And That’s How She Got Off Trail

The thing you think will never happen to you

“And that’s how he got off trail…” was their joking refrain.

Early on I hiked with a fun crew who call themselves The Minnesota Hikings.

Our hitch in Robbinsville, NC, with Darlene.

One of them would lean a little too close to the rock ledge for a selfie and the other would laugh, “And that’s how he got off trail.”

Another would eat a wild berry, inspect a strange mushroom, or drink suspicious water, and a chorus of voices would chime in together, “And that’s how they got off trail.”

It’s only a joke because of this:

No one wants to get off trail.

No one wants to quit their job for six months, save up their money, invest in expensive gear, and leave their family and friends—only to stop before Katahdin.

The iconic sign at the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine, end of the US Appalachian Trail.

We come here for the experience, but we also come here to finish.

We train our bodies, minds, feet, backs, sleep schedules, diets, and spirits—all in order to make it to the end. Together.

Counting the cost from the start

When you begin a thru-hike, you know anything’s possible. You know storms, danger, or injury could strike at any time.

But you feel determined. You’ve read the books, taken the REI wilderness classes, and fine-tuned your fitness and nutrition.

My weekend overnight practice hike at Bear Mountain in February.

Most of all, you have this spark of hope that can’t be snuffed out. Something compels you to the trail—all 2,192 miles of it—because you believe you’re meant to go. You sense something lies in store for you that you can only discover by saying “yes.”

Me on day one at Springer Mountain, GA, March 17.

When you plan your hike, chart your course, and assemble your pack, you never think about what it would feel like to quit.

I didn’t see it coming

Everything started out bright.

Finally, the days of extreme July heat had passed as we set out for our second day in New Jersey.

Just one day earlier I’d crossed over from Pennsylvania, having conquered the land of rocks and bugs. Now we were confidently entering the Garden State.

Having lived here for four years during grad school and after, I knew this state. Jersey didn’t scare me.

I’d already made it halfway through the AT, and couldn’t wait to move into familiar territory—first New Jersey and then New York—where I’d lived for the past 12 years.

I couldn’t wait to climb down Bear Mountain, the closest part of the AT to my old house. This time not as a day-hiker but a bona fide thru-hiker.

It was a year ago July 22 that I’d met Mary Stewart here, and she’d inspired me to thru-hike like her.

The day my hike ends

So on this July 22, I cheerfully make a video as I hike, telling Mary Stewart (aka “Kudzu”) about this anniversary day and how happy I am to be on trail. How I owe it to her, and though I am a few days behind her schedule, I feel so glad to be here.

July 22 in NJ, atop Catfish Fire Tower.

I feel glad to have finally made it to the Northeast, glad for Mohican campground where we stayed the night before, glad to hike with my friend Django, and glad for cooler weather.

Beauty on the way to doom

All scenes from that fateful morning.

OK, that’s a dramatic subheading.

But all of this beauty—butterflies and blueberries, bright mushrooms, and lily pads—comes right before the soundtrack shifts to an ominous minor chord.

“Cloudy with a chance of gunshots”

This is what Django says when I ask about the weather prediction that day.

We are walking through woods and hear gunshots less than a quarter mile away. Hunters? A firing range?

Oh well. “It’s Jersey,” I think.

We hike on.

Down come the storms

We know that storms are coming. Rain and lightning and wind. But after days of 100-degree heat index, any form of water feels welcome.

Plus if you don’t hike in the rain, you don’t get to Maine. As they say, “Hikers hike.” Rain or shine.

We know rain’s coming, and congratulate ourselves for hiking anyway.

Still, when the storm system moves in we don’t know what we’re in for. Soaking wet, sloshing through mud puddles, and shifting our weight on slick boulders, we focus on the good.

Wet ground is soft for the feet. Cool rain means less heat. Flowing water means fuller streams from which to filter.

Wet also means:




Add the shoes

Here is a takeaway for you current thru-hikers: if you don’t like your shoes, stop wearing them.

No matter what you paid or how new they are or how hard it is to get new ones, don’t keep hiking in shoes that feel wrong.

