Has Anyone Seen My Trail Legs?
I knew getting back on the trail after 3 weeks off with an injured knee was going to be tough so we planned a few easier days to start. And it worked out fine at first – starting with 10-mile days and quickly ramping up to 14, then an 18-mile slack pack. So far, so good.
The Good Days
We had amazing mountain top views during the day and relaxing nights sharing stories with other hikers around picnic tables or fire rings. A stop at Stanimal’s in Glasgow provided a comfortable stay, complete with pancakes and Charlie’s witty comments. At that point, I truly thought, “I’m back.”
We hiked along trails covered with flower petals, met some creepy crawlers, and even passed the 800-mile mark!
The Bad Days
All that changed abruptly as a weather system rolled through, bringing thunderstorms & sky-high temperatures to the trail. We got caught in a downpour on the way up the Priest, getting soaked to the skin, followed by heat & humidity that made the subsequent climbs absolute torture.
The over-3000-foot climb up to Three Ridges was a killer. If you hear a story about an elderly thru-hiker having an emotional, sobbing breakdown on a steep rock face — well, that was me. Making it to the top offered no reward either, as clouds obscured any views of the valley or surrounding peaks. Our daily mileage crept back down to 10-12 miles.
Lessons Learned & Relearned
Such is the AT. Beautiful days followed by horrible days. Easy miles followed by forced nearos. Incredible views followed by cloud-covered summits. How quickly I had forgotten the lessons of the trail!
Resting & Regrouping
We’re currently zeroing in Waynesboro and will enter the Shenandoahs tomorrow. I hear stories of blackberry milkshakes and wayside hamburgers with weather predictions that include both 70-degree days and (gulp) a few 90-degree days too. This time I’ll be mentally prepared for the good days and the bad.
But What About Wigglebutt?
Regular readers of this blog may wonder what happened to our dog, Bodhi, who hiked the first 500 miles with us. Rest assured he is having a great time mixing playful short hikes followed by air conditioning. Lucky dog!
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