It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns
A not-so Cinderella-ish story
Let’s face it, it was a long-shot for me to complete a thru hike of the AT. Though it WAS pretty cool for the twenty-somethings to say that I was not a usual grandmother. Apparently, we grandmas were expected to sit in rocking chairs and knit baby booties.
Realistically though, the odds against me were pretty numerous:
1 – my age; 60 years old
2 – not really being very athletic at all
3 – never having backpacked
4 – having pretty sketchy knees. In fact, before my pre-hike workout program, my knees were so bad that I had a hard time getting up and down from the floor or low chairs
5 – really really really disliking the cold
6 – disliking it even more when it’s cold and wet
Yet somehow or another I managed to climb up and down a whole lot of mountains in six weeks. Most days I was happy, even humming an old song from Frankie Valle “there’s no where else on earth I’d rather be.” Of course there were also the bad days, but usually I could get myself to think about all the reasons that I was hiking and the bad parts just seemed to go away in the face of the glory and beauty that is the AT.
Going up some of the steeper climbs, where there were no or very limited switchbacks, I definitely got winded. But each week I felt stronger and stronger. Going down the mountains my knees started to feel better equipped to handle the pressure of sharp descents. At the end of most days I felt good. I wasn’t overly tired. I wasn’t overly sore. I longed for a cocktail, but otherwise really felt good. Except for one thing. Well, really, two things – my poor feet But don’t every hiker’s feet hurt?
So why, then, am I sitting at home dreaming of the AT? In the end, it wasn’t my knees and it wasn’t really my emotions that got me off the trail. It was something the size of a pea on my right foot, coupled with pain on the ball of my foot that ended my Cinderella story. So here I am, sitting in the sunroom like other grannies do – and dreaming that maybe my feet will be good for another section later this year.
In the meantime, maybe I could learn to knit?
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I really enjoyed your posts on TJ and was sad to see you go off the trail. How far you hiked is nothing to be ashamed of!! Most people never even try and several I started following didn’t make it past the first week. Certainly nothing wrong with doing sections. A lot of people have finished the AT and other trails in sections. But if you never hike again you certainly have done something to be proud of!
So proud of you, Kate! Sorry to hear you got benched by your feet, but you still did an amazing job. I can’t wait to see what you do next. And any time you want a knitting lesson, just Give me a holler. (Psst – it’s not just for grannies, you know!) ??
Well done Kate!! I love your ambition, determination and savvy to concede when the time was right. You’re provided a great deal of inspiration as I dream of my own adventure 🙂