These are Saucony Xodus, the same kind I hiked the last 500 miles in, but these are a half-size up and a whole new color. I stand by the peacock blue, but the fit never felt right, even with the added Superfeet insoles.

Maybe they were too new. Maybe I needed to rough up the traction more. Maybe they were too big. Maybe I needed ankle-support boots. Maybe I could “maybe” myself to death, but it wouldn’t change a thing.

The point is—the shoes felt like a poor fit ever since I got them a week earlier.

And it turns out they definitely weren’t fit for the storm and slopes.

Enter Crater Lake rocks

It looks all sunny and benign here, but add dark gray rain and stir.

Django went back on trail today and started right where we left off, mile 1,314.8. A number I now know by heart.

He took the photo above of the place where my hike ended, a place I remember more like this:

If you add a lot of wind, rain, and slippery shoes to the photo above, you have a perfect storm of what happens next:

I fall

I still don’t know exactly how this moment came into being.

I know I felt strong that day and was concentrating. I know as a small person with lots of yoga training, I have good balance. I also know that I deliberately followed the white blazes marking the AT path, and used them to decide where to put each calculated step in the storm.

All I know is that right on the top of this rock, on the right upper slope of the photo, something goes wrong.

Breaking it down

This is the moment where I roll my right ankle, my full weight crashing down on the outside of my right foot and leg. I hear and feel something crack.

As I fall I slide down the rest of the rock, landing at the base of the tree in the left foreground of the photo.

Curses fly out of my mouth as I grip my leg tightly. It feels like a knife in the side of my ankle and the pain shoots so sharply I have to will myself to breathe.

Django comes right behind me and I tell him I think something’s broken. He takes my pack and goes to find a place to set up my tent so we can have shelter from the pelting rain.

We need to stay warm. An injury is one thing. An injury plus hypothermia is another.

I call my hiker friend Audible, who’s an ER nurse. He sometimes has good reason to suspect I’m “crying wolf” when it comes to my imagined ailments. But my voice on the phone alerts him that this time is different.

He calmly asks if I can move my foot, and if I can put it weight on it. But I can hardly begin to stand on this rainy slope of rock. I also know I cannot walk.

Django carries me the 50 feet or so to where he has set up my tent on flat ground under the trees and away from the lightning.

Here is where we are:

From the Guthook app.

And the rescue begins

What happens next is 911, followed by waiting in the wet tent for an hour, followed by ATVs and ambulance and the EMT who also happens to be Manager Misty from the Mohican campground.

Below are photos. I am smiling only because it is strange and surreal and dramatic, and I am still hoping against hope that my hurt ankle is just a sprain.

My life, the action thriller

Three volunteer firefighter departments came!

Driving in the rain down a mountain.

Misty the superhero EMT and AMC campground manager.

I could not figure out why they sent so many people.

EMT Justin, who has a moving story of how he got into rescue work.

The park ranger who navigated the firefighter crew down the mountain.

Many ties and much care on this splint; we are laughing and joking and they are so kind.

Thru-hiking the hospital.

Finally in dry, clean clothes,

The smiles end there

Because here is where stuff gets real and the X-rays come back:

Newton Memorial Hospital, NJ.

An unmistakable break. See upper left.

And the doctor says, “No more hike for you”

Solid fibula break. Two months cast and crutches. Three months till (hopefully) full recovery. Possible surgery.

This is July 22. You have to make it to Katahdin by early October. I have over 800 miles and over two months to go.

No need to do the math.

My thru-hike is over.

I tell Django and the nurses I do not want to talk.

I ask the ER doctor if I can see a chaplain. At the very least one of my tribe could pray for me.

I remember my hospital chaplain days as a seminarian, and how I jumped when patients called for us. Nothing was too small for spiritual care. Both my internships were in New Jersey and people weren’t big on seeking out religious help. Thus we didn’t get a lot of requests.

“I’ll give those Jersey chaplains some business,” I think.

The doctor rolls his eyes. “You want a chaplain? For this? Now?” He scoffs. “It’s 11. No one’s on duty for that.” He says some other things very fast and then leaves the room.

