A visit with Amy

It was almost a year ago Sunday that I rode into Upper Milwaukee Basin in the Sangre de Cristos with Amy Finger, Gary Ziegler, and other friends who were on our annual neighborhood pack trip. I’d never been to that spot before and Amy and Gary led the way from our camp along Sand Creek. All of them were on horses except for myself (I generally avoid riding anything with ears that short), upon Redbo the saddle donkey. Once there, the group stopped for lunch, then people went their separate ways, some staying to fish in the creek, some off to Upper Sand Creek Lake to fish, and Gary bustling away to climb above timberline.

Amy and I rode back to camp together. If I remember correctly, she was nursing an injured knee and riding a fairly green horse. And I was riding a green saddle donkey named Redbo who wanted to jump every water crossing. But we made it back slowly without incident.

So it was indeed an eye-opener one year later to visit Amy in Memorial Hospital’s rehab unit where she is recovering from her stroke. At first her voice was somewhat monotone, almost mechanical. But as she warmed up it became more fluid and comfortable. By the time I left, her speech seemed almost normal and her face much more relaxed.

Amy noted that before the stroke she had been running regularly nearly every morning, and had just a week before thought that she felt like she was in the best shape she’d ever been in. “It just doesn’t seem fair,” she said.

Well, it’s definitely not fair.

Anyway, tests show good brain-tissue regeneration, and a full recovery is expected. We all hope by this time next year she’ll be ready to get back to the back-country on one of our group pack trips.

By the way, she said the best time to visit at the hospital is noon or 5 p.m. Otherwise she’s likely busy with physical therapy or resting.

Amy Finger (left) and Nancy Hedberg enjoy cowboy coffee by the campfire at camp on Sand Creek a year ago.

Amy Finger (left) and Nancy Hedberg enjoy cowboy coffee by the campfire at camp on Sand Creek a year ago.

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