Pinhoti Trail: Hike Lessons Learned

Hello all! I’ve missed you!

I have been off The Pinhoti Trail for about a month and thought I would update you on my knee, plans, and spirits.

Ice became my best friend

To recap, I finished the Pinhoti Trail on the 11th of March with severe pain starting in my right hip, going to my knee, and then down to the toes of my foot. I decided that it was in the best interest of my health to suspend my hike until I could walk pain-free again.

I immediately went to the doctor once I got home. The diagnosis was that I twisted my ankle and knee to the point that it had water build-up. Time and staying off my knee was my only option for recovering.

I have a hard time sitting still, and the only way to find out if my knee is getting any better is to test it. Right? Once or twice a week, I went on excursions for one to get out of the house—the other reason I cannot do everything from home. Life still needs to happen.

Sunset at my youngest sons Middle School soccer game

My boys had doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments, and our eyes needed to be examined. Maybe I’ll be able to see the blazes next time I’m on the trail. Or a goose that turns out to be a branch. I have been busy for the most part, yet I am healing very slowly.

Lessons Learned:

What happened?

Since I have been home, I have read all of my posts. I will say if you have been here since the beginning, good on you! Those first posts were rough, weren’t they?


Enjoying my evening with fire

I had failed before I even stepped out of the door. I didn’t get my shoes properly fitted; I complained about my feet from my first post to the last. Before returning to the trail, my shoes will be the correct size and fitting.

No ankle support is another problem. I found myself walking quite often on the side of my ankle/foot. Boots would have been better for me to start with, then change to shoes once my ankles and joints got strong enough to walk through the rock gardens.

I also put some blame on trekking poles. I had not used any before. I found myself changing my stride, along with my whole walking movements. I blame the poles for taking half steps instead of complete steps. I like the benefits of them going uphill; they helped immensely; any other time, I should have put them away.

Then there is stubbornness, ignorance, and not letting the body recover. The Green Hippie Hostel offered me a bed and a work-for-stay for as long as I needed to heal. I should’ve and could’ve truthfully, pride was in the lead from the backstretch, and my waterlogged knee was in for the win. (Sawyer Brown The Race Is On).

Caesar wanted to say hi

What would you change for a better outcome?

For one, experienced people tried to guide and mentor me for a successful hike. Putting what they advised into practice would have significantly enhanced my ability to complete this hike.

A lighter pack, my tent weighed in at six pounds! I have no clue why I didn’t realize that before. I carried cans of soup and crackers. An umbrella that turned out to be very loud and didn’t offer much protection.

My gear that was thin but would not dry

Rain and cold weather gear that, once wet, did not dry out quickly, adding even more weight to my pack. That gear found a new home in a trash can at a trailhead after three days of trying to dry them out! A hot, heavy, bulky sleeping pad made the list of “not satisfied with.”

One would think money would not play into hiking once on the trail. Boy, was I wrong! The lack of funding was just as significant as my injury. I chalk this up to being impatient to be on the trail. Along with purchasing items I was not planning on getting. Spending to much money on food, then not taking it all with me. (Was always given to the nearest homeless person)

What is ahead:

The trail was an incredible teacher; now, can I put what I learned into practice? I have published a new gear list if you want to look. Until those items are purchased, I will not return to the trail.

A waterfall

A few projects have to happen on the home front, too. Of course, that, too, is going to take money. It isn’t quite to the point I need to get a job, but it’s getting danger close. Time is on my side; summer is typically hot and dry, making hiking not so enjoyable.

If I wanted to get out there, I could. Technically, I have everything I need except for footwear. I have friends near the trailheads I want to hike. Food, hum, depending on the trail, I could manage. Planning resupply would alleviate many problems with food and creature habits.

Where to go, which trail?

East, either Kentucky, Tennessee, or the Foothills Trail are all on the table. Several people are pointing to the Bartram Trail. Tempting, put it on the FarOut app, and then my interest might increase. Sorry, I love the FarOut app. All Trails I do not like at all; I want to insert a trail name, research it, and walk it. Maybe, most likely, I need to expand my navigation apps.

When are you looking to get back out there?

August at the very earliest for a few days (cue Foot Hills Trail). September has the Pinhoti Fest (cue Alabama Triple Crown). The temperature starts cooling in October (cue Sheltowee Trace, Bartram). January, no doubt, 100% I am walking from somewhere in the south to somewhere in the north over months. What was that? The FLT has trail days in January. Interesting, very Interesting. Not that I am saying that is where I am going. But I may have changed my mind on a few things.

As always, thank you for being here and following along!

OH! My knee is about 80-90% I still have a ways to go.

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Comments 5

  • jhonyermo : Apr 12th

    Hey buddy, thanks for writing. Was wondering what was going on. Glad to know all the positive stuff. You might be glad to know too, how much I am learning from your posts. Thanks for SHARING. Just so very spiffy. And where is your GEAR LIST. I truly want to know what is going on there also. I must agree w/ almost all you said. Especially about trekking poles. Yes, use ’em when you need them. Otherwise they are simple decorations or to me, CURB FEELERS. IMNOHO, you nailed that for me, for sure.
    I am sure I am going to read this article several times.
    Thanks again. All the best, and Good walking to YOU

    • None Given : Apr 13th

      Jhony, it’s great to hear from you too! Gear list link should be at the top of my post on the right side under the featured picture. On the left should be a picture of me with my name — go straight across where you should see a blue backpack that says “View My Gear List.” Click on that. Another page should open with a list of my gear, website, weight, worn, packed, etc. If it says worn, it does not count towards pack weight. For example, my 20-degree quilt would say worn. I can keep it on my gear list without counting towards my pack’s weight. Not all of my gear, like my power bank, is listed; I don’t want people to know I have it or its brand. My meds and a few other things the general public doesn’t need to know about are not listed. Not all bloggers share this list; for one, it’s kind of a pain to make, and the other is privacy. I hope this helps you out. Thank you for being here and following along! Oh, I’m excited to be sharing this journey with you! I’m also happy you are learning from my experience/mistakes. LOL!

      • jhony : Apr 13th

        Thanks !! Duh, How did I miss a toggle that huge? But the old guy says, THANK YOU. Got it now.

  • Steve : Apr 12th

    Another trail to consider is the Benton Mackaye trail from Springer mountain to the Smokies, passing by the terminus of the Pinhoti trail where you finished.

    • None Given : Apr 13th

      Steve, thank you for the suggestion. The BMT is high on my list. The plan would be (all SOBO) Sheltowee Trace, BMT, Bartram, and ending at the ocean with the Palmetto Trail. It’s a long walk, with lots of planning and challenging terrain. If I were going to do all that, I’d probably start in Indiana (Chicago) with the Hoosier Trail, also known as the Lakes-to-Ocean Trail. I just recently found out about this trail (literally two days ago). Tempting, very tempting! There are too many trails out there!


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