My Next Career Is Toe Wrestling – A Thru-Hike That Ends Before It Starts

My foot is hurt and now I will crawl into a corner and cry. If I were Anne of Green Gables, I would be in the “depths of despair.” Is this what happens when you’ve hiked 6,000 miles and tied your shoes too tight? During all those miles, I’ve never had an injury bump me off trail so maybe it’s my time to pay up.

Not to whine about my first world troubles, but here’s the deal:
Possible top of right foot tendon injury last September + less activity in hopes of healing = weight gain.
Weight gain = not enough synthetic thyroid hormone = hypo thyroid symptoms (Google it).
Hypo = lethargy = virtually zero metabolism = more weight gain.
+ Recently diagnosed hypocalcemia is the reason for feeling blah, diminished brain function, tingling extremities.
+ Random groin injury.

The big equals sign for all of that is a fat, lethargic, unhappy, tired-of-being-hurt person. Oh, did I mention my springtime, allergy-induced mega cold with persisting allergies? Poor not-so-little me. Get your violins, stat! Bottom line? That’s not a recipe for being ready to hit the AT doing 20 mile days, completing the AT in 3.5 months. Due to family constraints I would need to finish the AT during the first week of August. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that the AT is no joke; a tough, physically grueling adventure that throws at you steep ascents/descents, roots, rocks, rain, humidity and bugs. Could I manage? Slog through the miles? Sure. But that’s not why I hike. Like I’ve mentioned before, I will not force my path simply for the glory of it.


Thru-hiker calf muscles and tans at their best!

During the last three weeks my physical therapist Travis, has helped loosen my tight calf muscles. We’re not talking tight as in “OMG, you’re calves are sculpted and o-so-muscular!” Maybe it was all those miles that turned my calves into perfectly tightened drum heads. Or maybe my genetics just dictate that I have tight calf muscles. Nonetheless, stretching these beauties is a permanent part of my hiking future. Thanks to Travis, I’ve just had my first pain-free hike. Granted the hike was short, so maybe the jury is still out. At least there’s a glimmer of hope. But the glimmer is not bright enough to convince me to embark on a thru-hike next week. On the glimmer side of things, Travis told me that my toes are the strongest he’s ever seen. It made my day. And I hold onto that gem. So bring your best, because I’m ready to toe wrestle you until my next thru-hike.

It’s hard to say no to a thru because that is what I live for. It’s why I do the work that I do. It’s why I live the way I live. It’s how I can endure the six months of northern hemisphere thru-hiker winter. I’m sad not to meet my fellow AT Class of 2016. I’m sad to miss those moments which only those in the AT Class of 2016 will understand. I’m sad not to be pushing down the trail being amazed by new sights. I’m sad not to listen to the silence of the forest.


The sunrise on Smart's Mountain Farm this morning. I'm blessed to call this place home!

I think the reason I’m feeling ok about all this is because of the revised plans on the horizon:
Continue working, save more money.
Work the foot, get back in shape and get healthy.
Hike NoBo on the Pacific Crest Trail (starting at mile 652).
Volunteer in Etna, Ca at the Hiker Hut (PCT mile 1600).
Smart’s Mountain Farm time and work
Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim hike
Lowest to Highest (L2H) Route

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