Alpine Club of Canada

ACC Gazette - Spring 2020

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32 The Alpine Club of Canada | Gazette | Spring 2020 Long road to recovery I was in a coma for two weeks following the accident. By the time I began to regain some memory, I had spent three months as an inpatient in the Victoria General Hospital's Intensive Care Unit and Acute Care Neurosciences Unit. One of the strangest moments as my brain slowly healed was the gradual understanding that I wasn't at the hospital visiting a patient; I was the patient. It was here in the hospital that I learned who I was again. Almost five months after my accident in the mountains, five months of intense cogni- tive and physical rehabilitation as I learned how to walk again, I was finally discharged in late November, 2016. Today, I know where and why we were exploring Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island that fateful day, although some aspects of my accident are still unknown to me. I still have no memories of the three days before my accident and three months afterwards. This is called post-traumatic amnesia. What I do know about that period of time has been garnered from my medical reports at the Victoria General Hospital (more than 1,500 pages worth!) and from Rowan's answers to my many questions over the years. Planning the great return I knew I wanted to hike back to the site of my accident on Augerpoint Mountain even before I was released from the hospital. Having co-led a women's hike along the Augerpoint Traverse in 2014, I was aware that the terrain would challenge me, though it was a relatively straightforward multi-day hike. Rowan and I finally made plans to attempt the Augerpoint Traverse in the summer of 2019, three years after my accident. We expected that the trip would be more physically challenging for me but more emotionally challenging for him. Rowan has vivid memories of my accident, having believed I was falling to my death. By going back to Augerpoint Mountain, we were both looking forward to a bit of closure and a way to honour the transition to new possibilities in our lives. We wanted others to be part of our journey, so we shared our trip plan and inReach tracking infor- mation with members of the two experienced search and rescue teams that had expertly brought us both out of the mountains safely back in 2016. We also shared these details with members of our families, ACC's Vancouver Island Section, the Island Mountain Ramblers, and many of the therapists I have had the great fortune of working with since my accident. Ruth Masters Lake f rom below the sum- mit of Augerpoint Mountain. Photo by Rowan Laver.

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