Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Not every obstacle on our path needs to be overcome, there are those that serve only to guide us towards a greater journey. -Greta Wilson- Annoyingly, and pretty painfully so - I injured my MCL in my knee about a month ago. Not being one to want to stay still, I've continued to hike, most recently with a brace that has me looking more like Terminator than the 'outdoorsy' type. The hike chosen for Kings Canyon was only 10 or so miles, something I thought I could manage - even with the rocky ascent and descent. The reason for my optimism was knowing there was a good chance I'd see a bear!
As the day stretched on and the scenery continued to wow me, I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed that there were no bears to be seen. Whether it was the distance I’d hiked on my lousy knee or a combination of that and feeling a bit discouraged, the pain became more than I could cope with. Remembering I had some Ibiprophen in the first-aid kit, I chugged a few down and then reassessed the trail back to the car. I knew I couldn't do any more climbing for the day, so the flattest route was chosen for the last 3 miles. The landscape changed almost immediately, to the point that I was completely re-energized with excitement - that may have also been the drugs though I guess. Still, no pain-reducing medication could ever have made me as happy as I was to see the most beautiful black bear taking a cooling dip in the stream I was passing by.
If it weren't for my banged-up knee and having to change course, I know I would never have had the wonderful experience I did - something I will remember forever. My obstacle steered me towards a better journey.