“You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there is no joy in living your whole life on the ground.”

That’s an anonymous quote I came across Wednesday morning after my son shared a jaw-dropping video with me from Twitter just the day before.

“Oh, sure. Tell that to the poor lady whose helicopter rescue after a hiking mishap went terribly wrong,” I thought.

My son and I weren’t the only ones who saw it. By early Wednesday morning, it had been viewed more than 10 million times on social media.

“It” was video of a 74-year old woman being “rescued” after she tripped and fell during a routine hike in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. Because she was injured on the second-highest point in the area, rescuers opted for what they call a long line rescue, in which one of them is lowered to the ground to secure the woman in a basket-type stretcher at the end of a long line before flying her to the hospital.

When they pulled her up, the red stretcher began to spin and, within seconds, the 74-year-old was violently spinning like an out-of-control carnival ride. This went on for about a minute!

With that video came the end of my desire to hike the Appalachian Trail this month.

Authorities said a line broke, which caused the violent spinning but it is something they train for, even though it’s only happened twice in 210 helicopter hoist rescues on mountain missions in six years.

But crazy things like that happen to me all the time. I defy the odds.

Take for instance April 2016, when a friend convinced me to ride her horse. I had foolishly, and through no fault of his, fallen off my own horse twice within four months.

“You need to ride Blaze. He’s the best horse in the world; 3-year-olds to 83-year-olds ride him. He will bring back your confidence as a rider.”

Despite my misgivings the morning of the ride and the Tom Petty song, “Take Out Some Insurance” playing on the radio when I pulled out of my garage, I forged ahead to meet and ride Blaze.

Ten minutes into the ride, “The best horse in the world” went down like a ton of bricks, breaking my right fibula. And Tom Petty was right. I should have taken out insurance because I didn’t have any.

Who has those kinds of things happen? Who else can be riding down the highway with their hand out the window and have bird poop land in the middle of their palm? I do!

Speaking of birds, as I finally completed my latest move several months ago, somehow a bird got into my SUV. When I opened the doors and the hatchback to help it get out, it got out all right. It flew directly into my house!

More recently, I was visiting friends in their very lovely home and left the sliding glass door open, just as they do frequently.

When I heard what I thought was a mourning dove very clearly and quite loudly, I discovered why. It was a mourning dove, inside and strolling along what I am sure was a very expensive rug. I chased it into a corner and threw a monogrammed tea towel over it.

Thankfully, the commotion stopped its mate from coming in and they were reunited in flight as I checked for bird droppings and feathers on the rug.

You might remember my column about getting my arm stuck in my laundry chute when no one was around to save me.

What are the odds of any of these things happening to the same person?

That’s why I am canceling my hike. I can’t risk falling on the Appalachian Trail only to spin like a top during my rescue, because if it can happen, it will happen to me.

To be perfectly truthful, though, I decided I couldn’t make the trip when I attempted an 8-mile hike on the mountain bike trail at Mohican State Park about two weeks ago. I didn’t even make it 2 miles one way before I was huffing and puffing and being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

My right foot was killing me. My right hip was throbbing and my friends’ talk of losing toe nails on a long hike left me almost as dizzy as that poor woman in Arizona. By the time I got home, my right ear was the size of an Idaho potato because of a mosquito bite. A few hours later, I noticed the familiar poison ivy rash creeping up my legs and all this happened in under 4 miles.

I couldn’t imagine what our planned trip of 10 to 12 miles a day for seven days would be like.

Even if it meant missing Hike Naked Day, I told my friends I couldn’t go. They quickly agreed, kindly telling me I need to train more. I need to train a lot more.

For the record, I wasn’t going to hike naked. Nor were my friends. However, I was hoping to see a few “free spirits” on the trail. It would have probably taken my mind off my aches, mosquito bites, poison ivy and possibly the loose toe nails in my socks.

Anonymous is right. You can’t fall if you don’t climb. And I will climb and hike when I am really ready. Hopefully, it will be by June 21, 2020, which will be the next Hike Naked Day and just maybe I’ll defy my own odds. I’ll also take pictures for the ensuing column.

 

Robin Swoboda can be reached at robinswoboda@outlook.com.