May 27 2008

Back from the Canyon

Published by ross at 1:12 pm under To The Future...., Uncategorized

S’car Smoking at the Canyon


Well I’m back……

refresher on the trip….

fly to Vegas, small plane to South rim of Canyon, stay over night at Bright Angel Lodge, then 10 mile hike down to River, raft 5 days 4 nights, helicopter out to Bar 10 ranch, small plane back to vegas.   all this at 10.5 weeks

So was I nervous, anxious you bet….First having the weakness post surgery, not really exercising and not knowing what lies ahead made me concerned.  Flying was not a problem at all.  The hike was my biggest adversary– 10 miles of switchbacks in new hiking boots along with 100 degree weather made for an interesting day.  So at 5 am we were off…and for 7 miles I did great and then the burning kicked in…almost like my muscles said time to stop…but my mind said if I stop I may not start again…so I pushed thru the burning and interesting enough the burning stopped.  Also the burning was not along the incision or the gastroc but localized to the outer part of the leg.  So after 5 1/2 hours of hiking, heat and moving away (couldn’t really run) from a rattlesnake we were at the river.   Hard hike, especially with a 30# backpack but after undressing down to my skivvies the cold Colorado river felt great not just for my ankle but also for the rest of me…I had made it…

The rest of the trip was uneventful if you consider majestic views, great rafting, nature hikes, good food, camping, stargazing, laughing and meeting people from around the world uneventful.  I was able to participate in all the climbs, jumps off waterfalls and swimming.  If you have not been to the Grand Canyon I highly recommend it…. We used

My only real bump came after camping at a very sandy spot,  swelling set in at night to the point that I soaked in the lake, did my exercises while looking at the spectrum of colors within the canyon…Not a bad place for rehab.

Will post some pictures of the trail and scenes but here is the post hike one

Post hikePost hike  

So there you have it…at 10 1/2 weeks thanks to the surgeon, and all of you for the advice, good thoughts, I couldn’t have done it without you….

If  you have questions about the trip let me know…Now back to reality, catching up on all your posts and my first round of golf this Sunday…

We are one day closer to the end.

 Doc Ross

23 Responses to “Back from the Canyon”

  1. Tomon 27 May 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Awesome Ross! Glad you made it safely and had a great time. Definitely an inspiration for all of us. Can’t wait to see more pictures.

  2. dennison 27 May 2008 at 1:50 pm

    ross -

    Glad that you had a successful trip! It definitely is an inspiration, hiking 5 1/2 hrs at 10 1/2 weeks.
    I am looking forward to taking my turn at Grand Canyon within a couple of years!

  3. brendanon 27 May 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Ross - glad to hear from you..I have to admit I’ve been wondering when we were going to hear from you, and I was definitely hoping it was going to be good news. Congrats on that hike…I love the cigar smokin’ scar! After being in shoes for a few days, I can already tell that in 4 weeks, I’ll be able to do so much more! Let’s see some more pics!

  4. kev34on 27 May 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Ross- glad that you had a safe trip, and as you say what an awesome place to only 10 1/2 weeks you have looked the dragon in the eye and slayed it–you are the man!! I am going tomorrow afternoon for a second opinion, so we will hope for the best…any suggestions on how to approach the new doc about taking over my care, or just tell him my story and see how it goes???? Kevin

  5. juditon 27 May 2008 at 11:10 pm

    Ross, congrats on the great trip! I am heading to the Canyon 6 1/2 weeks post-op (in 4 weeks). I am still very nervous, especially that I am flying in from the other end of the world. But you gave me inspiration and hope and I thank you for that! Although I am not sure I will be able to hike at all (maybe still be hopping around on crutches) but I am sure the the scenery, the spirit of the place and the reunion with long time not seen friends will make up for the lack of adventures. We will be staying at Maswick Lodge and planned to do the mule ride - mainly for the kids’ sake. Most probably I will pass on that as well. Nevertheless, great to have you back and can’t wait for the pics. With a trip like this after just 10 weeks post op, you are my canyon hero!

  6. johnkon 27 May 2008 at 11:45 pm


    Well done buddy, sounds like an awesome trip and made all the more special by the fact that you worked through the “burn”.
    Johnk :)

  7. Doc Rosson 28 May 2008 at 7:54 am


    You will have a great time at the canyon. It is majestic and awe inspiring. It is definitely not advisable to do in a cast or boot. The trail is at most 5 foot wide, rocky, undulating and about 1000 foot drop at places. As for the mules, we were talking about that during our hike down. ….There was no way we were getting on a mule even though the guide said they were safer than walking and no one has died in 100 years…sounded like mule sh#$% to us. Way too steep, the only way I would do that was if I was blindfolded.
    Enjoy the trip and if you have not been before plan to be amazed.

    Doc Ross

  8. mbargoon 28 May 2008 at 10:32 am


    Great post. I like the others was getting curious about your trip. I think what you did sums it up. Our lives and adventures don’t stop just because we had a set back. If anything this has made me focus more and keep my eyes on the prize.

    Congrats on the trip….. now all you have to do is plan the next one! Good luck on the golf.

  9. Michaelon 28 May 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Ross- Great going. Having done the Bright Angel Trail (in the other direction) 2 years ago on two sound feet and legs, and being at 9 weeks post-op, I can’t imagine how you did it. It’s a testament to your dedication. I’m glad your trip was a success. I’m heading out to do some hiking on Mt. Rainier at the end of July and am anxious about that even though it’s two months hence. I certainly hope that the end-of-day swelling that I have now diminishes. Welcome back.