Now what

Django and I have nowhere to go. There is no car. There is no home. There are no cabs in service, either. I ask about renting a bed somewhere in the hospital, even if I haven’t been admitted. The answer is no.

In one afternoon I go from valiant thru-hiker to homeless and jobless. The doctor says to follow up with an orthopedist in two days. But where? How?

We finally get what seems to be the last Uber in all of North Jersey, and take the hour-long ride to a hotel nearest the trail. A hotel near some of our friends who’ve just hiked High Point State Park and are seeking shelter from the rain.

The tiniest glimmer of happy

It is nearly midnight now and Gabriel the Uber driver asks if we want to stop anywhere on the way.

I, who live for salads and green smoothies, look up weakly and say, “McDonald’s?”

And the Happy Meal is a hot delicious reminder that all is not lost.

It even comes with extra pickles.

What comes next

We get to the Scottish Inns in Matamoras, PA, where I hope a few friends will stop by in the morning before their 8:30 a.m. shuttle back to trail. Maybe I can still hug them goodbye?

I can’t even wrap my head around this abrupt end. No more reunion with friends at Bear Mountain. No more New England. No more hiking the White Mountains with TBD, my thru-hiker friend from that region. No more 100-Mile Wilderness. No more Maine.

Nothing ahead is clear. All I see is a lonely sedentary void. No hiking. No trail family. No trail magic. All I can see is the word “No.”

But what I don’t know is this:

My trail friends have a plan.

They are staying. They are not letting me drop off the trail so fast. They surround me for days with a big hug of hiker love, filling my fridge, my hotel room, and my heart until they’re full to bursting.

The best zeroes

Board games!

Planning cast art.

Crutch stunts.

Requisite hotel-cup toasts.

Piling on the love.

Not a town day without Mexican.

The inimitable Mr. Mun.

Orthopedic party time.

And BEST of all

We find a way to summit together.

This was the photo I’d hoped to take two to three months from now in front of the Mount Katahdin sign, all of us euphoric and foot-sore from that final mile.

But this might just be the next best thing:

It may not be Katahdin, but it has an equally odd name. Zoom in on the sign- credit to Tadpole!

This isn’t the way I planned it

But I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come.

Allowing for the 80 miles in MD-PA that I skipped, I hiked/paddled a total of 1,234 miles of the Appalachian Trail.

And you better believe I’m not finished.

At least for now I can say:

Credit Grubber for this one. Zoom in on the fine print!

Five parting words from the past five days

1. I don’t know yet what’s next

Thank you for caring and wondering. I’ll let you know when I know. For now I’m in NY for more orthopedic appointments and a reunion with my junior trail family:

George loves my crutches and declares, “I am never hiking the Appalachian Trail!”

I may go home to see family in Kansas City once I’m on solid footing (no pun intended) with the ankle and am cleared to fly.

Likely I will keep my plan to be at the monastery near New Paltz, NY, this fall/winter, and hopefully finish the AT next spring/summer, with some kind of employment in between.

Once I can drive, I also want to visit my AT friends as they hike up north this fall!

2. Yes, I’ll keep writing.

If you’ll keep reading. Thanks for following my journey.

Speaking of writing, check out the great sermons of Rev. Sherry at Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap, PA. This church knows how to welcome hikers!

3. Here is what helps when someone has a sudden blow

This is what has meant the most to me from friends and family this week:

Every voicemail, text, email, FB and IG message, even though I haven’t been able to read and reply to them all yet.

I will, I promise. Those of you who allow me to feel this pain and also name my potential- thank you. I take screen-shots of each of your notes:

I especially treasure the friends who skip the logistics, the “who-what-when-where-why’s,” and the “God has another plan” theories, and just show up without asking me to figure things out.

For showing up with rides, food, games, spinach, deodorant, books, and lemon cake: I love you.

And I love it when people ask not about my ankle and my future plans, but instead wonder aloud with me:

“What did you love about the trail? What do you miss most? Why do you want to go back? How do you feel different now?”

It’s hard for me to talk about the injury and the “what if’s” and the “what next’s.” That’s why I wrote this.

I’m glad to have a slightly better idea now of how to help others who have sudden setbacks.

4. No, I’m not secretly relieved

I just got asked this question.

