Nobody Said It Was Easy
No one ever said thru hiking would be easy. No one ever said it would be rainbows and sunshine for 2,000 miles. No one ever said it would be smiles for miles. But what people do say is that you will discover who you truly are, your strengths and weaknesses, and you will gain more than you could ever lose. Okay maybe people don’t say that verbatim, but it’s what I’m saying.
On June 21, after my two zero days, I got back on trail. I got about 4 miles into my day, and I just fell to the ground. I was in more pain than I could ever put into words. My right knee was throbbing, swollen, and bruised. I immediately began to cry because at this point, I knew this was worse than soreness, this was an injury. My next thoughts were, “I took TWO zero days.. how in the world am I still in this much pain??” A million thoughts ran through my head. Actually, probably a trillion. What will I tell people? How much money will this cost? Will I make it back out to the trail this year? So on and so on. I came to terms with needing to go home and seek medical attention. The next day, I was on a plane back to Atlanta.
Long story short, I saw an orthopedic and she insisted I stay off of my knee for 4 weeks. 4 WEEKS. Well, it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve been home. So I have 2 weeks to go. This time of rest and healing has been more beneficial than I could have ever imagined. I do not once regret my decision to come home. It was still very heartbreaking to initially come off the trail, but once I got home and heard that I truly need rest, I felt much more at ease.
Knees are no joke. We need these suckers to last for our entire lives. So, in the grand scheme of things, 4 weeks of rest is nothing. I am getting back on trail around July 17th, and I absolutely cannot wait for my sweet, sweet reunion with the trail. I feel confident and ready to get back out there. But I do want to say something about injuries and rest.
It seems that knees are the number one injury and pain on the trail. If you’re in so much pain that you cry almost daily because it feels like your knees are on fire… take time off! Rest! It is so important to listen to your body. Take your time. Do a whole week of 10-mile days if you have to. Just don’t overdo it so much that you have to come home for 4 weeks. Now, my injury specifically came from face planting on a rock (yeah, I know.. crazy awesome story)… so don’t face plant on rocks either. Especially Maine rocks. They’re extremely sharp.
Well, I have 2 more weeks of physical therapy to strengthen the ligaments and muscles impacted during my fall. I will return stronger than ever! I will continue this incredible journey. But for now, I’ll continue to sit here with my leg propped up, study my Awol guide, and daydream of what else the trail has in store for me. Thank you all for your love and support.
PS- I post all the mushy, gushy good stuff on my Instagram. Check it out! @ashschellhase
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