And So It Ends, with an Unwelcome Injury
And so it ends. I’ve pulled the plug on my 2018 thru-hike attempt. I had some knee issues develop over the last few weeks that eventually worsened to the point of almost being unable to walk. After taking two days to cover just 12 excruciating miles and popping enough vitamin I to make my head spin, I hobbled into the emergency room in Palmerton, Pa., where I got some X-rays, meds, and an unwelcome diagnosis. I called a temporary halt to my northward trek and took a week off in Stroudsburg.
Unfortunately, a week later the knee continues to give me problems and is not stable enough to trust out on the trail. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit frustrated by this turn of events. But I’m also very fortunate in that this hike was not a “once in a lifetime” thing for me and I know I’ll have other opportunities to do a thru-hike in the future. It is also useful to learn that after five weeks and 400 miles my knee becomes a cantankerous and unreliable hiking partner. I will now be able to do some better, more targeted, and preventative conditioning before my next attempt (and more importantly, I’ll also be smart enough to rest up when the knee first starts giving me problems and not try to hike through the pain, probably my biggest mistake on this hike). Or then again, maybe I’ll tackle the AT as a LASH (a long-ass section hiker), completing the trail in a series of long section hikes spaced over a few years instead of one continuous thru-hike. And an added bonus: thanks to the shortened hike I am significantly under budget. This gives me an unexpected opportunity to do some interesting things in the coming months.
So while this wasn’t in the original plan, it’s all good. The hike was amazing. I had a great time, spent five weeks in the woods, hiked nearly 400 miles, met some wonderful people, saw some beautiful landscapes and views, hiked through some wild weather, learned and wrote about some interesting history, had tons of fun learning my way around social media, and doing IG posts, writing blog posts, and making videos. I just truly enjoyed the whole experience. A huge thanks to everyone who has been following me on this blog (and other social media) and supporting me on this adventure. I hope you’ll stick around for the next chapter. Best of luck to all the thru-hikers still on the trail – keep on keeping on. I’ll be with you in spirit!
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