“LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE” in part tells my story…..pictorial summary inserted first below >>>>>THEN the…sort of… “COMEBACK” of the QUIXOTIC MOUNTAINMAN, known to some as “LITTLE ANDY,” was accomplished in my 87th year! WHY A “TINY” FEAT FOR ME WAS “A GIGANTICALLY BIG DEAL?” “CLIMBING, FORDING, SEEKING TO FLY OVER THE RAINBOW……FINDING THE DREAM!”

HERE COMES THE NEW INSERT INTO WHAT WAS TO POSSIBLY BE MY LAST POST THIS SEASON…..BUT, all of a sudden–MY STORY– was on one of my favorite TV series--so wholesome, pure, entertaining, and so inspiring–so I’ve been watching an episode almost every evening, (9 seasons are available)

LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE,

The Ingall’s house with Mary, Laura (“Half-pint”), and Carrie, was to eventually grow adding Grace, Albert, James and Cassandra–something like our CENTRAL HOUSE FAMILY in Guatemala grew, and grew, and grew some more!

WOW…WHAT I WOULDN’T GIVE TO BE ABLE TO STILL BUILD MY “LITTLE CABIN” ON THE FRINGES OF THE HIGH UINTAS….SOMETHING LIKE “LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE”

Season 8, Episodes 17 & 18 tells sort of a similar LIFE & DEATH CONFRONTATION I FACED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, entitled: “DAYS OF SUNSHINE, DAYS OF SHADOW,” that I have shared in an email to my High Uinta & other friends with some detail below…but just a little as I hope I’m enticing you to look for it on Amazon Prime, or YouTubetv, etc……maybe even enhancing your lives by starting with Season 1 and go all the way to Season 9 with the wonderful Director and lead actor, Michael Landon, who plays Charles Ingalls. It is a pioneer kind of series, actually taken from the diary and books written by Charles & Caroline Ingall’s daughter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, one of the stars in the inspirational segment I review below with a series of pictures & just a little caption info to lead to the next image.

Almanzo, Laura’s husband, experiences diptheria, and then a stroke leaving him a cripple, similar to what happened to me.
Charles comforts his daughter Laura, Almanzo’s wife.
Dr. Brown attempts to encourage Almanzo with exercise that would require incredible effort, but Almanzo gives up as it is too painful and seemingly no progress.
Laura prays for, supports Almanzo and encourages him, but he gives up accepting being a cripple and actually wants to die.
Almanzo throws his crutches at Laura and the doctor, and resigns himself to a wheelchair and just watching life go by.
He wastes away his life attempting to help a geranium plant come to life and grow.
Laura prays fervently for her husband, and attempts to help him in every way, but all of a sudden realizes she has been helping too much, and gets angry at him not trying hard enough. Part of the family tragedy was being hit by a tornado that destroyed their home and their farm, plunging Almanzo even into deeper depression, but always with his father-in-law, Charles Ingalls trying to encourage him in the right ways.
But one day Almanzo notices amidst the debri of his destroyed house his GERANIUM PLANT, and learns a lesson…….his helping the plant was misguided and didn’t work…IN THE RUINS OF THE DESTROYED HOME THE PLANT GREW……..I CAN INSERT HERE THAT MY KIDS…the ones close-by: JESSE, NEPHI, MAHANA & MARCIA all understood this, didn’t help me with things I could do for myself–which I pretty much wanted to do anyway and not be a burden anymore than absolutely necessary. So they let me work hard to solve my problems for WHICH I DEEPLY THANK ALL OF THEM.
So, Almanzo went to work with Charles first helping to build in a barn two railings so he could grab onto something to help, and began taking steps, AGAIN, AGAIN & AGAIN, until he could do it on his own, and all of a sudden surprised Laura with being able to carefully walk again, and helping Charles build themselves a new home….another LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE!

