The Return of Styx – Recovery and Reintegration
One must first meet bottom in order to bounce back.
It has been nearly two months since my last update and a lot has happened. At the time of my last post, I was held up in Robbinsville, N.C., in hopes of resting my stress fracture just enough to get back onto the trail and finally begin the much-anticipated Smokies. Unfortunately, stress fractures don’t heal overnight. I was well aware of this, but I didn’t want to admit it. I ended up giving my foot an incredibly insufficient amount of time to heal (eight days) and I set off into Great Smoky Mountains National Park anyway.
Stop choice: I do not recommend attempting to hike on anything broken.
The views leaving Fontana Dam and entering the Smokies were spectacular.
Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, only a few days into the Smokies I was forced off the trail by pain that had slowed my hike to a crawl. I was not doing myself any favors by attempting to keep going and my injury was clouding my enjoyment of the trail.
I invited my dad to meet me in nearby Gatlinburg, Tenn., and without question he drove 13 hours to come save me the very next day.
Thanks again, pops!
Thus began my five-week recovery period; one I should have started immediately. Another lesson learned. I would not be returning to the trail until I was truly healed.
Fast Forward to May 9
With my foot now back to 100 percent, I returned to the same point that I left the Appalachian Trail; Clingmans Dome. Which also happens to be the highest point on the trail.
As I had left the mountain five weeks earlier in pain and cold rain, I now returned healed and ready to go just as the fog was clearing and the sun shone through. It was a rather symbolic return.
Since I returned to the trail just one week ago, I’ve experienced amazing weather and have met a whole new group of awesome people. Hiking in March and hiking in May are incredibly different experiences.
I’m glad to say that I was able to hike through the rougher weather we had at the beginning of the season, but I’m very happy to be here now and be able to truly enjoy things that I couldn’t otherwise in the cold.
Being able to actually stop for lunch halfway through the day (without freezing) has been great.
Everything is so green.
Being able to play in the water has been one of my favorite things.
I made it to Hot Springs, N.C., mile 273.4, on my birthday a couple of days ago and have enjoyed celebrating and resting up.
My foot seems to be holding up just fine and I feel like I’m getting back into hiking shape rather quickly. I’m excited to see what is next for me on the trail.
Styx is back!
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