Whitehorse man struggles to get past injury suffered during hiking fall

Murray Lundberg's life took an unexpected, and unwelcome, turn this year when he fell during a hike.

Lundberg is well-known in Yukon for documenting his adventures in the backcountry on The ExploreNorth Blog as well as his work on other websites including the Yukon History and Abandoned Places group on Facebook.

But his outdoor adventures have come to an end for now. Though doctors haven't confirmed it, Lundberg says the fall caused symptoms similar to a brain injury.

Lundberg was out on a mountain hike with his camera in August, as he's done a thousand times before.

As he reached over to pick up a tripod, he slipped and fell on a rock on his tailbone, he said.

Dave Croft/CBC

Within days he was in the Whitehorse hospital and then in Vancouver General's spinal injury unit and using a wheelchair to get around.

That was an education in itself, said Lundberg.

"When I was in the wheelchair coming home from Vancouver, the reaction I got from some people at the airport was absolutely shocking," he said.

"Like I'm in their way."

In the end, he said, doctors told him they could not put a name to what was going on with him.

"Just go home. There's no treatment no therapy.

"You'll get better eventually. But when I said 'can you specify eventually,' the answer was 'no.' Weeks, months, years. Who knows?" Lundberg said.

"Some people get over this sort of injury quickly and some people never do."

Since the fall, Lundberg has experienced a number of symptoms that have forced him to change his lifestyle.

He said even more passive activities, like highway driving, test his limits. He calls it hitting the wall.

"It's fatigue, but it's more than that. It's a headache but it's more than that. And when I eat, when I feel it coming, it's a sick feeling. But again, it's more than that," he said.

Lundberg's mostly given up travelling for now, but he's turned to another passion to help with his recovery — Yukon history.

Submitted by Murray Lundberg

He's restoring the model of a former White Pass cargo ship at the Yukon Transportation Museum.

Beginning in the 1960s, M.V. Frank H. Brown carried containers that could be transferred from the ship onto a White Pass train destined for Whitehorse.

Lundberg, also known for his work fostering puppies waiting for adoption, gets support from his dogs and cat.

"You know, it's been a long road, but the wheelchair's gone, the walker's gone," he said.

"I still sometimes use a cane, but you know, here we are. I mean, part of the frustration is that you can't possibly be this sick from a fall like that. But I am."