Gotta’ Run: State parks plan and back injury update

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2024

National Parks began with Yellowstone in 1872, championed by congress and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Theodore Roosevelt among others. In 1921, a group of preservationists and conservationists met in Iowa to begin developing additional parks at the state level. By 1925, all 48 states started to develop state parks.

North Carolina, like the other states, identified proposed state parks to preserve and protect unique recreational, historic, cultural and scenic areas. Timbering and mining were already causing significant damage to natural resources. The General Assembly moved quickly to designate Mt. Mitchell as N.C.’s first state park in 1915, with Fort Macon following in 1924. Many of the state’s most notable lakes came next.

Park development took a giant step forward when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservations Corps, a public works program, that helped develop the early state park roads and trails, state natural areas, state historic sites and state rivers. Plans are in place to open the new Pisgah View State Park soon. Currently, the N.C. Division of State Parks and Recreation manages over 250,000 acres and 22 million visitors annually.

I spent a lot of time reading about those state parks this week and I’m excited about visiting them. Most have an active visitor center and walking or hiking trails. I plan to stop at the visitor center and walk or hike at least the most popular trail at each park. Planned timeline is to begin in the mountain state parks and finish it all by the end of 2024. I already have a framed map and will use pins to denote those visited along the way. There is also a state parks system passport available that I will complete with a stamp at each location.

At this writing on Thursday, I just returned from my second spinal injury appointment. It has been four weeks since my first follow-up appointment and six weeks since the accident happened. I have been walking an average of three miles a day for the last 22 days. My back discomfort has been minimal recently.

My spine doctors are at Carolina Neurology and Spine in Concord. On the first appointment, four weeks ago, I parked as far from the building as possible to see if I could walk that far. This time, I parked in the same spot and walked 200 feet normally. Without a wait, the new x-rays were made, and I saw the doctor right away.

I had plenty of questions ready, but I had to wait my turn. The doctor told me that the healing looked good, and he wanted to schedule our next meeting in six weeks, meaning the second week of August. He said all looked good on the x-rays. I asked, “What can I do in the six weeks? Can I do more? And will it be possible for me to run again?” The last being the biggest question.

The doctor’s answer to that big question was a good one. He said, “If healing continues and all goes well, we should be able to look at you starting running then.” I was excited and still am, but I know it will be starting from scratch. Maybe I can be an actual beginning runner in my fall class. I sure hope so.

The answers to my other questions were all the same. No, to returning to more normal lifting and farm work, or even arm curls. No, to doing pushups or planks. No, to anything but walking. I can live with that in hopes that running can return. The one concession, not something I expected, was that I don’t have to wear the back brace at home. And he reminded me to consume my protein, calcium and my vitamins.

For the next six weeks, I will gather my patience and look at the big picture and follow directions. Thanks for the prayers and support again, both of which have kept the healing going!

Our next local race will be the Run for the Greenway 5K and fun run at the Knox Middle School site on July 20. Look for it and a probable August prediction run at