Saturday Morning, the sun is shining its a beautiful day. I set out with my husband and father-in-law on a bush walk to Wentworth Falls to take pictures and then to see what else we could find down the bottom of the Valley “The valley of Waters”. We took our time as there was a huge amount of water from the non-stop rain we have been experiencing lately, and there were danger signs all over letting walkers know some paths were washed over and extra care was needed etc.
It was really pretty as the fog started clearing and we were all in good spirits. Down the bottom of the ladders and in the deep part of the valley the wet path which looked fine to me slid beneath my left foot and I tumbled down an embankment and landed awkwardly on an old knee injury and hearing a loud crack, Panicked and thought the worst. In the immediate moment it happened I must have been in shock because it didn’t hurt. However I knew the angle wasn’t good and there was no mistaking the sound it made. My two companions had to try to drag me back up to the path whilst slipping and sliding themselves. Once safe and resting back on the path, and flicking dozens of leeches off my legs and shoes, I got pretty worried I wouldn’t make it back to the top of the cliffs. With no choice I had to stop being such a girl and get to my feet. By now the pain was excruciating and would not weight bare very well.
I had been limping along for a while when we came to a river crossing. We had to cross onto a thin rock and balance and step off onto a bigger rock on the other side. Russ decided he should go first and help me keep the weight off my knee while I balanced on the slender rock in the middle of the rapids. We swapped Back packs as mine was a one shoulder one and I needed even weight distribution. Russ now had my camera equipment and I had the lunch and wet weather gear. My knee could not hold me on the rock and (delusionally) thinking I spied a rock in the flowing water just centimetres below the surface I place my foot there. Whoosh, down I went into the water up to my chin and still did not feel the bottom. Russ scrambled to grab me to help me out, while I shouted “Don’t you fall in with my camera”… With no way to use my left leg it must have been hard for Russ to help me out of there. Back on dry land and sopping wet I took off my wet shirt and changed into a dry Jumper. The wet shirt made for a nice cool make-shift bandage for the injured knee. Russ and my father-in-law Joe were now trying to be funny with Russell exclaiming “Great! Now I have one wet shoe” whilst I sent death stares his way from underneath my drenched hair and my already wet shoes continuing to fill up from the water running out of my shorts and down my legs.
The upward climb had now started (fun) and we had some more water to cross over (more fun). Stepping down off a rock onto my bad leg I again hear a loud crack , my knee once again making a huge sound and gave way landing me on my bum again, this time only in 30cm deep water. Russ once again comes charging to the rescue, loosing grip on the tripod and near impaling me with it.
Thankfully from this point on There were no more falls. However I had to push through the pain barrier to get up the 800 or so stairs to get back to the car. Men in their 80’s were flying past me, you have no idea how embarrassing that is. I did see one more waterfall called Empress Falls that even though in pain still stopped and set up the tripod for a final shot, with the belief I would never, ever visit here again in my lifetime.
It’s been two days since then and I am on crutches and off for an ultrasound tomorrow. I feel much better about things sitting here on my recliner telling this story than I did at the time I can tell you.
Who knows perhaps when I am back on both feet I will head back to Empress Falls and shoot it with a much clearer head. Ahh the joys of landscape photography 🙂
1/12/2015 ~ Update: It has been a while since I blogged about this misadventure, so I thought an update may be in order. Scans revealed that I had torn my meniscus in my left knee which would require surgery due to pain and the instability of my knee holding my own weight. I waited a year to get into sugary only to find out while under anaesthetic and poking around inside of my knee that I had actually torn my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament- you know the kind that keeps pro footy players out for a season!)
Another year wait (and several knee collapses and injuries later) to get into surgery and I am finally fixed. I had the ligaments from my hamstring removed and then threaded through my knee to create a new ACL of sorts. The wonders of the medical world huh?