Saving My Thru-Hike Before It Starts
Walking up Sassafras Mountain in the early stages of the AT is a beautiful, albeit difficult, experience. Even more so when the nagging hitch in your leg turns into full-blown tendinitis. That was two months ago. Now I’m five days away from starting my thru-hike and I am still dealing with the repercussions. My right leg is noticeably weaker than my left leg from avoiding activity that requires my right leg. All the running, climbing, and cycling I do has been counteracted by about two months of inactivity. Sometimes when life gives you lemons you just have to eat the lemon whole.
I Like Lemons
I used to eat them like an orange as a kid. My muscles and cardio aren’t as solid as I would like them to be, but so what. I have a whole trail to get conditioned, and sure these first couple days and maybe weeks will be difficult. The nice thing is that my tendons don’t hurt anymore. So no, I will probably not finish the Appalachian Trail in 100 days as planned, and that’s OK. The only person I have to fail is nobody. I put these expectations to hike hard, move fast, and maybe skip a view or two on myself. I’m not sure if that’s how I want to hike the Appalachian Trail right now.
I am starting with a knee brace that I’ve named Donny. Donny makes my life a little easier. My daily starting mileage could also be under ten miles a day, so I have time to acclimate. My inner consciousness screams at the thought of moving slow because I love covering hard miles in a day. In a couple of weeks I might look back at this post, and thank myself for being careful. As someone who has only done backpacking trips with a fast and light mentality, it will be interesting for me to take this different approach of slowing down. To whatever comes next, I look forward to it.
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