Hitting a Rhythm in Tennessee
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mainly because it’s hard to find a computer out here. But I’m well over the 300 mile marker now, and going stronger than ever. The longer the days get, the more I look forward to the next one. Wednesday was my third 15-miler so far, a distance I was once afraid of. The terrain has challenged me far more than before my most recent post. The well-worn path ahead of me curls up and over steeper slopes, and back down even steeper ones, only to inch its way back up through an insane series of seemingly unending switchbacks. I love it–powering up those hills, as my breath gets louder but more determined, coasting over the top, then easing my way back down with bent knees, my eyes already on the next climb. Yesterday on the way up Bald Mountain my legs “hurt” but I could sense the top nearby, and surged up past the trees to a broad grassy summit with views stretching a hundred miles. Though of course, I’ve walked much further than that by now.
Every once in a while I still get anxious that I’ll somehow injure myself–so much so that I’ll have to get off the trail. About a week ago I was in a very bad mood because I kept rolling my ankle. “This’ll be the end of me!” I grumbled to myself. But I’ve been thinking–to a determined hiker like myself, a mere injury, at least the more common type that doesn’t involve breaking something, is not enough alone to end a thru-hike. The only two truly limiting variables are money and time; if you have enough of both, you can easily take time off and ride out an injury. I feel confident that I do, so even if I get injured, I’ll be ready to keep hiking after a week or two of rest. And yes, maybe I’ll end up hiking with a new group of people, and I’ll miss my old hiking friends, but if that’s what it takes to finish, that would be fine. (Just a thought that’s relaxed me a bit of late–I’m not in any particular danger of being injured.)
Hot Springs, by the way, was great–and Elmer’s Sunnybank Inn was so lovely. The owner, who’s also the chef, had us all sit down for dinner and breakfast together when we stayed there. So pleasant–and they had a piano!!!
I’m off to take a shower and eat huge quantities of food. Next update, I’ll probably be in Virginia. Imagine that!
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“… a mere injury, at least the more common type that doesn’t involve breaking something, is not enough alone to end a thru-hike” . True, but the perspective that follows that quote is really important: Yes, you can rest, as needed, but you need to accept the need. Padre had fairly major MCL damage in southern VA, tried going on for 2 days, and decided — very prudently — to have it checked. The orthopod’s advice was clear – honest – direct : If you stay OFF of it for 6 weeks, you’ll be fine. If you don’t stay OFF of it, it will take longer to heal — or will heal badly.” Padre stayed off of it, restarted from the same motel parking lot where he got picked up, and fairly flew from there to the finish.
Despite all that, thanks for the wonderful update, Ronen !