Shucks …

The Fall: Just after 10 A.M. on Day 2, I fell suddenly, hitting my head on a small rock. I’d just come up a small rocky rise, and I looked up to see where Ron was. Splat! An immediate flow of blood came from above my left eye well above where I used to have a hairline.

I did not lose consciousness; I bled but it stopped pretty quickly; pupils normal; vision normal; balance normal; cognitive state normal; no headache developed … Ron did a great job of washing the 5 cm gash, and the scrapes and contusions. He used X-shaped knuckle bandaids to pull the edges together, after coating the wound with Polysporin.

So what to do?

The danger of infection growing; the possibility of a concussion developing; the challenges of evacuation (without any easy means of notification); and the relative nearness of the start of the trail …

So to reduce my pack weight, I left most of my food in a hanging stuff sack over the trail. And off we went back to George Lake. Fiddlesticks …

I won’t show you the photo of me at the southern end of The Pig up-and-down hill … when the sweat and the exertion made the wound seep and ooze down one side of my face …

So much new to see going the other way! The Pig was easier. The reflections in the quiet waters were amazing, questioning which was more real, the up or the down — or it all.

The vista across Threenarrows to the grand La Cloche Mountains with the clear blue sky and the distant gleaming white quartzite hills we’ll have to hike next year, not this.

The Large clump of Indian Cucumberroot, Medeola virginiana, that we entirely missed the day before.

A profusion of mushrooms, with especially brilliant Amanita muscaria Fly Agarics. (Others were much more lemon-yellow than this one, but I liked the juxtaposition of this one with the Lycopodium Clubmoss.)

So … questions remain.

What if I’d been solo? (As we left George Lake on Day 1, we saw a man just completing the whole loop counterclockwise in 2 nights and 2.5 days.) For this level of injury, I think I could have patched myself up well enough to solo out. But if I’d lost consciousness or developed concussion symptoms … what then?

There were 20 permits out for the 35 campsites on the Trail. We saw perhaps five of these permit-holders, mostly pairs but including the one solo. Just as we finished descending The Pig, a mother and teenage daughter caught up to us and seeing my bloody face, said “Oh, you’re Mark!” having passed the food bag shortly after we left it. So they’d have found me within an hour of my accident. But they had no better means of communication than I had. (Cellphone connection was virtually non-existent even up on the tops of the southern hills.)

So a satellite-based GPS communicator such as an InReach seems worthwhile. Perhaps I’ll buy one and share it with others of you.

I also need to seriously reduce my pack weight and to increase my fitness …

Next year, we’ll finish this hike, leaving something as a marker and gift at the site where I fell.

One final photo. When I got up from the ground to test my balance, I immediately noticed these two different scats a couple of metres from where I landed. The smaller thinner darker ones are probably Wolf or possibly Coyote, with the twisted tapered hair at the end. (We saw a Coyote on the road out.)

It’s the bigger large solid whitish ones with the blunt ends that intrigue me. They’re obviously older than the canid scats, having bleached over time with the salts blooming on the surface. In my understanding, the shape is more typical of large felids. The Park has both Bobcats and Canada Lynx. There have also been Cougar supposedly spotted, though the Park staff give the standard line that if it’s a Cougar, it’s an escaped or released captive one, not a truly wild Cougar. I wonder …

Hhmmh … appropriate to end this post and this hike summary with …

“I know what you’re thinking;

And we could call it that,

But let’s be scientific

And call it ‘scat’.”

4 thoughts on “Shucks …

  1. Oh Mark, I’m so sorry this great hike ended this way! I’m glad you stopped and didnt push through though. I love your stunning pictures so thanks for sharing them with us. I was delighted to see the first post and was rooting for you but then the second one came shortly after. You must be disappointed but you seem to be happy and positive in spite of it! That’s great! You won’t be able to hide that scar and you have a good story to go with it. Most of all, I’m glad you are back safe! Hugs, Eunice

    On Fri, Sep 21, 2018, 12:55 AM Tracing Spring Northwards — Bruce Traillium wrote:

    > Bruce Traillium posted: “The Fall: Just after 10 A.M. on Day 2, I fell > suddenly, hitting my head on a small rock. I’d just come up a small rocky > rise, and I looked up to see where Ron was. Splat! An immediate flow of > blood came from above my left eye well above where I used to h” >

    • If you ever need an ax-murderer photo, just let me know, Eunice … I’m fine so far, and I’m increasingly hopeful this will continue. ‘Twas quite the shock however … More photos at I can’t keep track of how many folks I’ve suggested look for your quilting! (Ron’s wife is a serious quilter.)

      Mark Whitcombe 1.519.939.0020


  2. “Starts with an S, ends with a T, comes out of you and it comes out of me…” The rhyme is so much better with the full set-up!

    So glad you’re home and have been treated. And that you’re planning to go back! ❤

  3. Oh my, glad to hear from “Annie Bee” that you’re safely home. Good thing you didn’t go solo, I’m thinking, at least until you have your satellite tracker setup.. I’m sorry you had to stop for now, and I’m selfishly sorry we won’t be getting the wonderful pictures and writeups you do so well 🙂

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