24 MONTHS AGO, after apparently a botched surgery on my spine, MY RIGHT LEG DIED & I COULDN’T WALK–the muscles in my lower legs disappeared and only bone was left like I was a holocaust victim! I was a bit different than Almanzo in the above story, as he got terribly discouraged at first–I NEVER DID, but always was blessed with my “NEVER, NEVER GIVE IN, NOR GIVE UP” attitude. So, I went to work but in my attempts to –awaken feeling, build muscle again, be able to walk and be independant–a couple of falls left MY SPINE DANGEROUSLY MISALIGNED AS SEEN BELOW. The titanium appliances were perhaps doing more harm than good. A FALL COULD LEAVE ME COMPLETELY PARALYZED OR DEAD…..So great caution was advised by my spine surgeon, saying, “DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID!” .

My spine surgeon said he could straighten it out but the surgery would take at least 6 hours with possible complications, and no guarantee, he adding something like, “I’ve never done such a surgery on someone your age, but you are healthier than others your age, but I wouldn’t do it unless you were in so much pain you didn’t want to live any longer!”

My decision was to try and live with it, and do my best to adjust, adapt, and strengthen myself.

AS REPORTED HERE (scroll down to see the whole history) TIRELESS & PAINFUL HOURS WERE SPENT WITH MY OWN VERSION OF PHYSICAL THERAPY, COUPLED WITH A LOT OF PRAYER–FOR MONTHS IN BED with isometric exercises, and all kinds of exercises with my legs, helping with my hands the dead leg to begin movement and wake up , then gradually to actual movement inside my tiny mobile home–learning the “log roll” to sit up, grabbing on all the things close in every direction to sit, to stand, to fix my picnic-like meals, and eventually scoot into my tiny shower room, sit on the toilet and using a flexible shower-head, actually take a shower, then outside onto the porch Jesse had built for me with its down-ramp and railing, then using special canes Jesse got for me, and then a wheel chair my good friend Garth Norman provided to get me to the clinic and then the hospital for an emergency surgery, next a walker my daughter, Mahana, got for me, then using shopping carts as walkers around store parking lots I actually worked up to doing 2-3 miles a day.

I didn’t know what the Lord had in store for me, but I was willing to accept whatever condition he felt best–but DETERMINED TO PUSH MYSELF and LET HIM HELP ME ACHIEVE JUST AS MUCH AS WAS POSSIBLE!

Next, another good friend, Paul Edmunds got for me a nice walker gradually using it going farther and farther from home (American Fork) eventually on the paved jogging/bicycle paths to Highland and Lone Peak High School, then all the way up to half-marathon distance (13.2 miles) to Alpine & back forcing my dead leg to come alive and keep up with the good leg and building muscle again.

It was on those long “walks” that travelers called 911 that had the police offer to save “an old guy with a walker on the highway!” I thanked them, but insisted on getting home by myself, and twice beautiful young women attempted a “love kidnappings” which I bravely resisted with a smile telling them “thanks a million, but I’m doing great!” I apparently DIDN’T LOOK GREAT, but gradually got better as I repeated those long “hikes” with my walker, THEN ON TO THE NEXT STEP.

So, to the parks on on grass to provide soft landings, and without any aids learning to walk again like a baby, including learning to fall like a baby does to not break anything, and how to get up on my feet without help of any gadgets.

I then headed for the hills using trekking poles, so the FOOTHILLS OF MT. TIMPANOGOS became my FREE “EXERCISE MACHINE” up Grove Canyon, and hikes along the foothills every other day–doing a mile, then two, and three and always….

…. SHARING WITH ALL OF YOU the magnificent & inspiring “VISIONS OF NATURE” ….

…..you can all see scrolling down, and down and down some more! All of this in hopes of being able to BACKPACK IN THE UINTAS AGAIN….actually dreaming of doing at least a mile at high altitude on rocky trails & maybe even an overnighter!

I would use a tiny day pack weighing only 5 lbs. but mainly I got special waist packs, the large one on my behind a “lumbar waist pack” as I couldn’t put any significant weight on my spine.

SEVERAL ATTEMPTS WERE MADE UP TO BALD MT. PASS–by the way along the way I learned to drive again my car, first using exclusively my good left leg.

NOTE: The first time my car disappeared my boys, Jesse and Nephi were shocked and when I returned THEY CONFISCATED MY KEYS! I finally did a test drive and showed them I could do it safely. Of course I’m now back to driving normally.

