Category Archives: ACL recovery

Sunday, 27-Jan-2019 – Cross Country Skiing at Pocket Creek, on Mt. Hood!


Sunday, 27-Jan-2019

Pocket Creek trail.

Mount Hood.


United States of America.

This day and location shall live on in legend, as the first day that Ben and Sarah put on skiis after breaking their respective knees. The first time that they, either individually or together, faced the fear of re-injury and got back into something similar to a saddle. The first time, since each suffered through healing and recovery, that Sarah and Ben skiied up a mountain.

I mean, it’s sort of a mountain, right?

Okay, fine, we weren’t ON Mt. Hood. We were across the road, in the Mt. Hood national park. In a small, lightly graded snowpark.

Know what? Being safe is important, and discretion is the better part of valor, and live to fight another day, and fifteen different other idioms that mean we made a good decision and were safe, and had a great time with excellent views. And, just as important, the trail was dog friendly (but not snowmobile friendly), so Ollie could come along too, and help pull us up the steep bits.

We drove out, geared up, and headed in. Sarah had her alpine touring kit, complete with skins, and I had my cross country kit – complete with gifted skiis, consignment boots, and hiking poles. I’m still scared of skiing, okay? I don’t want to buy a nice kit before being confident that I’d be willing to ski again.  Both options worked, too!  Sarah’s was a bit more efficient, especially on the downhill parts (I took off my skiis and walked, after my first attempt as downhill cross country ended in white-knuckled terror), but both our setups were pleasant and carried us through.

There really isn’t that much more to say, to be honest.  It was fun, and we had a good time.  Look at the pretty pictures!

Hiking Dog Mountain! First major post-injury hike!

Hiking Dog Mountain!  First major post-injury hike!

Sunday, 11-June-2017


I hiked Dog Mountain with a dog!

This was a pretty brutal hike, I won’t lie.  In retrospect, probably a little too brutal for my poor healing knee.  But there was no permanent damage, and it gave me an excuse to chill and relax for a few days afterwards, to recover, so I won’t complain.

What were the vital statistics, you might ask?  Well.  I’ve got you covered:

Length: ~8 miles.  Websites say anywhere from 6 to 7.5… but let me tell you.  I’ve got the GPS track to prove it.  They lie.

Elevation: 2800 ft.  This one… pretty accurate.  It was rough.

Beauty: tons-a-pretty

The hike was awesome, even with the toughness in mind.

Sarah had been watching Instagram, keeping tabs on the status of the meadows at the top of the mountain.  Because, if you haven’t heard, the meadows at the top of Dog Mountain are why you hike it, and why June is the ideal time to hike.  Why?  Well, in June the wildflowers bloom.


We started up the trailhead at 6:30 in the morning, just after sunrise.  It was cold, and bleak, and we were a little sleepy from the drive from Portland.  I was cranky, because one of my breakfast protein bars had vanished.  Seriously.  I still haven’t found it.  Ollie says she didn’t eat it… but I know the truth.

The walk up was pretty solid – Sarah and I chatted, Ollie ran, and we made it to the summit meadows by 11:00 or so.  Just in time for the sun to finish burning off most of the clouds, and for the flowers to come into full bloom.


A bit of lunch refreshed us – doubly so, since Sarah had packed a surprise block of cheese and log of summer sausage.


Then down the mountain we went, passing by the massive throngs of Portlanders who were making the pilgrimage to the Instagram capital of the area.  Seriously… we saw so many people posing, re-taking, and battering their photo buttons.  I mean, that’s kind of awesome, since it means people are going outside and getting into nature.  But still – it’s fun to watch people repeatedly posing, trying for the perfect shot.

The hike down was the hardest part… arguably one of the toughest trips since my accident.  The first few miles were fine, but once we got to the last mile and a half, the elevation really started getting to me.  Sarah and Ollie held true, and stopped with me every few hundred yards.  My trekking poles took the brunt of the battle, and slowly but surely we made our way back to the car.

ACL Recovery emails – weeks 16 and 18. Yep. Skipped another one. 17 this time.

ACL Update – Week 16
Sent, 20-June-2017
Ohh wow… I can’t believe that I nearly forgot about sending this email.  It’s been ages since the initial injury, and I’ve been walking and moving around so well that this almost feels silly to be writing.  Life isn’t much different than it was before the injury, honestly… I’m climbing a lot less intensely, and we’re doing smaller trips… but my running endurance has gotten pretty good, and Sarah and I are both living life pretty well (knock on wood!).
So I think this might be one of the last “ACL recovery” update emails.  I’ll probably transition over toward either “life status” emails, or back to regularly posting updates on the blog.  We’ll see.  Any thoughts from the gallery are welcome 🙂
But ACL!  Knee!  Running!
This weekend was pretty intense, but last week was actually quite low-key.  Hiking Dog Mountain two weekends ago was rough, and necessitated a full two days of rest afterward for me to come close to recovering.  And even then, we stayed pretty low-key for the rest of the week.
I did PT, of course, but only two of the five days of the week – it was good, but the fatigue from the hike was very real.  Motion is strong, though.  I can jump and jog farther and longer, and by the time I went in for my PT appointment on Friday morning, I was feeling very good again.
Ed (Physical Therapist) agreed.  He’s started me into sprints and side-to-side movements finally.  I’m not cutting while running, but I am starting to pivot around my knee, and I’m doing more and more single leg jumps (which are some of the harshest movements that the ACL can do).
Over the weekend, My Dad and Step-Mom visited, and we all got some pretty good workouts in… Sarah and I did some early-morning jogging (over 2 miles!!!), and then the four of us walked another 3+ miles over the course of the day.  It was tiring, but very rewarding.
We’re moving on.  I’m hitting PT a bit harder this week, and making sure to go for runs early in the morning at the track by the high school.  I still don’t enjoy running… but having Sarah and Ollie next to me definitely makes it easier 🙂
– Ben
ACL Update – Week 17
Sent, 04-July-2017
I missed last week! I’m sorry everyone!

But I missed it for a positive reason; life is busy! In a good way!  Last week was my last week at work (two years really flew by…) And so now the focus is fully on recovery and moving… Which dovetail into each other really well, since moving involves a lot of walking and carrying.
Let’s start with last weekend:
Running and hiking were the names of the game; Sarah and I did a few low-key runs in Portland, and even did a nice hike on the Leif Erikson trail in Forest Park. Not as heavy as Dog Mountain, but it was a lot better, I think. Less strain, and more energetic.
This weekend was more focused on the move and climbing: Sarah and I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday alternating between climbing, and purging the house & redoing the kitchen.
First: climbing!!!! We hit the gym Sunday. Woo, fun, whatever. Then we climbed outside on Monday! OUTSIDE! MULTI-PITCH! We re-climbed Rooster Rock, the first climb Sarah and I did together outside, nearly two years ago. Since last week was Sarah’s birthday, an ascent of Rooster Rock was her request. And I am not one to deny Sarah her requested present.
So we climbed! And summited, and sunbathed, and then rappelled. And it felt really good!
My knee had been hurting more last week, but after a PT appointment and some stretches, it’s felt much better this week. Stronger, more flexible, and..
 Honestly, I don’t notice it all that often. Unless I stay off of it… Then, if I let it rest too much, it starts hurting more.  Ed (the therapist) says that’s fairly normal; just an effect of the weakness that I’m still recovering from.
So here goes! Full time PT, full time adventure!
Pictures are from our climb up Rooster Rock, plus one bonus picture from our fancy dinner date to celebrate Sarah’s birthday and my last day of work!