After one of my recent posts, I think some got the impression that I was sick of thru-hiking.

Not the case. I just had some hard days and wanted to write honestly about it.

But there is nothing like this AT thru-hike, and I started the second half with a renewed sense of purpose and energy.

I’m truly bummed the trail for 2019 is over. I will miss it, and my friends who are still hiking it, more than I can say.

5. What’s getting me through

What’s getting me through is perspective:

No one died; a season of my journey ended.

I have a broken ankle, not a brain injury.

I have a great life, and a pilgrimage that’s taken a detour.

I now get to use my thru-hiker maneuvering skills to figure out how to open spring-release doors with my cast and crutches. I get to use my newly increased resourcefulness to make myself breakfast without falling.

After all, I never was a fast hiker.

I have this unexpected time to rest, write, make art, dream big, and help others. Something creative and surprising will emerge.

And all those goals I had for why I wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail?

I have more time now to manifest them.

As they say, the trail’s not going anywhere.

The night before the fall. 800+ miles to Maine 2020?

Still, sometimes I have to let the sad, bad feelings come. Like the clouds passing over the trail. Like the chipmunks that scurry across the dirt and scamper off.

The pain has its place.

Then I ask myself: “Aside from all you’re missing out on and feel you can’t face, can you face this moment? Can you handle what’s right in front of you right now?”

And usually the answer, after looking around and seeing what’s here, is, “Yeah. Yeah I can.”

(Except that moment when the ER doctor grabbed my foot and jerked it back without warning and wouldn’t stop and I screamed like a banshee. That was a bad moment.)

So that’s how I got off trail

From my winding road to yours,

“Don’t you… forget about me.” ?

Sprout ?



You too, Blue! And all the 2019 NOBOs. ?

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Comments 64

  • Jo-Dee Collins : Jul 27th

    i am so sorry for this abrupt end to your 2019 hike. i hope you will consider completing the trail within 365 days and not complete it because it wasnt a soild continuous hike. you have so much more to see and folks to meet as well as selfish people like me help by reading your stories and blessing us with your spirit. love and prayers!!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you so much, Jo-Dee!

  • Kim Derbin : Jul 27th

    there is a book in the offing!!!
    Sending love and hugs along with so many others, I’m sure.
    I’m in Pa., helping my 92 year old Mom for the summer (I’m the art teacher from my once active Jazzercise days/Alicia).
    Email me if you need anything…Scranton is not that far off!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you so much, Kim! Hope your mother is doing well. Jazzercise to the end!

  • Julie : Jul 27th

    I’m so very sorry you’re off the trail. I know you’re going to finish it one day. I’ve totally enjoyed reading your posts and will miss your writings. You’ re inspirational and I always look forward to seeing your name in my trek emails. Good luck with your recovery. I know you’ll go far!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Julie! That means a lot to me. I believe I will finish it too! Thank you for reading. All the best, Cari

  • SingerRCB : Jul 27th

    Cari, You scared us when you said “gunshots”.

    You are in our prayers.
    Hope to see you in New Paltz!

    • Joe Cleveland : Jul 27th

      Opened my email today and said great! There is a new Cari Pattison post. Was not what I was expecting. Serious detour. Your writing of this new adventure was very good and did not disappoint even when about a disappointnent.

      Can not forget about anyone who takes the time to write and help others with their experiences. Closing with The Beatles ? and Simple Minds…. ? You’re good.

      • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

        Thank you, Joe.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Hi Sue! I’m in New Paltz now! Are you? And fear not, the gunshots were likely just hunters or target-shooters.

  • Paula : Jul 27th

    Cari, I love to read about your journey. The words you craft, speak to many. This journey is a testament for all who have had difficult loss and how to move from it with grace and a sense of peace. As you said, there is pain–physically, emotionally, and spiritually–but we believe in a God that takes our brokeness and makes us whole again and again. May God continue to surprise you as you continue your journey, though it look different than you had planned, and keep you wrapped in the Holy Spirit knowing the peace that passes all understanding. My prayers of love and light to you.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      So well said, Paula! Thank you.

