I was tired. I was dehydrated. I tripped. I fell. I split my head open.
It was a freak accident, could have happened to anybody…yet of course out of the 7 people hiking down the mountain, I was the lucky guy to fall 15ft headfirst into a boulder.
We were coming down from an unmarked trail on the East side of Dix mountain. 4 of us had gone up the wrong “slides” (rockface at the top of the mountain) where we were crawling on our hands and feet before running into a wall of underbrush where we had to crawl underneath and literally PUSH through the vegetation with our bodies. THAT was the place where I thought I was going to be injured!
I’m not sure what I tripped on initially but it pitched me forward and threw me off balance. I kept trying to regain my balance but instead kept re-tripping and getting unbalanced. This happened for about 5ft on a short slope in the trail before I tripped a final time and projectile launched off of a 10ft drop-off about 15ft out.
I distinctly remember that sick feeling in my stomach before my head landed on the boulder.
After impact I was stunned but didn’t lose consciousness (surprisingly!). My friends immediately came down to help me and I was already doing an inventory of my limbs to make sure everything was working as it should. First place I felt was the top of my head where I took the meat of the impact and I felt a “dent” at the impact spot… and wetness. The wetness was of course blood. I laid still for a minute and gingerly tested to see if I could move my limbs…and I was relieved to see that I could. After a few moments I asked for assistance getting up (although I believe that you should not be moved at all since the injury was right at the head/neck area and serious injury could have taken place while I was moving around)
A friend had a small ace bandage we used to hold a gauze in place on top of my head and we all got back on the trail to hike another couple of miles back to the car.
My left elbow and knee were swelling up but I was able to keep a pretty good pace going back down.
After about another hour and a half of hiking back down to the car we drove another hour from the high peaks region into the Lake Placid ER.
This situation really made me re-evaluate the importance of being prepared for anything that could happen, because it would have been extremely difficult for me to get rescued out of the woods if I had sustained a more grievous injury.
All in all everyone, including myself, knew what a lucky guy I was to be able to walk out of there with only a cracked head. (I’ve got to admit I was pretty ticked off that I was basically scalped by the rock I hit!)