My weekend hobby just about did me in

Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
1,301
Location
Kitchener, ON
The last couple years, I've been going on hikes with hiking groups and/or friends. It's been a great way to meet people, enjoy nature and generally recharge. And a great way to sharpen my photography, albeit in a fast paced environment. Our primary focus has been the Bruce Trail, a 900 km (560 miles) route that starts at Niagara Falls and meanders its way north along the Niagara Escarpment. Mostly bush, some path, some road. Lately, I've been enjoying participating in the individual club End to End events. Last weekend and the upcoming one, we are doing the section wrapped around Hamilton, ON, about 120km (75 miles?) in 4 days.

Well, I found out that things aren't always simple. I got onto a bridge and took a scenic photo, ran to the end of the bridge and attempted to photograph my companions. I guess I lost my place in my mind. A quick step backwards and I ended up on the ground. I'm told I talked, drank some water, ate a banana, took the bridge photo I'm adding and then things went bad. Emergency services had to carry me out, and I spent the rest of the day getting checked out. CT scan and ultrasounds were good, and I passed the other coordination tests. I'm home, off work for the past couple days but feel better now than this morning. I'll go to work tomorrow unless something comes up.

So I'm working out how to make sure this never happens again. I've always gone to an edge and planted my feet so I knew where I was safe. Somehow, my brain didn't register it this time that I was on an edge. Might have been the design of the bridge with high railings, might have been the bubbly nature of the conversation up to that point, I don't know. But I need to set a routine so it never happens again.

A top view of the bridge from the far end.
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Where I fell. My hip and leg are bruised in a way that I assume I twisted and landed on the wooden steps. I'm told my camera (D7000) was only a couple feet away and is undamaged. I think my arm was outstretched and my head/chin landed on my shoulder and right arm.

Oh, I don't remember the fall or some time after. I took the photo below and don't remember doing it.

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It probably took an hour for me to be in the stretcher. The hike coordinator took this photo.

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A happier moment earlier in the hike. I had propped the camera on a rock and set the 10 second timer. My friend are used to watching the flashing light. I almost always get perfect compliance for smiles and open eyes now.

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Joined
May 5, 2005
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21,100
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SW Virginia
Scary experience, for sure. Did you fall from the bridge level all the way to the ground? Glad to hear you are recovering.

Have you been tested for concussion symptoms?

I had a minor fall in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. I stepped off of a footbridge quite like the one in your pictures (only more rustic) onto the first step and stood there a moment to get my balance when I fell backward and sat down very hard on the bridge. My momentum carried me back onto my camera backpack. The camera was not damaged, but my cell phone, which was in my back pocket, got a cracked screen.

Now that I reconstruct it mentally I realize that the backpack may have prevented my head striking the bridge. And I was by myself, so there would have been no help forthcoming.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
1,301
Location
Kitchener, ON
Scary experience, for sure. Did you fall from the bridge level all the way to the ground? Glad to hear you are recovering.

Have you been tested for concussion symptoms?

I had a minor fall in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. I stepped off of a footbridge quite like the one in your pictures (only more rustic) onto the first step and stood there a moment to get my balance when I fell backward and sat down very hard on the bridge. My momentum carried me back onto my camera backpack. The camera was not damaged, but my cell phone, which was in my back pocket, got a cracked screen.

Now that I reconstruct it mentally I realize that the backpack may have prevented my head striking the bridge. And I was by myself, so there would have been no help forthcoming.
Yes, I believe they tested me for concussion symptoms. I had to do coordination tests etc. I don't know what the full protocol is for concussion symptoms. I asked the doctor about any light duty restrictions and basically was told to live my life. If anything changes see my doctor. I am glad I took yesterday and today off work. I feel vastly better right now than even this morning. If I haven't spoken to someone in a while, I will talk out loud to myself. I'm trying to be quickly sensitive to any change in mental capacity. So far no issues with light sensitivity etc.

I believe I fell with my head farther away from the bridge than my feet. I'm meeting one of my friends soon that was there and I hope to clarify that. So yes, that means my head went a long way from a full standing on the bridge to being lower than the wooden steps. If I find out something different, I'll report it.

