Solid as a Rock

This week in trail therapy……resiliency. So Pennsylvania tried to take me out. I was feeling good and headed for the New Jersey border. Stopped to get a rock out of my shoe, when outta nowhere one foot slips and my ankle rolls! It really hurt, could barely put weight on it. It took me an hour to go downhill half a mile. Luckily another hiker Midnight Strider came along and carried my pack. Thanks man.

After a lot of hopping around I finally got a hitch to the Church of the Mountain hiker center.  Great bunch of people there….I even went to church. (I could use little help from above) After a day and half of rest and prayer I was ready to get back on trail. No sooner than I got into New Jersey a rock reached up and tripped me!

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Pain – then step, ouch, step, ouch. That’s when the tears came. I was an hour away from the road and I knew I had to decide…quit or keep going. Could i walk 800+miles like that? The AT had broke me.

Ok not really, but it did come down on me pretty hard. That’s when Kelsey says ‘well you did walk 1000 miles on fracture last year’. Yep she was right. So I swallowed a handful of ibuprofen (with brown water) and hobbled myself on to the next camp site.

I’ve decided I’d throw out my nonexistent schedule and let my body pick the miles. Somewhere around 18 miles the pain comes back that’s when I stop for the day.  So I probably won’t hike with Kelsey for awhile….that girls on a mission – crushing it! Tomorrow I’m hobbling my bent, not broke self into New York, BOOM! Kathadin is waiting….

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******Other than the rock incident and the brown water (i’m pretending it’s tea) New Jersey you got some pretty nice views.

High Sierras

The Sierras have been beautiful with the snow capped mountains, rushing rivers, amazing views and challenging terrain. But I am ready to move on. This has been the toughest section yet. I’ve dealt with nutrition issues, exhaustion and now a sprained ankle. Yea that happened.

Last Friday 3 miles from camp we had to ford a river. The PCT is always throwing some obstacle in your way. Fording rivers is NOT something I like to do. So instead of wading through thigh deep water I tried to cross on a log. Bad idea. I slipped stepping onto it, and fell thank god not in the river. The pain was awful(I heard the crack) but I still had to cross and now I was scared. Yep and crying. (rushing water+ wet shoes +wet log=bad fall)

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But hikers help each other and the guy crossing before me came back, took my pack across, then talked me across, holding my hand as I flung myself from the log to a rock then the other side. The hiking community is made up of some special people. Without his help I might still be there balling.

I limped on to camp hoping this was not a trip ending injury. Laying in my tent that night I decided it wouldn’t be. Heck we were 2 days into 7 day stretch, only one way out, I would have to hike 33 miles just to get to a road. ( being air lifted out just didn’t seem right for a sprain) A retired hiking doctor, Sweeper, taped my ankle.

So my plan was to limp/hike 10 slow miles a day, over Sonora Pass out to a road and hitch to town. Easy, well so it seemed. Except day 1, I took a wrong turn and limp/hiked 3 miles in the wrong direction! Suffice it to say I had a huge breakdown in the middle of nowhere and didn’t get very far that day. I managed day 2 without getting lost, figured out a way to limp/hike faster and made up some miles! Day 3 my confidence buoyed by the thoughts of being somewhere warm and off my ankle that night. I was making great progress stopping occasionally at snow fields to stuff snow in my sock!

Coming over the last snowy pass I knew I would make it! I could see the road from the summit! I could also see the trail winding off around ANOTHER mountain! No I thought, that’s so far. That’s when I made the oh so brilliant choice to-leave-trail, and make a bee line to the road. I could slide down the snow (glissading, way better than limping), cross the wooded field and be there in no time. So off I went. Bad Idea.

 PSA: Never leave the trail, especially if you are injured and nobody knows where you are!

After quickly sliding down the mountain I realized the error of my ways. The small wooded field was by no means small and there was a steep drop off between me and said field. DOH! With the sun dropping quickly I couldn’t bring myself to climb back up so I continued on. I found a way down but I would first have to cross a stream of rushing snow melt. Great! Remember that fear of stream crossing I mentioned. After some crying and beating myself up I forded that freezing stream wonky ankle and all. Bushwhacking the whole way I finally made it through that ‘small’ wooded field and up to the highway! After an hour of hitching I finally got a ride from a super nice dude into Bridgeport!
Headed to S Tahoe to rest my ankle then back on trail! I’m going to Canada…only 1004 miles to go…..