Greenleaf State Park
If you have read any of my other posts, you may have read about my attempts to complete a hike at Greenleaf State Park
in Braggs, Oklahoma. There is a particular bridge that I have repeatedly attempted to hike to. It is not a difficult hike. It is approximately 6 miles, and most of the terrain is easy to traverse. Let’s try this again!
Before I hit the trail, I let Hendrix and Bonnie take a short swim. I had not had them on the trail for a few weeks, and I wanted to let them release some extra energy so they would settle into our hike faster. After the dogs had swam and ran around a bit, we got back in the car. I got an idea to go the opposite direction, as to see if I could find another trail head for the same hike. After a short drive, I decided to just go back to the trail head I had started from several other times. That is when the day took a very difficult turn, for several people, including myself.
As I came around the corner, approaching the entrance to the park, I came upon a gruesome scene; two bodies laying in the middle of the highway, with several other people just standing around. I had to stop. It just isn’t in my person to not. I parked the car, cracked all 4 windows of my car, and just hoped that it would not get too hot for my “soul dog”, Hendrix The Hiking Dog, and Lady Bonnie.
It took a few seconds to clear my head, as I walked up, looking into the eyes of the horrified bystanders. I had just completed, a couple weeks ago, my wilderness training for medical professionals, and for a brief moment, I actually thought maybe this was a learning exercise. But then the sites of the scene quickly brought me back to reality. My training kicked in and I began to act accordingly. As we waited for fire and the ambulance to arrive, with the assistance of others, we cared for the victims, the best we could, with very little in the way of items to use.
While I am completely capable of putting the lives of humans WAY above those of my dogs, I couldn’t help but periodically look back to be sure Hen and Bonnie were okay. My car was on the side of the road, but I couldn’t help but pray no one hit my car, in all the chaos. I kept telling myself that if I saw that Hen and Bonnie had started panting, I would have to figure something else out. Thank God I had just taken them to swim, and they, and the towels they were on, were wet. I had just read that morning that anything over 60 degrees, was too hot for a dog to be left in a car. It has been unseasonably hot in Oklahoma; 78 degrees this day.
When the appropriate people arrived and took over the care of the victims, I excused myself from the scene, and let them do their jobs.
When I got to my car, I loved on the dogs a bit, and took a deep breath. I wanted to cry, but that was just not an option, after watching how strong all these other people were being. I started my car, drove the few yards to the park entrance, and went in. As I was driving to the trail head, I wasn’t even sure I could get out and hike, but when I pulled up, I realized that the dogs really needed to get out of the car. Besides, wasn’t hiking my go-to when life kicked me in the rear?! Alright, let’s get the boots on and get into the woods! Where the hell are my socks?
It dons on me. My wilderness medicine training had taught me to grab whatever you have in your pack, and use it! I had used my socks to give aid to the victims. Damn it! I am hiking! Sockless it is!
I knew when I started my hike, that I would not be making it to the bridge. I just needed to kick up some dirt on a trail for a bit. Hendrix and Bonnie seemed to sense my lack of enthusiasm, as they were calm and quiet as we hiked along the path. We hiked until we heard the helicopter come to take the victims. At that point, I was done hiking for the day. We turned around, and headed back to the car. We only hiked a little over a mile that day. But you know what, hiking NEVER fails me. As we headed back to the car, I chose the path that was closest to the water. At one point, I stopped to figure out what in the world I was hearing. It was coming from the water! I had to call the park later to ask what I was seeing. Shad were hitting the top of the water, and massive schools were swimming around just under the surface. That would explain why there were so many extra birds flying around this day. The harvest was plentiful!
It was a small part of life, but it helped my heart, as if I had just seen the salmon run in Alaska. I was done hiking for the day, and needed to get home to my own family.
I would never ask anyone not to live life to the fullest! Get out there and live! Enjoy! Just don’t forget, others love you, and need you to love them. Just be careful!