Something that I think helped is I hand hold the camera while hiking. If it was on a strap, I think I would have landed on it. As it was, the camera, my glasses and the cell phone in my pocket all survived. The only sign of trauma on me is a bruise on my hip. I did have a backpack on too. I can't say whether I landed on it in any way. It was mainly carrying water bottles which were undamaged.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
1,301
Location
Kitchener, ON
Omar and Jim, so glad you are both ok. That looks like a nasty place to fall, Omar. I hope your full recovery is swift.
The interesting part is I regularly deal with places much nastier than that bridge. But I am focused for those. I've had slips and even falls before, but they were in places I was expecting issues. Lots of rocks and tree roots on these trails. And we move quite quickly at times. The bridge gave me a false sense of security.

I just had dinner with one of the two that were with me. I didn't like a couple things she said about how scared they were for me. I was fortunate.
 
Joined
Jul 8, 2019
Messages
233
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
oooo that is a NASTY step off the bridge.
That IS an accident waiting to happen.

I've learned to NOT backup, without looking first.
And if I am taking photos, I don't move blind, in any direction. It is too easy to trip on something on the ground.

Familiarity does not guarantee safety either. I was once going down the stairs, then stepped off the 2nd step, thinking it was the bottom step. When my foot did not touch the floor when I was expecting it to, I knew I was in trouble. My leg hurt, but luckily, no injury.
 
Joined
May 5, 2005
Messages
18,273
Location
Idaho
The interesting part is I regularly deal with places much nastier than that bridge. But I am focused for those. I've had slips and even falls before, but they were in places I was expecting issues. Lots of rocks and tree roots on these trails. And we move quite quickly at times. The bridge gave me a false sense of security.

I just had dinner with one of the two that were with me. I didn't like a couple things she said about how scared they were for me. I was fortunate.
It always seems to happen when we least expect it.
 
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
1,079
Location
St. Charles, IL
Real Name
Andy
Glad to hear you're both OK. I do a great deal of hiking myself and it is very easy to become complacent about the risk of a fall. The best hiking places seldom have anything that would make them compliant with normally accepted safety standards in manmade places.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
1,301
Location
Kitchener, ON
oooo that is a NASTY step off the bridge.
That IS an accident waiting to happen.

I've learned to NOT backup, without looking first.
And if I am taking photos, I don't move blind, in any direction. It is too easy to trip on something on the ground.

Familiarity does not guarantee safety either. I was once going down the stairs, then stepped off the 2nd step, thinking it was the bottom step. When my foot did not touch the floor when I was expecting it to, I knew I was in trouble. My leg hurt, but luckily, no injury.
All of what you say is what I have always practised, I thought. I messed up this time. A big part of the reason I posted here is I know many of you are also photographing events. It might not be a bridge with a nasty step. It might be traffic, or an oncoming train.

I can get so focused on the angles and composition and timing that I forget about safety first. I suspect that isn't unusual. I want to develop one extra layer of safety that will stand up to the "heat of the moment". It will likely be similar to what you wrote above.

I hope my story inspires each of you to examine whether you have had those "lucky" moments where you knew something bad could have happened. If so, examine them and find a way to avoid using luck as a strategy.
 
Joined
Apr 25, 2009
Messages
1,301
Location
Kitchener, ON
Glad to hear you're both OK. I do a great deal of hiking myself and it is very easy to become complacent about the risk of a fall. The best hiking places seldom have anything that would make them compliant with normally accepted safety standards in manmade places.
In my hiking, I expect that sometime I will slip on a rock, or trip. I always try to make sure that I have a recovery place. Room for second step, a way to stop the slide etc. There's always a chance of twisted ankle, or broken limb. In the back of my mind is the thought I could hit my head on a rock during a misstep. But what I did the other day was different. Just plain inattention to what I was on. That's an eye opener for me that I allowed that to happen.
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
2,096
Location
London
Great to hear that you are ok and recovering fine.
All the best.
The brain is a puzzling creature in the way it processes information or not. You may not have been doing anything seemingly wrong as far as it was concerned at the time.
Best of luck.
 
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