Saturday, December 19, 2009

Alexander Ridge to Lambs Canyon

Yesterday was an adventure! The short version goes as follows: Elk-1 Me- a big gash on the leg.

Long version is as follows:
I have a tag for a late season cow elk hunt that ironically encompasses the first 50 miles of the Wasatch 100 Course, the south-eastern boundary being I-80(Parleys Canyon) and a mile above the Lambs Canyon exit. So... to spend some off season time on the Course, and because that's where the elk are commonly found during the winter, Rich and I headed over to Alexander Springs to see what we could find.The elk were in abundance, but unfortunately, so were the hunters and all the elk we saw were running and miles away. That was no deterrent and we kept following the elk up canyon along the Wasatch course from Alexander to Lambs. As fit as we think we are, two legs with a 20 lb pack and a rifle in 18 inches of snow is no match for 4 legs and we didn't get remotely close. Regardless, it was a beautiful morning and just good to be outside.

Admitting defeat, Rich and I started our way back to the truck. There is a spot on the Course where the Lambs aid station is in sight and looks oh so close. You can see the volunteers bustling around, hear the occasional shout and cowbell as you come into sight and the adrenaline kicks in. A newcomer to the Course may think it's only 1/2 mile, but in reality the trail takes a hairpin turn back up canyon and takes you another 3/4 of a mile up canyon before turning back down to the aid station.

Rich and I were feeling a bit pooped, so at the hairpin turn, we just walked off the berm with the intent of cutting cross country through the snow and scrub oak, and avoiding the extra 1 1/2 miles of trail. Bad Decision. 5 feet down the hillside, my right leg started sliding on the 40 degree slope, my left leg bent so I could squat back and not pitch head first into the scrub, and I felt my left knee scrape over some snow covered rocks. Just a scratch and maybe a bruise I thought...until I looked down at the surgical style slice in my pant leg. Oh oh, probably more than just a scrape. I scrambled back up to the trail to assess the damage and this is what I found:

Oddly enough, it didn't hurt, and since we still had an hours walk to the truck, I rummaged through my first aid kit, pulled out my leatherman and 3/0 gut suture and went to work. Rich was offering all sorts of encouraging advice like "What the Hell? Oohhhh, I think I'm going to puke. You can't do that to yourself! I gotta call Lisa (his wife) to come pick us up cuz there's no way you're walking out on that", etc.Well, we made it out in fine form, I was only 1/2 hour late for family pictures (the last family pictures we had I crashed snowboarding 2 hours before and smashed my nose. At least this one wasn't visible) and I even managed to get a short run in today and the sutures held.

I hope that come Sept 10, 2010, things go a little smoother from Alexander to Lambs.


mrcandgladtobe said...

Nice Recap!!! Your crazy score went up about 10 points watching you sew that knee up. You forgot to mention that the needle was the size of a wire hanger! Merry Christmas! -Rich

Jeff said...

Wow, very impressive. Can't believe you stitched that up yourself.

BTW, my dad runs a buffalo ranch in wyo. They harvest all their buffalo through hunting. Maybe you should give that a try, no other hunters to compete with.

peter said...

Man attacked by rock, while with man attacked by tree!

This definitely proves what we have thought all along, you do not feel pain.

Looks like you could have used a two layer repair.

Christian said...

Wow! I hope I never need your stitching skills. Way to hold it together ;)

Mike said...


Where is Peter when you need him?

Jay Aldous said...

That's some nasty sh*t you were in. I've done the cutoff you took only once (albeit in summer when I could appreciate in full view the rocks that got you), in an ill-fated effort to shave off a few minutes in getting to Lambs, that in reality took MUCH longer than the trail down the railroad grade. Next time we run remind me to show you the scars on my head from when I had emergency stitching from a dentist. I'm definately not going to ask you to do my knee-tucks when I turn 50....

Erik said...

Yeah it probably could have used a two layer repair. But, as Rich so nicely put it, the needle was the size of a wire hanger and took a deep enough bite to close both layers. Surprisingly, it is still holding together.

where's the buffalo ranch in Wyo? Are they free ranging?
I may need a few extra CE hours to start doing knee tucks.

Rich Baxter said...

Does this mean you will be moonlight in the emergency room?
What is it about that stretch of trail that makes for good adventure?

Rich Baxter

Jeff said...


Unfortunately the ranch is clear across the state from us. It is located in the Laramie Mountains NE of Laramie Wyo. The buffalo are free ranging on somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 acres, not even sure how much land they have these days. If you want more info send me an email.