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Journal Update 10 June 00

[9 May 00]
Since, like my former father-in-law Emmanuel Gauci when he would go for
job interviews, I had rehearsed the bus route to the Orthopaedic Hospital
the day before, there were no problems reaching it before my appointment.

Dr. Filler was amazingly professional and competent.  He asked me a whole
series of questions, then measured and manipulated my legs for quite a
while. Most of the technical stuff aside, my kneecaps are congenitally
misaligned.  While a normal kneecap angle is about 10 degrees, my left is
17 degrees and my right is 15 degrees.  As a result, the VOM portion of
my quadracep has to work extra hard to keep my kneecap stable from
side-to-side.  The long, long downhill from Mt. San Jacinto apparently
tired this muscle in each leg, but slightly more in my left.  When the
kneecap lost its stability, it began being "banged" by the underlying
bones, leading to temporary damage and inflammation. By the time I saw
Dr. Filler, most of the pain and swelling had gone, at least for normal
walking on city streets, but he was able to prescribe exercises for that
muscle and to suggest wrapping the knee for extended downhills. He also
will be keeping my Big Bear X-rays and has offered to be available for
questions via email or phone.  It turns out that he has recently done
some hiking himself on the PCT up in the Sierras.

I finish the day at the nearby Museum of Natural Science.  They have an
excellent film on chapparal, the low scrub that has been the dominant
feature of Southern California walking. The exhibit included a stuffed
specimen of the small quail that we often see running around in pairs. 
Many of the plants in the chapparal produce seeds that only sprout as a
result of fire. It's easy to see how these SCal fires can be so extensive
- the plants die, dry out, and stay in that exact state.  Similarly, the
grass dies with no water, dries out, and stays that way. So the entire
mountainside is one big firepit, piled high with tinder, ready to go. In
the Northeast, with plenty of water, these materials soak up water,
decay, turn into soil.

[10 June 00]
Early to Starbucks, then breakfast; bus to the Greyhound station; stand
in line for an hour; to San Bernardino; have a meal; bus to Big Bear
City; bus to the fire station; ice from the market; dinner at Thelmas. 
The Big Bear Trail Angels' lines are both busy - perhaps they are worn
out from the hikers' requests.   I hope to do a six mile on-the-trail day
tomorrow, then a ten mile day and see how things go. That would get me
back to Big Bear and ready for the next 75-mile leg to I-15. This little
test will help determine my fitness for the remainder of the summer.  But
not really to worry.  With about 2400 miles left, or 120 20-mile days,
I'm not really that far back. Adding 12 rest days still gets me to the
border before the end of September... So the main thing is to take care
not to repeat the same injury.

-- Dave

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