  • Luther : Jul 27th

    C’mon, The Trek. Can’t you edit her photos to be right side up? I was surprised you didn’t fix them on one of her previous posts.
    So sorry to see this Cari. You’re an inspiration.

    • Carilyn Pattison : Jul 27th

      Do the photos appear upside down? They all look right side up on my phone but I have no computer here. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Luther : Jul 28th

        Catfish Fire Tower, Volunteer firefighter, dry clothes and hotel cup toasts appear upside down on my Mac desktop. No matter, Cari. All your posts have been the most well written and best we’ve read. Thank you for sharing your tremendous experience, but especially your spiritual journey and faith in Christ these past months. We’re hoping your posts don’t end here! ‘Prayers for a speedy and complete recovery! -L&D and family

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      I think they’re all fixed now!

  • Eric Focht : Jul 27th

    Well….the trail isn’t going anywhere….there must be a trail family that needs you in the future…..but it totally blows to not summit with your trail family. I’m guessing you’re going to work something out with that aspect. Best of luck on your healing journey and thanks for sharing

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Eric!

  • Vince P : Jul 27th

    Started on Katahdin in June of ’16. Injured a tendon and hobbled down that magnificent mountain in the dark and broke a hiking pole in the process. Went home, did P/T, came back in ’17 and made it to Bennington, VT. Came back in ’18 and made it to Wind Gap, PA. Rotator cuff issues this year, however, next year it is back to PA to continue on. Continue to enjoy your journey, and may your injuries heal quickly.
    Vince aka The Dude, SOBO, ’16-’20

    • David Odell : Jul 27th

      Really enjoyed your excellent journal. Sorry to hear about your broken leg. Am sure you will
      finish up next year. David Odell AT71 PCT72 CDT77

      • Cari Pattison : Sep 4th

        Thank you, David! Way to go on the Triple Crown, 1970’s-style!!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      So sorry about your injuries, Vince! Best of healing to you, too.

  • Dr. David Galloway : Jul 27th

    Sorry to hear of your fall. That can happen so easily on the trail, with all the roots, slippery rocks, etc…. I sometimes wonder why I did not fall more.
    I tore my left quad tendon last year getting out of a Marriott hotel bed, after football, soccer, and basketball, and it happens in a damn hotel room. Two surgeries later, my tendon is still not repaired. My second surgeon is the Atlanta Falcons doc for knees. And my attempt at comedy when someone asks how I am doing is: Did you see how the Falcons did last year.
    Keep your head up. Attitude is everything. And write, write your ass off. I used my immobility to settle into two manuscripts that I had been avoiding. Simply, a stopping point to do some other things. Take advantage, seize the opportunity.
    I know this is an unexpected stop. Hope you are proud of your journey to point Which I had met you in my part of the woods at Amicalola and Springer. Lots of trail ahead.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thanks, David. So glad you found a way to write through your setbacks! Thanks for the encouragement to me to keep writing, too.

  • Daddy Longlegs : Jul 27th

    Dearest Sprout,
    Your blog this morning has moved me to tears and my heart goes out to you. Can honestly relate to your pain. On July 19, 2017 while hiking down Moose Mtn in New Hampshire I broke my legs at mile 1,760.5 of my thru-hike. It seemed devastating in a way few can understand.
    On September 22, 2018 the Katahdin summit sign came in to view and my hike was completed …559 days after starting at Amicalola Falls.
    It wasn’t easy.
    But God has given all of us an amazing opportunity to experience the wonder of His creation. He loaned us a body to use and everything. Gave us a free will to do with it as we please. Don’t give up. Don’t let this stop you. Your journey has seemingly been made more difficult, but your experience will be richer for it. What a story you’ll tell, Sprout.

    Thanks for the chance to follow your journey here at Trek. It has been a great honor & privilege to share your hike this far.
    Happy Trails,
    DLL {AT 17/18}

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you so much, DLL! Can’t imagine breaking two legs at once! What a heartbreak. Amazing and inspiring that you later finished the AT. Congrats!

  • Ross : Jul 27th

    I remember your saying, “For every moment like this … there’s an equal and opposite moment like this…” If that’s true then you must have been having a whale of a good time.

