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Old Baldy to Super Trail Fiasco, AZ
mini location map2021-01-02
4 by photographer avatarazbackpackr
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Old Baldy to Super Trail Fiasco, AZ 
Old Baldy to Super Trail Fiasco, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 02 2021
Hiking6.42 Miles 1,621 AEG
Hiking6.42 Miles   4 Hrs   36 Mns   1.40 mph
1,621 ft AEG
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This seemed to be a straightforward hike, just going to Josephine Saddle, and then down the Super Trail. The three of us were having fun, until on the way down the Super Trail my friend, Laurel, fell and broke both her right patella (kneecap) and the upper part of her right humerus (upper arm bone) near the shoulder.

The following shows what we did, and what we (or I) learned from it. I'm a Wilderness First Responder, and Laurel is a nurse. Our other friend, Glenda, has no training but was helpful.

Glenda and I were one short switchback below Laurel when we heard her cry for help. We ran back up, which took less than a minute. Laurel was standing up, but very shaky. She told us she was sure her arm was broken, (although not a compound fracture) and that she had whacked her knee pretty hard, and couldn't straighten her leg, and had knocked her head. It was a hard full-body fall. I asked, "Did you black out?" She said no. She said she felt pretty "shocky" so I helped her to sit down and gather her wits. I was wearing layers of three shirts, and took off the one with buttons, and made an arm sling (something I learned from being a Boy Scout leader years ago). It worked very well. I then gave her some Tylenol and Ibuprofen, as we talked about what to do. We decided, once she felt a little less shaky, to try to see if she could walk down. We were about a mile and a half from the parking lot on the Super Trail, which isn't too bad of a trail.

So, I helped her up again, and Glenda took one of Laurel's poles, since she could use only one. She couldn't bend the knee but was weight-bearing. Very slowly we proceeded down the mountain. Whenever we got to bunches of rocks, I handed my poles and Laurel's to Glenda, and took her good hand and arm to steady her to step down. At some point she mentioned that the Tylenol and Ibuprofen had kicked in, and that was an improvement.

As soon as Laurel had phone service she called her husband. He said he would get their daughter, who was at work, to drive over with him, so there would be someone to drive their truck back. They live over an hour from the trailhead. We assumed he would leave right away. But after at least an hour, when we arrived at the parking lot, she talked to him again and he had not left the house yet, was waiting for the daughter to get off work! He insisted she sit in the truck and wait for him. She told him that I would take her to the hospital right now, but he told her to wait. This is where I made one error. I was not aggressive enough, I did not insist hard enough that their stupid truck could wait, but that Laurel couldn't wait!!

Laurel just kept telling us to go ahead and leave, that she would be fine sitting in her truck. Very regretfully, Glenda and I left.

When I reached Sahuarita, a half an hour later, I received a call from Laurel. Now she was in tears, saying her arm was swelling up badly and she was losing feeling in her fingers. She said her husband HAD NOT YET LEFT THE HOUSE!!! What the F??? :o :( She very apologetically asked me if I could come back and get her and take her to the hospital. So, of course, I did. I would have done anything for her. It took at least half an hour to return, and probably almost another half an hour to get to Green Valley Hospital.

So, everything turned out okay, but it would have been better if I had been insistent. It would have been better to take her right away, and to a better hospital, because the standard of care at that little place was kind of low. (They didn't even offer her ice and elevation, she told me later she'd had to demand these things, while she waited for the doctor.)

Another thing I should have done was to remember the time of the incident. This is just good practice, but I forgot. It didn't come up, but it could have.

I visited her two days later, and picked up my shirt. She had had to yell at the ED tech to not use scissors on it and on her clothes, which she managed to remove herself, to avoid the scissors they so love to wield. Anyway, it's my favorite guide shirt, and I was glad it was unharmed. They put her in a sling which she said is too small, and a knee brace. Now she can't work. She works from home, is a case manager, and she can't use her computer. So this injury is very hard on her, because she won't be able to work for possibly 4 to 6 weeks.

So, that's my story.

I forgot to turn the GPS on at beginning of hike, until juntion with Vault Mine Trail, so I tried to draw in part of the route, but when I saved it, it didn't save. Oh, well.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.
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