probably wasn’t too prudent to go off and continue paddling like that. I should have gotten right back to the truck, but I was in denial. I didn’t want, what I knew to be true, to be true. I had not only broken my right hand, but I had also cracked my left wrist, but the adrenalin was masking those injuries enough, to make me feel like I was not that badly injured.

As I was continuing to paddle to the west end of Gander Lake, the adrenalin was now wearing off, and both my hands were really starting to hurt. I knew that this was not going to go away, but I still wanted to get the most out of this beautiful day that I could. I looked at the palm of my right hand, and it was as blue as the sky, a sure sign of broken bones.

Nevertheless, I was very grateful that I did have the ability to paddle still, and get back to safety, even if it be in quite a bit of pain. I’ve been going into the wilderness alone since my late teens, so that’s over 40 years, and this is the first time that I injured myself this badly, so I think that I’ve done pretty good.

One very important factor in exploring solo is that you have to know your own abilities, and stay within them. Sure, unforeseen accidents, can, and do happen, but those accidents can be mitigated by not putting yourself in harms way, by knowing your own limits. Too often, I see younger men, especially, trying to prove something to, either themselves, or more often, to others, and coming up with the short end of the stick.

Looking back on how this happened, I don’t feel any guilt or embarrassment at all. I didn’t see that slick area along the shore, and sure, you could say that one should always be careful along a shoreline, however, you have to try and balance things so that they work for you. You can’t live life expecting trouble around every corner, you can only do so much, and then you need to trust in life to get you through. That’s not to say that you can just go, blindly, into any situation and expect life to take care of you. You must participate, to the best of your ability, and then have faith that life has your back. That’s how I live.

Anyway, the painful paddle continues to the west end of Gander Lake. In this next video, I’m slowly coming to the realization that things are not going to get better, but I know that I can make it back to the truck, so I’m not too concerned.

I reached the west end of Gander Lake, and then I started making my way back towards the east end, where I had parked the truck, along the south side of Gander Lake.


These are the conditions that I love paddling in and, even though my hands were screaming at me to leave them alone, I was still able to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings.

IMG_0173 Panorama


I made my way along the rugged south shore of Gander Lake, knowing that my paddling days would be on hold for a while, once I arrived back at the truck.


There was a lot of tree pollen on the water in this area.


I turned around here, to get a better shot, since the sun was still fairly low in the sky.


Here I’m coming in to the rocky shoreline which I had launched from, earlier this morning, a bit wounded, but still a grateful explorer.

Needless to say, it was a painful experience packing the kayak back up and getting all the gear back into the truck. Still, even though my hands were, by this time, hurting like hell, I did stop at Timmies on the way home, to have my coffee and muffin. đŸ™‚


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Avril Frame on July 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Al ………. are both your hands injured? Did you hurt any other part? Take Care. Luv ya


    • Hey Av;

      My right hand is broken, and my left wrist is cracked, but no other injuries. Not to worry, I’m a fast healer. I’m already on the mend, and I expect that I will be ready for more paddling in about a week.


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