    As a boy I was taught that when you borrow something, you return it in better condition than you received it. There are now 1,234 miles of trail that are better for your having walked them.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Wow, Ross, this is one of my favorite messages! Thanks for reading my blog so closely, and caring so well.

  • Ruth Anne Collins : Jul 27th

    You still inspire me! Thank you for your beautiful, real, and honest writing.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      You’re welcome, Ruth Anne! Thank you for reading!

  • Half Pint : Jul 27th

    I’m so sorry about your injury and delay in finishing the AT. My husband and I have been following you since we came across your post on petite hikers. At 5’1″, I’m petite, as well. We are seriously considering starting a flip-flop hike next year and he is trying to give me as much information as possible. I have read most of your posts now and have enjoyed reading about all the ups and downs (pun intended!) of through hiking. I love your positive attitude and clearly evident faith. Thanks for taking all of us on your journey with you!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Half Pint! So glad to meet a fellow small woman hiker on here! Definitely don’t give up your dream, and go make it happen! I’ll see you on the trail this year 🙂

  • Dan Mattingly : Jul 27th

    I’ve been following your post since the beginning. Reading I felt that you would finish that you had the determination to make Katahdin. When your posts stopped I began to worry but from your last post I knew you were among a great group. Sorry you didn’t make it this year hope you get there next spring. Good luck with your ankle hope to follow you to the finish. I have always wanted to do the trail but in 2010 I fell 20’ and broke my back and shattered my heel bone so no thru hike for me. But through others eyes and posts I get to imagine and dream .

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Dan! So sorry about your heel injury.

  • Lisa Fawcett : Jul 27th

    Cari – I have thoroughly enjoyed following your trek. What an amazing gift you have in your writing. I am friends with Mary Stewart (one of her pickleball partners) and we talk about you often. We were eating lunch the other day as she was anxiously waiting to hear the extent of your injury. Hope you heal quickly and finish your journey…whatever that may be! Most Sincerely, Lisa

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Lisa! I think I got to meet you at Mary Stewart’s house this fall! Thank you so much for following my journey.

  • Anna M : Jul 28th


    The honesty in your writing and journey has made all of us better people. This unexpected event teaches us all that life is precious and that we are not in ultimate control. As devastating as this is for you, the bend around the corner is waiting for you to walk through. Not knowing what that will be, faith will guide you. You are amazing! Such spirit and pour joy flows out of you. Meeting you on the trail is one of the greatest treasures of my section hike. If you ever decide to come to Canton, please let me know.

    Until the next part of your journey…..


    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      So much thanks, Anna!!! I would love to come visit you.

  • Dennis A Turner : Jul 28th

    I met Cajun Fire on my 2018 Section hike and followed her on FB ’till she too broke her ankle. I was pleased to follow her this year as she finished on Katahdin. I know you too will finish next year and it will be a Glorious event. I look forward to continue following you and your fine inspirational writing. GOD Bless!
    FYI, I met the Minnesota group on my 2019 section hike near Trent’s Grocery and Dismal Falls in Virginia.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Hi Dennis! We may well have encountered each other on the trail then! I was not far from the MN Hikings in that area.

  • Shocktop : Jul 28th

    Ahh Sprout! I am cheering for you, for many reasons: as a short person, ‘Sprout’ resonates with me, lol. Then, my sister in law is a pastor, so there. But mainly, we all are trying to do this thing, the AT, and you make me laugh about it, which I need. Thank you. We WILL earn our 2000 miler patches ( but don’t hold your breath on me.)

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Shock Top! Here’s to short people and pastors 😉

      Yes we WILL make it in 2020- you included!!

      See you on trail,

  • Chip Lambert : Jul 28th

    It has been a pleasure to read your blog and you have been such an inspiration to many. So, it was a very sad day to read about your fall and the end of your hike for 2019. On a positive note, God works in mysterious ways and I am certain your experience will open other new and exciting doors despite the injury. And, I am sure you will complete other trails in addition to the AT as you set new goals. Keep your chin up with a big smile, continue writing, and exude all of that kindness that you have shown to others. Like the KC Royals….there’s always next year!!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Aw, thank you, Chip! You must be a fellow Kansas City-an!

