This Week’s Challenges: Shin Splints and Carbon Buildup
“No one you have been and no place you have gone ever leaves you. The new parts of you simply jump in the car and go along for the rest of the ride. The success of your journey and your destination all depend on who’s driving.” ~ Bruce Springsteen
Where’s Waldo? Errrr… I Mean, OneFoot?
Just a quick update here. As I write this, OneFoot is somewhere around mile 565. After crossing the 500-mile mark he slowed it down a bit. Following an admittedly less than smart move of wearing worn-out shoes combined with using his camp shoes (flip flops) in town, OneFoot developed some pretty painful shin splints. Knowing that the only cure is rest, he took a few zeros in Marion, Va. He’s back on trail, feeling good and keeping it to about ten to 11 miles a day until I join him in Bland, Va., later in the week. Then we’ll take a few zero days together as we celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary. His spirits remain high even with the injury. There is certainly a luxury to not having a deadline to meet and he’ll do what is needed to continue on his quest to reach Maine.
What Are the Virginia Blues?
To an AT thru-hiker, the exciting start to the journey is behind you as you enter Virginia. For the next 554 miles, you will remain in this state. That is about 25 percent of the entire trail. For some, there is a letdown period and the Virginia blues set in. Too early to tell if that will be the case for OneFoot but he is pretty excited to experience Virginia. There is much to look forward to in this state, including Grayson Highlands State Park, beautiful Shenandoah National Park, and one the most photographed spots on the AT, McAfee Knob. The largest gathering of AT hikers is held annually in Damascus, Va., in an event called Trail Days. OneFoot stopped for one night in Damascus while hiking through the area and we will return together for a visit in the coming week. He does not have plans to attend Trail Days this year, but maybe next year.
Saying Farewell to the Crew
A large part of the AT experience is the people you meet and hike with. OneFoot was fortunate to spend some time hiking with a great group that included So Hum, Reboot, Flufhead, and Gray Squirrel. They covered a lot of ground together, including Grayson Highlands, the 500-mile mark, and Fat Man’s Squeeze. After a nero followed by a zero in Marion, the group hiked on while OneFoot stayed behind to continue to rest the shin splints. The ebbs and flows of the AT journey may very well bring them together again.
Trail Magic from Home
I wondered if sending six dozen of Gram’s everything cookies was a bit much. Thankfully, OneFoot received them while in Marion with the abovementioned crew. I hear that every morsel of the peanut butter, chocolate chip, oat, and walnut treats was enjoyed. Deeeee-licious! I think they are considered a health food on the trail.
Meanwhile, at Home
These past few weeks have certainly brought some interesting challenges. From dealing with issues of identity theft to car troubles, I think I’ve handled things pretty well. I have learned and actually now understand a lot about Mini Cooper direct injection engines and the trouble caused by excessive carbon buildup on the back of the engine intake valves. That’s right. I’m droppin’ some car talk on y’all.
By far, the most notable event of the past week was our daughter graduating with her master’s in marriage and family therapy. It was hard not having Ray with us to celebrate this moment. This is one of the tough decisions we made as a family when we discovered graduation would occur while Ray was on the trail. We felt his love and he felt he was part of the day through the pictures and videos we sent. As always, both sets of grandparents were with us to shower our daughter with love and pride. #family #grandparentsrock
I’m off to track down my mountain man! I’m flying into Tri-Cities, Tenn., again and then heading north to Bland, Va. OneFoot and I will spend some time at Woods Hole Hostel before heading back down to the Damascus area. It’s been one month and over 350 miles since we last saw each other. Be assured, that won’t happen again. OneFoot makes his way closer to New England with each step and with summer approaching my schedule will allow for more impromptu visits. Molly the Roadtrek will be well stocked with hiker treats and ready to roll at a moment’s notice!
Until the Next White Blaze,
OneFoot and Should be Good
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Hello you two! I stumbled across one of your posts and loved your writing style. After reading your bio and learning you grew up in VT (where I am from and still live) I started from the beginning and have now read every post of yours! I love your stories and can’t wait to read more. You two are so inspiring and I wish you nothing but the best of luck on and off the trial. 🙂 ~Jenah
Glad you are meeting One Foot and no better place to enjoy than Woods Hole. Nevell is great! Say “Hello” to her from ‘Mamaw B”. Ask if she has left any restaurants without paying since 21012 and broken into any cars. Ha! Ha! Don’t think about Virginina Blues. One step is going forward so doesnt’ matter which state you’re in and Virginia is beautiful. Have a great time and maybe we will see each other in Damascus next year. I had planned to go this year but instead am backpacing with some friends. My sidewalk brick should be near the Blue Blzae Bike Shop. Make some memories and hope Onefoot’s shin splints get well quickly.