Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hiking with a Migraine: I Recommend Not

Had my first truly disabling migraine while hiking alone, and while it didn't last long and I made it home fine, it was a harsh reminder of how badly things can go.

It was a new trail, I'd only been on it once before and I'd been pretty distracted by dogs and conversation so I didn't quite remember the terrain accurately, so it was steeper than I'd anticipated.

The sudden, sharp pain was bad enough to make me worry about being alone in the forest, but brief enough that I kept going without thinking about it too hard. I was far enough out that no one I knew would hear me if I yelled (and we don't always know who else is hanging out in these woods) so I wanted to get as close as I could to my people before the migraine decided if it was coming back and if so, how hard. The path was very clear, for that I was grateful because at the first possible fork, I had to stop and think for a frightening moment, my brain refused to remember going up the hill I was faced with. Luckily, the old synapses weren't totally migraine-fried as it was only a few seconds of uncertainty before I recalled: of course I didn't hike up the hill on my out, I'd hiked down it. "What goes down must go up," I reassured myself as I started the climb. My head didn't like it, protested every footfall that seemed to echo from my feet to my eyeballs, but I made it home without further incident and decided that I wouldn't be traveling any more unfamiliar trails unless I KNEW I was well enough.

Unfortunately, that resolution only lasted a week before I found myself traversing an old logging road on a bad day. So it goes: I walk the dogs, we wander, I see something that piques my curiosity and shortly thereafter I'm kind of wishing I wasn't so damn curious all the time. At least satisfaction keeps bringing me back!