Telluride visit recap by Scottie McDonald

Scottie McDonald at Trout Lake near Telluride, Colorado. One of the locations of the Leg Up Rocky Mountain Experience.

It was an honor to be awarded the BTK Crossover knee through GoHawkeye’s Leg Up 2.0 contest. The knee alone would have been great, however the prosthesis was not the only element of this award. The fact that the contest also included the Rocky Mountain experience in Telluride for both my wife(Rita) and I was like icing on the cake. The Rocky Mountain experience, September 9-14, 2017, really allowed me to see what activities the knee would allow me to do.

First, thanks go to Milo Devries for allowing us the use of his vehicle and home while staying in Telluride.

 Hats off to Greg Mannino for getting the adventure started by attaching & aligning the knee to my existing prosthetic socket and for providing instructions on how to use the new device. After a few adjustments and some walking practice I was ready to test both the knee and my capabilities. To do this, my first activity included mountain biking. Hawkeye, Rita and I visited The Bootdoctor to get set up with bikes for the three of us. After a short safety orientation, we were on our way biking on the Telluride River trail. I was very surprised how the BTK crossover knee immediately helped me resume activities that I had not attempted since 1988 – riding a bike. Not only was I riding a bike again, I was using my prothesis to help propel it. Something that was not possible with prosthetic knees that I have used in the past. Upon returning the bikes to The Bootdoctor, when Hawkeye asked how much for the bike rentals the response was “no charge”. Thanks Bootdoctor! I see the need for a new bike in my near future.

The next activity in the Rocky Mountain experience was rock climbing. Admittedly, this was not my idea.

“With M’Lin Miller’s instructions, Rita and I went from ‘no way can we do that’ to one of the best experiences ever, requiring that I test the limits of the new knee to accomplish the task.” -Scottie McDonald

When discussing activities that I wanted to include in my adventure through the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program(TASP), program director Tim McGough suggested I try rock climbing and my reaction was something along the lines of “no way could we do that.” But as with other activities that I have accomplished, the staff at TASP made it happen. With M’Lin Miller’s instructions, Rita and I went from “no way can we do that” to one of the best experiences ever, requiring that I test the limits of the new knee to accomplish the task.

Later in the evening, Hawkeye and his wife Debbie invited us to dinner at Smugglers BrewPub in Telluride. Thanks to Smugglers Josh Klein and Warren Daniel not only for an outstanding dinner and their locally brewed beers, but also for donating the actual BTK Crossover knee itself.

The next day brought another exciting day and activity – stand up paddle boarding(SUP). The staff of TASP picked us up for a trip to Trout Lake where we learned to stand up paddle board. If the excitement of trying SUP wasn’t enough, the views at Trout Lake were spectacular, even for Telluride standards. This activity was important to me because since my accident that caused the loss of my leg, I had never participated in a water activity with two legs because the prosthetic knees that I have used in the past were not totally waterproof unlike the BTK Crossover. Luckily I didn’t fall into the cold, cold, cold water to test the knee so when we were done with the activity I caved into the temptation and waded into the water knee deep – a first for me on two legs since 1988.

After this activity I was given the opportunity by Derek Nunner of TASP to speak to a local group of children about my disability and the importance of overcoming challenge. I couldn’t help but praise all of the great work that TASP does in terms of helping people not only face and conquer their challenges but more importantly helping restore confidence.

Scottie McDonald crushing drives at Telluride Ski and Golf driving range in Mountain Village, Colorado.

Day four of the adventure allowed me to play in the annual Bob Miller charity golf tournament. But before this, through a contact of Hawkeye’s, I had the opportunity to utilize the driving range. I truly didn’t know what to expect or how I would respond to the new knee when playing golf. I was extremely pleased with the function of the knee and participated in the tournament the next day.

Needless to say, there were several people and some not mentioned above, that I can never repay for what they have done to make this trip and the use of the new knee a reality for me. There were several activities, I either have never tried in my entire life or since losing my leg, that I was able to accomplish with the new knee and the Telluride adventure. Thanks a bunch GoHawkeye for including me.

Check out this highlights video from the GoHawkeye Foundations Leg Up 2.0 Contest
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