Ascending & Descending
Sorry for the lack of updates, but it’s been a crazy ride so far as I’ve officially hit one month on the trail.
Currently, I am a few miles out of Hot Springs. But for the past few days, I’ve been between Hot Springs and a mini trip to Asheville so I can rest my left knee, get a knee brace, send things home, and eat all the amazing food this town has to offer.
As most of you all know, the past week for thruhikers has been very wet. The Smokies didn’t offer the best views due to the storms, and many folks were flooded out of their tents, stuck in shelters, or wet for days as they hiked as many miles as possible to get out of the storm.
I’m not going to poetically ramble about how the rain has built me up to be a strong hiker or that I’m always looking on the bright side. I’m gonna give it to you straight: it just sucks sometimes.
Look, I love hiking in warm summer rain when I know I can dry out at home later – or I’ll be home and dry out within the next few days. Or even better, when I know it’ll dry over the next day or so due to it being warm. Thruhiking in cold rain? For days?! It’s the worst. Especially when you know you’re days away from any town. It’s cold, damp, and miserable.
Staying in the full shelters and trying to air out gear is hard when there’s no room. Your socks and shoes smell like a combination of wet dog and death, everything’s heavier due to the water, and you tend to just feel helpless. Nature sure knows how to beat you down and remind you of where you lay in the grand scheme of things.
Honestly, the past few days of rain really made it difficult to find the bright side of it all. I just had to keep reminding myself that the bad weather will pass, and it’s all part of this crazy experience.
So far, the bad weather has begun to die down – but I know it’ll be back shortly. Wet rocks and slippery mud make it hard to hike – especially when you screw up your knee in the process.
More than the rain, the thought of having a bad knee that could potentially end my hike early is what scares me the most. I’m unsure if it’s a tendon or meniscus issue, but I just know that – on occasion – it feels like someone is stabbing a knife right under and around the patella. I’ve been taking it easy to let it heal, as well as anti-inflammatory meds. Time will tell with this one. I just have to relax and take it slow for now.
That’s the thing – this whole Trail – is about the ups and downs of the terrain, the weather, your emotions, and your strength. There will be bad days and there will be good days.
How long can you tough it out to let the bad pass? It’s all about perseverance out here.
The extreme emotions can sure set in as well, where you have horrible mornings with amazing evenings. It keeps you on your toes, realising you cannot predict the future or the Trail. You have to let it come at you and react like how water does when it comes in contact with rocks. The Rapids of the Trail, if you will.
In the end, it’s amazing to think of what is to come. I’m excited and cannot wait to see what other crazy things will flow my way.
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