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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Comments 4

  • Morgan/The Brain : Jun 19th

    Can confirm- Shenandoah is awesome!! We are currently at Thornton Gap. Highly recommend stopping at Big Meadows and/or Skyland for at least a snack. We had our favorite dinner so far at Big Meadows. Haven’t had a blackberry milkshake yet (that should be fixed today!) but we did get blackberry ice cream PIE and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. So glad you are back on trail!

  • Bruce Russell-Jayne : Jun 19th

    Thanx for sharing your stories – the ups and the downs! (and I know, the downs are just optical illusions.) Cece and I are in Washington DC for the Poor Peoples Campaign march – yesterday. We’ll be driving back thru the Appalachians today and tomorrow. We’ll send you some energy thoughts.

  • Anne Woodward : Jun 19th

    Oh my lord! 18 mile days? I’m so impressed!

  • Sandra : Jun 20th

    I love this! I’m so inspired by you two. I have another 10 years of work before retiring at 65 so you make me think I can do it! I did a short section hike near Damascus a few weeks ago and loved it. My knee was also bothering me as we were doing 10 miles days and it was too much for me. I live in Houston, it’s all flat and hot! Glad you were able to rest the knee. I’m planning another AT section next year and will be trying to strengthen that knee before then.
    Looking forward to more of your posts.
    I got blisters too but fortunately, it was on the last day of hiking, never heard of Leukotape but going to get some!


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