Recently, I celebrated the 40th year (June 12, 1975) of breaking my leg at Big Springs.
In 1975, soon after graduation from Provo High School, I accepted a job to assist Provo City’s “5th grade camp” at Big Springs up Provo Canyon. Camp started in 1969 and ran Monday through Friday with different activities each day. Thursday was the hike to Cascade Saddle. However, we encountered snow on the trail. Instead of hiking, we slid on the snow. While sliding, the heel of my right foot hit a “indent” in the snow, and I broke my leg.
A stretcher was built, and I was carried two-and-one-half to three miles, then driven to the hospital. My leg was X-rayed. The head of the fibula was broken and I was placed in a cast for six weeks. The hill we were sliding was named “John’s Hill.” I am the “John” of John’s Hill.
When the cast was removed, however, my leg was unstable. My mother insisted we visit another doctor. He determined I didn’t have an Anterior Cruciate Ligament. When I broke my leg, I also severed my ACL. This would lead to three reconstructions of my knee, one before mission and two following. Fast forward. In 2008, I opened a hot dog restaurant called “Kranky Franks.” I was “Kranky” and my wife Taffy was “Frank.” After five years, Taffy noticed I was acting differently and felt something was wrong.
She drove me to the emergency room; they recommended a CAT scan followed by an MRI. Their diagnosis: “You have a small tumor at the base of your brain. This has closed the natural “drain” in your head.” Known as “hydrocephalus,” it needed to be corrected.
We selected the University of Utah for the surgery. Upon arriving, I was greeted by two of my boys who gave me an LDS priesthood blessing.
I was surrounded by my children, still wearing a BYU Cougar jacket. Alan, my son, said, “You better take that off or they won’t treat you here!”
On March 7, 2013 — my 56th birthday - I had surgery. Doctor Randy Jensen described the problem as “hydrocephalus with an obstruction,” and he didn’t find a brain tumor.
Another miracle happened. My children opened Kranky Franks for a twoday sale to cover the insurance deductible. Community support was incredible and the deductible was covered. I entered University Hospital with a BYU Cougar jacket but left with a red University of Utah School of Medicine hat.
Thirty-eight years after injuring my knee, I now had insurance to fix it. In July of 2013, Dr. Kirk Kimball replaced my knee with an artificial knee. I left the hospital without a cast on my leg and walking.
God took my leg as a youth and had now returned my leg. He is a real person, and the power of His Priesthood is real. Yes, “John” from “John’s Hill” and “Kranky” of “Kranky Franks” are the same person.
On Thursday, July 16, 2015, I will return to Big Springs to hike to the saddle. Leaving from the upper parking lot at 8 a.m., it is approximately an 11-mile round trip hike. Come join me and see the true beauty of the area. It is a sacred spot.