So Near.... Yet........

Blaze Mountain, Spanish Peaks, Montana

Well, I'm now about four weeks post back surgery, and quite frankly I'm going a bit stir crazy.  For someone who's always been active, the lack of mobility and inability to perform some of the simplest of tasks has been most frustrating. I never thought that putting on socks, and then shoes, would be an accomplishment.  Activity wise, I've been limited to a few daily walks totaling an hour or so.  No big deal other than it's a pittance for one used to covering miles, many of them.

In the past month, I've spent enough time on ice to prepare for the next life.  That is, assuming that I'll be reincarnated as a gutted fish destined for the  supermarket cold case.  I guess that it will just take time.

I think back to a line from an old Tom Selleck movie (The High Road to China).  In it he asked a wise old oriental man for some sage advice.  The advice was......

"The oxen are slow, but the earth is patient." 

 Can't argue with that.

I'll end with this quote from Horns in the High Country by Andy Russell (On being your own pack horse).

"It is thus that a man can reacquaint himself with old familiar ground and relive the satisfaction of traveling along the rugged flanks of the shining mountains far from the ant heaps of noise and dirt we humans call civilization."

I've always been a  hiker, backpacker, foot hunter.  Few things in life bring me the pleasure of achieving some high vantage and reclining to take in the view.  The mountains and the peak from which the photo was taken, are clearly visible from my home. It is so near, and yet so far.  My advice to all:  get out there while you are physically able.

Travel fast and light my friends.


  1. Sage advice there, Les. I had no idea that you'd gone thru back surgery. Seemed to me like you were fishing all winter! Anyway, I hope you're on your feet and hiking/angling again before you know it!

    1. I got out a few times, fished a little, some days not at all. Streamside benches and picnic tables sure came in handy when I needed to lay down. I wish that I had a good time frame for recovery, but I suspect that it's going to be a while before I get back to being me. Thanks though.

  2. Lester
    Hope you are back on the water soon and posting some trout taken from those beautiful streams out they way. As we get older it takes a little longer for things to heal. Hang in there

  3. Thanks Bill, I'll root around the archives for a nice photo or two to post for you. I watched an episode of A Pro Football Life this morning that profiled Jimmie Johnson (former coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Hurricanes). There were a couple of interesting points. One was an acronym...QTL. Quality Time Left. We've gotta make the most of whatever short time we may have left. The other....."the mind runs the body, the body doesn't run the mind." Jimmie railed on his players to be as physically fit as possible. In my case, my psyche and back are slugging it out. Right now I'm not sure which will win.

    On a brighter note, this is a nice, sunny and windless first day of April. I may even get a little crazy, and rig a rod and try a cast or two on the lawn. Now that's living!

  4. Geez, Lester, did I know you had had back surgery? Not sure. In any case, I have been a poor friend to not have been around to cheer you on. This post is a wise, if not a bit sad, one with a spectacular hiking picture. I enjoyed it immensely, but not as much as the one you will write in the future saying you are back on the trail.
    My cousin Sue and her husband Les live in Bozeman also, and he is a fly-fisher too (and he is another Les). I mentioned you to him awhile ago, but since then he has had knee replacement surgery and has probably not "met" you yet. As you are both in somewhat the same predicament, perhaps you might enjoy dropping by his blog to get acquainted. Tell him I sent you! The Les AuCoin Blog.

  5. Thank you Lydia. Believe me, I too am looking forward to the day when I'll be able to hit the trail and show off some photos. For now I'll have to be content with short neighborhood walkabouts.

    I checked out Les' blog. Thanks for the heads up. His most recent post is timely.

  6. Yes, it is.
    I know you will follow doctor's orders to ensure that you will be following a great trail or river this summer!

  7. Nice post and so true. I clearly recall the days when my total accomplishments were the following: get dressed, microwave oatmeal, rest, get the mail, lay on the couch and watch the worst daytime TV imaginable, eat dinner, go to bed.

    Human spinal columns have to be the most poorly designed on the planet. But don't despair! Keep walking, even when it hurts a bit, work on those core muscles and you'll be out there in no time. I had surgery in December (2000) and went backpacking by October of 2001. It can be done! It just seems like forever...

    1. Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement Kelly. Microwaved oatmeal must be the breakfast of choice for folks who have had lumbar surgery.

      Today is six weeks post surgery. Can't say that I've seen any improvement yet. So, walking it is. It shouldn't be too tough working on the core muscles though, I don't have many to work on!


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