The Trail Provides, Always

They say it takes a village. A village to support a thru-hiker, that is.

No matter how “solo” we’d like to think we are as thru-hikers, there always comes a time when “going solo” isn’t an option. And I certainly know that feeling.

All it took was one misstep as I cruised through the terrain of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In a split second, I was laying on a rocky trail with a throbbing pain in my left ankle.

All I could do was hope for someone to help. All I could do was hope my time on the Appalachian Trail wouldn’t come to a bitter end right there.

But, just as it always does, the trail provided.

Within a short time, I was greeted by my tramily member aptly named “Doc” who calmly helped me evaluate things. And in a moment of extra serendipity, another Wilderness EMT on her thru-hike happened to be coming by.

Medical folks on the trail concluded I had a sprained ankle, and I will be taking the time needed to heal and head right back onto the trail. You haven’t seen the last of me!

Between my backcountry docs and the (literal) weight lifted off of my shoulders by each member of my tramily, I was able to make it through. For that, I am immensely grateful.

What the trail couldn’t provide was the strength and grit it took for me to climb 18 miles to the nearest road over the highest peak of the Appalachian Trail before obtaining any treatment or rest for my injury. For that, I am proud.

Maybe the trail was never meant to be about finding your way completely alone. Maybe it’s just trusting that you’ll find what and who you need along the way.

It takes a village, and I’ve got a pretty special one.

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Comments 1

  • pearwood : Apr 15th

    Steph,
    Ouch. You will be back on the trail soon enough, and in your own good time. Thank God for the angels along the way.
    Blessings,
    Steve / pearwood

    Reply

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