This is week 3 and we are in the Black Hills at Fort Meade Recreational Area, with terrible Verizon service but beauty and fresh air beyond measure. Yesterday, it was time for the daily walk. We found the Centennial Trail and the gravesite of Curly Grimes, a historical criminal. The walk is something we try to do every day not only for my health but the health of one derpy Frenchie by the name of Moose. It turned into a hike. An unexpected turn as we were just looking for some nature and were suddenly, while woefully unprepared heading up, and up, after switchback after switchback. This is honestly something I wasn’t sure if I would do again. I used to backpack, I used to hike but as my health declined it became something of a “we used to do that”. 

Credit: Amanda Nystrom (a.k.a spoonieontheroad)

There are two sides to the health problem. One I can fix, one I can only maintain. The pandemic was not kind to my weight and as an almost 50 year old, it really wasn’t kind to my weight. That is something I can fix and something that we have been working on diligently and also one of the reasons we took this 6 month Digital Nomad trip. It is difficult to break lazy habits with the comfort of a couch and a 60” TV. On the other hand, in a 23’ Skoolie with another full sized human and three Frenchies? You have to get up, you have to move, you have to walk, hike, clean and everything you do takes more effort than if you are at home. The upside is that our office today is often a place like this:

The problem I can only maintain is my ankle. People have often remarked on my walking hobble. The hobble was caused by me falling off a roof 24 years ago. It is something that I have maintained since then. However, earlier this year it got to the point where I could not walk without assistance. It is an odd blow to the ego when suddenly you are using a shopping cart as a walker. So as with any privileged person with excellent health insurance, off to the Ortho I went. The ortho was honest, my ankle is done. It needs replacement. The downside? They won’t do it unless absolutely necessary because I am too young. I was offered an alternate plan:

  1. Acquire a custom AFO (Again thank you to my insurance) and hope that lasts 5-7 years
  2. Fuse the ankle and hope that lasts another 5-7 years
  3. Replace ankle

The walk turned hike was done with the AFO and outside of the, “OMG, I am out of shape”, it was a zero pain hike. I have never hiked, backpacked or even walked without ankle pain. I am looking forward to the next 5.5 months of working, hiking, exploring and loving on the road. 

Beauty can be found in many place, mostly remote: Crane, MT and the Yellowstone River sunrise (OC)

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