BUT AT HIGH ALTITUDE I HAD TO SEE HOW MY BODY WOULD REACT TO HIGH ALTITUDE–that as I got older in my High Uinta Project became a problem, and as previously reported I RAN INTO TROUBLE WITH EVEN A SHORT WALK AT 10,700 ft. HAVING ME QUICKLY OUT OF BREATH, ALONG WITH DANGEROUSLY ERRATIC BLOOD PRESSURE–sometimes TOO LOW (93/55 with 120/80 as normal), sometimes HIGH. Below 95 is experienced “with people who are dying! I also was shocked when it seemed like my good left leg started dying as had the right one, but different: The right one just lost all feeling as though it wasn’t there; the left one just a couple of weeks ago began feeling pain down the outside of my leg and gradually weakening so I couldn’t lead with it anymore–neither up, nor down and could only trust my previously dead, right leg! So, I had to back off and do some special work to keep ALIVE & AWAKE BOTH LEGS!

I finally figured I could do it–carefully, my way.

So, as my last report stated on Monday, September 5th:

LITTLE ANDY HAS DISAPPEARED!

Only to reappear back in civilization on Wednesday, September 7th with the story in this photo/essay having MADE IT TO FEHR LAKE!

But, the following was necessary to adjust to the altitude. Once at 10,769 ft. Bald Mt. Pass, I parked and without doing any exercise, stayed there the night sleeping in my car to aclimatize before any hiking. My oximeter first showed my oxygen in my blood a little low–in the 80’s. For 24 hours I had been taking Diamox to help my body adjust, and continued that the next day. The next morning my vitals were all OK. So I prepared my hike to Fehr Lake with about 20 lbs. of equipment, fishing gear, food and water in my waist packs. But down the trail a bit I didn’t feel good, and found that my blood pressure was low….not as dangerously low as the last attempt, but I just felt that the load I wasn’t accustomed to, coupled with the altitude, was perhaps just too much, so I wisely returned to the car, yet determined to get to Fehr Lake. I rested a bit and prepared to just make it a day-hike with only emergency items, fishing gear and food for the day.

I headed for Fehr Lake again, and this time felt much better, made it through the rocky area with large steps down–that had stopped me last year, and got to the lake-bowed my head with a prayer of gratitude to the Lord, had my picnic lunch, did a little fishing, but as mentioned previously my balance was mostly lost in all of this ordeal over the last 3 years, and in rocky, uneven terrain always needed at least 1 trekking pole. Spin fishing was a problem as I had to use both hands to hold the rod and operate the spinning reel, and didn’t have a 3rd hand to steady me with the trekking pole, so every time I would begin reeling in my lure I would begin losing my balance–NOT GOOD ON THE EDGE OF A LAKE! I could only continue finding a rock to sit on near the water. Balance is a big part of my problem and would make wading and fishing a stream, like my beloved Beaverhead River in Montana–IMPOSSIBLE…even STUPID!

After a little succes I finally headed for the Trailhead, and was in the middle of–for me–the dangerous rocky area with big steps up, when two elderly ladies passed me, and stopped to talk. One of them recognized me when I mentioned doing my Uinta Project after returning from living in Guatemala for 35 years, remembering especially I had a lot of children and asked how many? I replied with a smile,

“Only 15, but some were adopted!”

NOTE: If she meant my Central House Family in Guatemala–there would eventually over the years be around 300 who called me “PAPA!”

NOTE: At the end of this post is a FREE link to my book a….A FIFTY YEAR “IMPOSSIBLE DREAM” AMONG THE MAYA that explains all of the above.

I made it back to the trailhead fine, learning I could easily do more-GIVING ME AMPLE TIME TO ACCLIMATIZE, monitor my vitals carefully, and WITH THE LORD’S HELP do a lot better with some of the lessons learned.

SO, FOR ME THE FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT FOR MY 88th YEAR–I’ve just got to keep moving & keep awake BOTH legs and the rest of me–physically and spiritually!

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I WOULD BE EMBARRASSED WITH ACKNOWLEDGING SUCH A SMALL GOAL IN THE HIGH UINTAS, but all things considered I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR HAVING BEEN ABLE TO BEAR THE PAIN & THE DIFFICULTY OF REACHING THIS FIRST SMALL GOAL…...and it will keep me moving, exercising through the fall, winter and spring–doing innumerable miles and doing my best to keep my legs awake and get stronger--to interestingly be hopefully capable of doing a few miles in the Uintas, but more importantly all the time be mentally, physically and spiritually awake and capable of meeting greater goals more in keeping with what I came to believe was my overall purpose in this world–SAVING LIVES!

