Didn’t End Well

I was so looking forward to a fun weekend. On my way to teach a class for Burke’s Quilters Unlimited retreat in Winchester, Virginia, I plotted a route that took me right past WebFabrics in Purcellville. My new quilting friends in Fairfax said it’s a fantastic shop and they were so right. Quite a few dollars right.

Somewhere around 80 Quilters gather to sew and quilt together at this retreat. The evening started with Happy Hour and appetizers. Quilters know how to party! It was so fun to walk around and get to know folks and to see what everyone was working on. The quilting projects are all different, everything you can think of in quilt making. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share and learn from each other, enjoy old friends and meet new ones.

On Friday, I taught Quilting in Layers Piecing techniques to 19 quilters. I love teaching this class because everyone makes an original art quilt. No stress for students and just fun for me to watch the design choices develop into a dynamic quilt.

These ladies were motivated and creative and were quilting their blocks within an hour of the class starting.

Aren’t these Fall colors beautiful. When you get a few blocks finished, the play begins. The very best part is seeing the artists– yes, they are all artists, play with design options. What composition will look best? Some choose a sampler approach and try out all the techniques, some choose just one or combine two. The problem is — deciding!

By the end of the day, input from friends and trying out various designs leads to a focus for the quilt. It’s nice to be on a multi day retreat because you can continue work to on this project or switch to another instead of packing up to go home.

I should have stayed and quilted! But I had plans to go hiking with my friend Laura in Shenandoah National Park and I was looking forward to spending time with her. I had just 16.9 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah that would complete a very long section from the James River in Virginia to near Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Saturday morning was sunny and delightfully cool. We had a short climb up Little Hogback Mountain and then a gentle downhill 8.5 mile hike.

It was wonderful to be back on the Trail. We spotted a few violets and bloodroot blossoms and foliage just beginning to bud. Could this hike get better? Sure did! Saturday was Entrance Free To National Parks and there were lots of people taking advantage of a beautiful day to be outdoors. I didn’t expect the Waysides –small snack bars and gift shops along the Skyline Drive– to be open. Usually they operate Memorial Day to Labor Day. But Elkwallow Wayside was open and Laura and I treated ourselves to BlackBerry milkshakes and had an unexpected nice lunch.

We started back to the AT with just 5 miles to go. Another hiker stopped to tell us to look to the right of the trail to see a cute bear cub at the base of a tree. My senses were on high alert– where there is a baby, there’s a Mama Bear! I’ve been bluff charged by a bear and I’ll just say– it makes your heart beat out of your chest!

We walked very quietly and Laura spotted the cub. I was trying to look at the little fellow and get my phone out of my pocket to snap a photo when my ankle rolled and I fell hard. Painfully hard. Definitely something wrong with my ankle. I took my time to asses the situation and quickly understood that bearing weight on that foot wasn’t happening.

I was so darn lucky. Lots of people stopped to help me try to hop and hobble but it was just too painful. The Park EMT Ranger arrived and splinted the ankle which helped a lot. An option was a “carry out” but I’d have to wait for more Rangers to arrive and jeeze, how embarrassing. Not liking that plan, I decided to try to “crutch out” about a quarter of a mile of uphill trail. Dear lord it was hard and painful and I think if I had had to go 10 inches longer, I wouldn’t have made it.

Laura, (who has now moved up from Best Hiking Buddy Ever to Exalted Angel status) loaded me in her car and drove me to the Emergency Room, down the mountain in Luray.

Diagnosis, broken fibula. Temporary cast and some delicious pain meds.

Laura drove back up to Skyland and hauled all her stuff and mine and coached me, swearing profusely, up the steps on my butt, to our cabin room.

The next day, Gary rented a car, drove to Dulles Airport to meet a shuttle driver who took him up the Skyline Drive to Little Hogback Mountain where my car was parked.

I’m home now with my implements of torture– daytime TV, the damn crutches and a hellacious heavy boot cast. I’m still swearing like a sailor but feeling downright happy. It just so happens, my friend Patty in my Quilt Bee, has a son that is an orthopedic doctor, specializing in broken bones. I saw wonderful Dr. Quercetti yesterday and my break is not so bad! No surgery, no big hard cast. Mostly I just need to be patient (I know, not my strong suit…) and heal.

Here is the really rotten thing. I didn’t get any pictures of the darling bear cub.

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  1. Oh no! Glad momma bear didn’t come investigate after you fell! Good luck with your patience and recovery. Hope you’re able to at least get back to your sewing soon!

    • Wow yeah… that would have been terrifying. Would you believe I totally forgot about momma and baby bear. Hopefully one of the other hikers could have scared her off. The cub stayed awhile and the Ranger wasn’t concerned at all.

  2. Leslie Skibo says

    Oh No! So sorry to hear about your mis-adventures. That’s not how I expected your blog to end. What a bummer – and it’s your gas foot. I can understand how frustrating this is. Keep up the good thoughts and the meds and hope you heal soon.

  3. Kelly P Meanix says

    I am with Andra, send in the helicopters! Happy to hear no surgery, take care!

  4. Andra H Rudershausen says

    OH MY GOD> YOU are one brave lady. I would have said, Bring me a helicopter, a sled dog….anything to get me out without walking….
    BUMMER. Glad to hear you are safely out and no surgery needed. WHY did I not hear about this from anyone? I’m home people! Keep me
    in the loop!
    I will be over with delicious fattening food! Love, Andra

  5. Betsy Schneekloth says

    Oh no! How awful. So sorry this happened right as the weather is improving. Hopefully you will heal quickly and be back out on the trails again soon. Sending healing thoughts.

  6. Nancy byers says

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery !

  7. Wow, that’s quite a story and I loved the way you told it!

  8. Lynne Laino says

    Oh my gosh! I did the exact same thing except I rolled my ankle in my garage, heard a loud crack and was able to walk on it for a week before I noticed a crazy bruise up the outside of my leg. You poor thing! Such a beautiful place too. I hope you can do some sewing and that you have Netflix!! I recommend Dave Lettermen’s interview series. Make sure you do the PT, those awful boots throw your balance off.
    Your students did some beautiful work!
    Feel better soon!

  9. Dee Van Ingen says

    The saying “things happen for a reason” comes to mind, but this “THING” with your ankle doesn’t quite sound right with this reasoning…….. Hope you take GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF and you’ll be mobile once again without crutches, boots/cast, etc! Even though you didn’t get a photo of the cute bear cub……..thankful you didn’t see MAMA anywhere!!!!!! You know too well that she was lurking somewhere close by!

  10. Oh Terry, so so so so very sorry to hear; more so, how horribly inconvenient for driving but I know you’ll find a way to use the other foot or machine on/off button to sew. Your active state has to have put a positive spin on how bad the break wasn’t! Wishing you tons of fast healing. Don’t blame you for the sailor verbiage~ just watch those happy pills! Think of all the planning you can dream. Best wishes… <3 Fran

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