  • Leslie : Jul 29th

    I’ve enjoyed reading all your posts and following your journey, and I’m so sorry for this abrupt ending! Having suffered a broken ankle several years ago, I know it’s no joke! Your positive outlook and awesome storytelling abilities will carry serve you well as you move into your next adventure.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Leslie! I know you know what it’s like!

  • Duo (18 thruhiker) : Jul 29th

    Hi Cari, Duo here….I met you on the lookout point in the Shenandoah a couple of weeks ago… what a surprise when Kudzu texted me about your nasty fall……I do feel bad for you since you now have to quit the trail…..keep looking up…..wish you the best

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thanks, Duo! I remember you! Kudzu’s friend! That night I met you was one of my longest-hiking nights!

  • Diane Barton : Jul 30th

    Truly inspiring. I’m sorry your journey was detoured but love your attitude. Best wishes for a complete recovery and fun back on the trail when you’re able

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Diane!

  • Thunder : Jul 30th

    I’ve followed and enjoyed your hike from the start and thoroughly enjoy your writing. I’m looking forward to you continuing to blog. My heart hurts for you and your ankle, I hope/pray all heals well and you have many more Happy Trails ahead of you!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Aw, thank you so much, Thunder!

  • Barbara Coulson : Jul 31st

    Cari, I’m as sorry as sorry can be for the pain, disappointment, and uncertainties you’re living right now. I want you to know your words have helped transform my perspective and responses to what’s going on in my world.

    A couple of posts back you wrote, “What would it look like if I took all the things that didn’t go my way and turned them into an opportunity to bless and serve others?” Thank you for being real with us. I look forward to future posts.

    Praying you experience an amazing and miraculous day! Barb

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Wow, I’m so grateful and humbled that something I wrote tied in to your life, too, Barb!

  • John Folsom : Aug 2nd

    While I have hiked some on the AT, nothing more than five days and four nights, I am not a through hiker. I have enjoyed reading your posts. You had a way of explaining not only the physical challenges but the mental/emotional challenges and rewards as well. Your joyous faith only added to the value of your posts. I have been rooting for you. Now I will be rooting for you in your next “through hike”.

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      So grateful to have had you in my cheering section, John! I will be back there on the trail this summer, and writing more in the meantime. Peace to you, and thanks for reading!

  • Kristen Fiedler : Aug 4th

    I’m so sorry about your break! I can’t imagine how you’re feeling. I’ve recently been injured and have had to get off the trail as well, only my recovery is only a month and I still hope to finish this year. Even though I still should be able to finish I’m feeling very sad at my interrupted hike and struggling with this time in limbo. It’s hard to admit, but it’s not easy watching others finish while I struggle to get in and out of cars. I cannot imagine the magnitude of emotion you’re feeling. It’s okay to feel really crappy about it but I admire the positive points you have been able to find. And you’re a rockstar for accomplishing what you did!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thanks so much, Kristen! This means a lot coming from a fellow NOBO ’19 thru-hiker!

  • Caboose (AT 2015) : Aug 10th

    Cari, so sorry to hear about your injury. Best wishes for a full recovery and to get back on the trail. I’ve enjoyed your writing, adventures and insights. You’ve accomplished much on your time on the trail. Keep writing, keep having your adventure. The AT will be there for you when you are ready to go again!

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Caboose!

  • Lynne Bailey : Aug 19th

    I’d already seen the outcome on FB … but my heart sunk all over again when that x-ray came into view. Just a detour 🙂 and what an amazing experience you had getting this far ! As others have opined, your writing is a pleasure to read .. thank you for these wonderful posts. And that is the trick ..grateful for each and every thing.. his love finds us every day, in so many ways. Perhaps I’ll see you again in the fall. Love and blessings…Lynne

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Many thanks, Lynne!

  • Tempe' : Dec 3rd

    Hope 2020 is a new great year of adventure and disclosure- your ‘early on trail’ pastor friend

    • Cari Pattison : Jan 16th

      Thank you, Reverend! It will be!! Thank you again for your Franklin hospitality and theology!!


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