“BIRDS FLY OVER THE RAINBOW, WHY OH WHY CAN’T I?”

“CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN, FORD EVERY STREAM, FOLLOW EVERY RAINBOW…..TILL YOU FIND YOUR DREAM!”

“A DREAM THAT WILL NEED ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN GIVE….

…..EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE, FOR AS LONG AS YOU LIVE!”

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THE STORY OF MY LIFE ….FOLLOWING EVERY RAINBOW….SEEKING MY DREAM ……ATTEMPTING MY BEST TO “SAVE LIVES” IS TOLD IN MY TWO BOOKS:

The story of my first 80+ years, THE “IMPOSSIBLE DREAM” IN THE MOUNTAINS OF THE MAYA, an online book 568 pages long with over 1,200 color photos, you can download free clicking on the link below the photo of the printed version. “FREE” as I told the ladies, “….because it in part tells my religious history and I don’t believe in making money off of religion!” The ladies heartedly agreed!

JUST THIS WEEK–09/19/22–THE FINAL, UPDATED & ENHANCED VERSION, WAS PRINTED FOR ME AT COPYTEC (info below) COSTING ME $153.37, so I can now hold it in my hands and read it to constantly remind me HOW THE LORD BLESSED ME with being an instrument in his hands to, as someone said,

“SAVED THOUSANDS & HELPED MANY TENS OF THOUSANDS OF MAYANS GET AN EDUCATION!”

To download the book to your computer CLICK ON:

MAYA BOOK 9/2022

A lot of very good information about the details of the book are included in a description of the MAYA BOOK on the Guatemalan Foundation website: https://www.guatemalanfoundation.org/ I heartily suggest you go there and read the entire introduction.

NOTE: There is no promotion of any kind asking for donations as I retired the Foundation on its GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY on August 19, 201750+ years doing my darndest!

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Then overlapping the last 18+ of those 80+ years–my life story is completed with THE HIGH UINTA MOUNTAINS BOOKwhich I’m told has saved lives & will continue to do so as more and more of you get the book following the information below the picture.

NOTE FROM AUTHOR (me): “I’m really enjoying now reading my book again, and I must say that IT IS PRETTY DARN GOOD, so far outdoing in every aspect any other book about the Uintas.”

IS THERE ANYONE OUT THERE WITH EXTENSIVE PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE WILLING TO PROMOTE THIS BOOK & GET RICH? IT SHOULD BE IN EVERY LIBRARY IN THE U.S. & IN THE HANDS OF EVERY OUTDOOR LOVER, but I haven’t known how to promote it properly & now getting too old to do it justice. I WOULD ALMOST GIVE IT TO SOMEONE WHO COULD DO IT RIGHT! LET ME KNOW.

The 730 page digital book is a Guide for adventuring in the Uintas, but also with HISTORY, LEGENDS, the SURVIVAL STORIES OF THOSE WHO DIDN’T MAKE IT & WHY, plus my 8 SURVIVAL STORIES and WHY I’LL BACKPACK THIS SUMMER IN MY 87th YEAR, plus a detailed APPENDIX (that among other things has the Anti-Aging Challenge writing), & 14 page INDEXas well as TOPOGRAPHICAL MAPS–of all the trailhead areas–WITH ROUTES, DISTANCES & LABELS — to get an online copy of this book, some have called THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE UINTA MOUNTAINS, send me $20 (don’t be afraid of sending a $20 bill as we aren’t south of the border) along with your email address, and I will immediately email you the link to download the book with my permission to share once with a friend. 

Send to: 

Cordell Andersen, 444 Elm St., American Fork, Utah 84003

To get a printed version like you see above, get the online book, then put it on  thumb drive and take to your favorite printer. Office Max will do it, but ask them to lighten up the pictures as the one they did for me had the pictures too dark.  

By far my favorite printer is COPYTEC, 185 West 200 South, Pleasant Grove, Utah 84062

Telephone: 801-785-3680

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