  10. Kristinatlon 29 May 2008 at 5:49 pm

    Glad you had a great trip. Snake….oh my. That would freak me out. I’m sure the vaca was just what you needed! I have a question…Today I noticed a small indention at the top of my incision..but later today I felt the area and it seems like there’s a knot there. Is that normal? I haven’t really felt my leg that much, but something’s different now. Let me know your thoughts. I go to several doctor’s each week…but I’m done for the appts this week and don’t return til next week so thought I’d pick your brain. Thanks in advance!

  11. kev34on 29 May 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I also notice the indention at the top of my incision every now and then–not sure if it is there all the time or not. Just thought I would let you know..

  12. Doc Rosson 30 May 2008 at 5:39 am


    Trip was wonderful..
    The indentation is usually some adhesions forming. Nothing to worry about. Good idea to lightly massage, heat and stretch. Have you had a massage yet???
    Keep up the great work.

    We are one day closer to the end.

    Doc Ross

  13. Doc Rosson 30 May 2008 at 5:55 am

    To All…

    This website is a great source of information, education and support. If you’re like me you truly appreciate this. Dennis takes a lot and I mean a lot of time on this site. So….Here is my monthly plea to hit the donation button. Please take the opportunity to thank him.

    Thanks for all you do

    Doc Ross

  14. eriedutchgirlon 30 May 2008 at 6:44 am


    I had a knot at the top of my incision. I think that it’s behind one of the straps on my boot, so I figured it was probably an adhesion of some kind. Actually, my massage therapist pointed it out to me. She mentioned that it was hard there, but I honestly couldn’t feel it, and hadn’t noticed it. So I felt it, and lo and behold she was right.

    As Doc Ross says, it is most likely an adhesion. I just massage carefully there and let my therapist work on it weekly. It’s getting more “supple” all the time.

  15. dennison 30 May 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Doc Ross - Thanks for that announcement, and thank you for your generous donation.

  16. craigon 24 Jun 2008 at 10:51 am

    Doc Ross, I don’t recall if you purchased special hiking boots for your Grand Canyon trek. I’m planning on hiking the “lava trails” in Hawaii in August, so I’m starting to think about hiking boots.

    Any recommendations for boots? Did you have issues with pain on your scar or elsewhere? Other advice?

    Thanks, Craig

  17. Doc Rosson 25 Jun 2008 at 5:37 am


    Go to a REI or anohter outdoor store and try on some hiking boots. I ended up with a Merrill brand boot. I will look at the model and post later today or tomorrow. It was a high top, firm support all around, was able to fit my orthotic in and pretty pricey. During the 10 mile hike I did not wear a brace or the stocking for most of the hike as the weather was 100 degrees. At about the 8 mile mark fatigue and burning set in but no pain.
    Also I found that when we stopped for water and rest the swelling increased so I kept walking while the crew rested.

    How many miles are you hiking, how is the weather in Hawaii in August and will you have access to small umbrella drinks during the hike will determine how you do….

    Make sure you are doing a lot of calf raises…

    Doc Ross

  18. craigon 25 Jun 2008 at 7:41 am

    Ha! I’ll have to look into a portable bar, so I can get one of those umbrella drinks. I expect it will be hot and humid on the hike.

    I’m expecting the hike to be in the 2-5 mile range, so certainly shorter than yours. What I’m not sure about is whether we will have to hike on any old lava flows (sounds to me like uneven ground, yikes).

    Other than you regular daily activities, were you doing much walking ahead of your hike?


  19. Doc Rosson 25 Jun 2008 at 4:24 pm


    I was walking on the treadmill with my hiking boots on to break them it and see how I would feel. Usually it was 2-3 miles and would vary the incline…my treadmill has the capacity to actually decline as well which made it more ‘real’.
    Also used a walking stick on the canyon hike to give me a little more support both phsyical and mental. You may want to look into that as the lava is probably very rocky, with erratic formations and anything that gives you more stability is best.
    Let me know if you have any other questions..
    When are you going???
    How many weeks post op will it be??

    Doc Ross

  20. craigon 25 Jun 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks, Doc Ross.

    I’m not going until mid August, which puts me at 17 weeks post op. I expect / hope, to be walking pretty normally by then. My only concerns are: 1) getting shoes that are comfortable, I’ve heard the scar can be irritaing for many months, and 2) bumpy and erratic landscape from the lava.


  21. Doc Rosson 26 Jun 2008 at 2:41 pm


    I can attest to the shoes irritating the scar…Have not been able to find a good pair of dress shoes. I am hoping with time but I may need to do a low cut dress boot.
    As long as you get a high top hiking boot you may not feel to much pressure on the scar. Problem comes about when the top of the shoe rubs on the area.
    At 17 weeks you should be pretty comfortable walking around. I am now at 16 weeks or so and have no limp, feel comfortable walking, jogging, just no endurance in the muscle.

    Good luck and happy trails

    Doc Ross

  22. craigon 26 Jun 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Doc Ross,

    “As long as you get a high top hiking boot you may not feel to much pressure on the scar. Problem comes about when the top of the shoe rubs on the area.”

    This is my theme today. A lot of irritation on my scar and a downright depressing day today. Catching up on all the posts for the day, but will blog about my day shortly.


  23. sheilaon 09 Jul 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Very inspiring to read this. I have to post my update, but I wanted to say congrats to your progress. thanks so much for sharing with us here.

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