Sponsored by: The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America

By: Doug Bermel
By: Doug Bermel

After being cooped up in the house during the long cold winter and as the warmer days of spring start my thoughts are to get outdoors.  But with the receding snow brings wet and muddy conditions.  Not ideal for a guy in a wheelchair.  Last year I just had to get out a try anyway.  I have a power chair but it is worthless in mud. Well maybe, I thought, the four wheeler would be my best option. This was my plan so what could go wrong?  As I found out later sometimes even the best plans go south.

I was just going to look around and survey what went on over the winter.  There is  big cedar swamp across the road and I thought, maybe I could find some sheds there. Going through the swamp was wet and muddy but the four wheeler was handling the job.  That is until I went over a log and one side of the wheeler dropped into a mud hole.  Now I was high centered on a log and hopelessly stuck.  Not having told anyone what or where I was, I was all alone. I tried to get off and push but all I managed to do was lose my shoe in the mud.  So this idea was not going to work.

I have a wench on the wheeler but the big trees were to far away. There was a clump of brush close and I thought maybe that would work. I crawled through the mud and wrapped the cable around the bush, crawled back on and hit the button.  All I managed to do was pull the clump of brush out of the ground.  So much for that idea.

Now I was wet, muddy, had only one shoe and was stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Fortunately I had my cell phone so I called my daughter and told her I needed a little help.  She had to get the kids out of school and then come rescue me.  Reed the oldest walked out in the swamp, found me, got me hooked up to a big tree and I was able to get out.  I thought this would be the end but NO.  Then the verbal abuse started.  Jennifer gave me a stern look and said” what was I thinking and what other stupid things could I do”.  I was trying to keep this under wraps but no Jennifer called my wife and gave her the whole story.  So here I go again, Diane called me and the abuse started again.  “ Do you realize what you did”.  “ she had to get the kids out of school, drive to our house and get your sorry butt out of a swamp..  “ How stupid are you”?  I told her it was a good idea I just didn’t think it all the way through.  I am still hearing remarks of my misadventure and whenever my wife hears me say there was a situation she replies “Now what have you done”.

This was not the only time something like this has happened. I was getting the mail one winter using my power chair. Going down hill was no problem but trying to go back up the ice covered hill was.  I tried for an hour but made no progress.  Again a call to my daughter and she came and pushed me up the hill.  It was cold that day but I was dressed for it.  Here we go again with the abuse .but I look at it as a learning thing.  I know now not to do that again.

But the worst time was, and this could have had serious complications, was another trip to the mailbox.  Halfway back I got stuck in the snow. Well no problem I’ll just call somebody.  I reached in my pocket but no phone.  Problem.  It was very cold about 10* and it would be hours before anyone would be home.  I can’t just sit here and freeze to death I have try somehow and get to the house.  I got down and tried to crawl but the ice made this very difficult.   So I sat up a scooted and this was working.  It took me an hour and half to go a 100 yards but I made it.  Good thing I am in good shape or I might have been an ice covered lawn ornament.

My point to all this is don’t let your disability stop you from getting out and enjoying the outdoors.  Just be smart.  Make sure you are dressed for the weather and always have your cell phone and a contact list of ready volunteers. Don’t rely on mechanical devices, they can fail just when you need them the most.  Take a tip from me , as a disabled person we must always be ready  for unseen circumstances.  But always be prepared and  you can overcome any obstacle.  And I promise  I getting a little smarter.

For more please go to: The Disabled Archer

Sponsored by: The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America