Ankles Away:

Miss Adventure
Joshua Tree National Park

24 November 2002

photos by Hank Becker (Thanks, Hank!!!)


It is shortly before 11 am on the Sunday before Thanksgiving when Miss Adventure sets out on the scenic Forty-nine Palms Oasis trail in Joshua Tree National Park.

An hour later, she begins to explore the beautiful oasis.

"It's not a mirage!!" she exclaims.

Around 1 pm, Miss Adventure's thoughts turn to the delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich awaiting her in the car.  Mmmmmm.  After bidding adieu to this tranquil spot, she begins the journey back.  Suddenly, when she is only about 100 m from the trailhead, she loses her footing on some loose gravel.  As her gluteus maximus ungracefully and indelicately hits the dirt, she hears the sudden snap of a tree branch.

"Hmmmmm.  There are no trees here--where did
that ominous sound come from???" she wonders.

Fortunately, two other hikers are following close behind--very nice hikers with a cell phone--extremely helpful hikers who call 911--wonderfully kind but (woefully) anonymous hikers who dash ahead down the trail to await the arrival of the Rescue Guys.

"Who was that masked man?" she asks as she contemplates the
strange new direction her foot appears to be pointing.

Barely twenty minutes go by when the inaudible wail of a distant siren rouses the invisible members of the local coyote chorus.  The brief but exuberant cacophany heralds the imminent arrival of the Rescue Guys.  Hooray!

"X marks the spot!"

The Skilled and Handsome Rescue Guys from Morongo Basin Ambulance slide Miss Adventure onto a bracing board.

"Wow!  What would I do without my Lamaze training?" she pants.

They check her splint and make sure she's securely buckled up...

...and even make her smile (are these not Exceptionally Talented and Caring Rescue Guys??) as they lift her into the wire litter they will use to carry her out...

"Thanks, Rescue Guys!!" she beams.

...and into the waiting ambulance--all in just twenty minutes!  Let's hear it for the Strong and Speedy Rescue Guys!!  Next stop:  Palm Springs and the Desert Regional Hospital emergency room.

"Palm Springs?  Can we take a quick trip up the Mt. San Jacinto tram
on the way?" she babbles through the morphine.

Two days later, Miss Adventure takes another, far more challenging, hike.

"Hospital chic!  It's bound to catch on." she observes.

Two weeks later, Miss Adventure's right ankle, in a fit of jealous rage over all the attention the left ankle has been receiving, takes matters into its own "hands."

"Al-ways look on the bright siiiide of life...." she sings.  "Now I finally have
some time to sit down and read Chris Weller's paper!"

In fact, Miss Adventure soon finds she has all the time she needs to create her History 60 website.  Meanwhile, Chief Research Assistant Spook, checks out the stylish blue casts.

"I bet my students will be thrilled to have a few more things to
read next quarter...." she muses.

With Mr. Spook on the bridge holding down the laptop, it takes Miss Adventure only three or four (or maybe five) days longer than usual to get the fabulous course website up and running.

"Thanks, Mr. Spook," she sighs.

[And special thanks to colleagues and staff in the History Department who made teaching in the Winter and Spring Quarters 2003 possible, as well as to my patient and long-suffering students who made it all worthwhile!]