With the biggest tournament of the year coming up this Saturday and Sunday, the fact that I couldn’t move my right arm yesterday was a bit of a concern. In addition, I have four other big tourneys in June along with a trip to St. Andrews the first week of July. The right arm functioning is a requirement for any of these events to take place as planned.
Holocene Cinder Cone near Veyo, Utah
The big tournament this weekend is the Salt Lake Amateur. The one I look forward to most each year, this event is two intense days at Bonneville Golf Course. While I don’t expect to win it, I do want to perform well and break into the finishing money. I’ve made it as high as 10th place, which for me is great considering I’m playing against the young college scholarship players who hit their 4-irons farther than I hit my driver.
Back to the arm not working. This past weekend I took the family to southern Utah for Memorial Day weekend. We did some fantastic hiking in the Dixie National Forest and some chilling out at the hotel pool. Not far from the Dixie National Forest is the town of Veyo, in the heart of what is called “Volcano Country.” In this area there are dozens of what are called “cinder cones.” Cinder cones are a steep conical hill of tephra (volcanic debris) that accumulates around and downwind from a volcanic vent.
We decided to hike the Holocene Cinder Cone outside the town of Veyo, a popular cone with about a 1.5 mile trail around the back. We didn’t see the trail though, so we went straight up the face, 500 vertical feet. The hike was very difficult as the small and light volcanic rocks would give way under your feet. It was almost like trying to climb a sand hill, but if you fell you’d be chewed up by the sharp volcanic rocks.
We made it to the top and hung around the crater of the volcano, which last erupted roughly 10,000 years ago. On highest tip of the volcano were some flowers which attracted huge and beautiful Swallowtail butterflies (picture below).
Butterflies hanging out atop the volcano!
Heading down the 1.5 mile back trail was difficult. The vertical angle along with the very slick volcanic rocks made keeping solid footing hard. The little rocks work like ball bearings under your feet. My first fall was hard. The trail gave way under my right foot and my left side hit hard on the volcanic rock. I didn’t wipe the dust off my leg or left arm. I figured the dust would keep the blood from my volcanic road rash at bay. Fortunately my Nikon, hanging around my neck, was not injured.
The 2nd fall was even harder. I was going straight down a slope when the ball bearing rocks slid under my right foot. I landed on my back, trying to break my fall with my hands. More concerned for my camera I reached for it to see if it had been damaged. I mounted it on my right side figuring that if I fell on my face or on my back, the camera wouldn’t take a direct hit. The plan worked. Just some dust and a small mark on the lens protector.
Reaching for my camera was a new experience in pain. My right shoulder had taken on some damage. Having separated that shoulder and dislocated my other, I didn’t think I’d done either this time, but it still hurt like a bugger.
During the five hour drive home I iced the shoulder. It stiffened and eventually got to the point where I couldn’t reach for the volume knob on the radio. I’m just thankful that Guns N Roses didn’t come on the radio or I might have driven off the road trying to turn the stereo off with my left arm…
Fortunately this morning the arm is much better. So much better that I put my golf clubs in the car in anticipation of my men’s league tournament this afternoon. I have full rotation of the shoulder and just a tiny bit of stiffness.
Thank goodness the shoulder works. I’m ready to knock ‘em dead this weekend!
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