Will Love Be Enough? I’m No Longer Sure…

It is mind boggling to realize that we’ve hiked 500+ miles of the Appalachian Trail. It is soul crushing to have to leave the AT and go home. That is where I find myself today.

My knee pain started as we left Erwin to summit Beauty Spot. As beautiful as this bald mountain is, it became harder and harder to ignore the pain in my knees.

Of course the pain didn’t abate as we climbed the other Tennessee balds in the Roan Highlands, including the absolutely stunning vista on Hump Mountain.

It continued as we climbed up to Thomas Knob Shelter and celebrated we had completed 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail as we searched for ponies and dodged cow pies.

Finally, as we navigated the boulders and cliffs of Grayson Highlands, I had to admit it was time to go home. My steady diet of naproxen (aka Aleve) no longer alleviated the pain for more than a few hours and it was seriously interfering with my sleep.

Luckily we caught a shuttle driver with some time to spare at Rte. 603 (Thank you, Bunny!) and rode into Marion, where we rented a car and drove home to Dayton, Ohio.  I plan to see a doctor tomorrow as Buttermeister (aka Chris) returns to the AT.

All is not lost! Hopefully my injury is mild enough that rest and physical therapy will allow me to return to the trail within a week to 10 days. In the meantime, I’m looking to trade out my winter gear and lighten my load as well as catch up on bills and other essential elements of modern life.

Still, a little voice in the back of my head reminds me that my 66th birthday is coming up and this old body doesn’t heal as fast as it did when I was in my twenties.

Will love be enough to get me back on the trail to rejoin my sweetie and summit Katahdin?

Stay tuned.



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Comments 10

  • The Brain : May 15th

    Rooting for your recovery Snowy Owl! Pinky and I have missed seeing you, Buttermeister and Bodhi. Hope we get to see you when you return!

  • Duncan Flamino : May 16th

    Never give up, see your doctor, read to see what other people have with knee pain when hiking. You have a great challenge to complete and sometimes challenges aren’t easy. Very best of luck and I hope you find a solution.

  • Ann & Kristi : May 16th

    We’re hoping you get some good rest and helpful rehab. It’s amazing what you have done!! Glad Chris is keeping at it and hope you’ll be able to rejoin him soon!

  • Rammy : May 16th

    You might need to wear hiking boots in stead of trail runners and move at a slower pace.i wear lowa tibets it took 100-150 miles to break them in. Scarpa kailash plus or trek might be a better choice an insole I wear is the spenco heavy duty or polysorb they are cushioned and soft they take up some room .so you might have to get a half size bigger them your size boot

    • Leslie “Snowy Owl” Woodward : May 16th

      I don’t wear trail runners and I have custom orthotics.

  • Rammy : May 16th

    You should see a doctor.let your knees heel for a while.the scarpa kailash trek or kailash plus with spenco heavyduty might help you take out the insole the boot comes with then put the spenco insole in it takes a while for the boot and insole to break in.GOODLUCK!

  • Gerald Walker : May 17th

    Will be praying for healing and a return to the trail. I backpack short 3 and 4 day trips and have hiked around the ” Humps” . Beautiful area. Best of luck to you.

  • Anne Woodwar : May 17th

    How disappointing for you! I hope you have some good healing at home and can get back on the trail. Take care.

  • Detox : May 17th

    I feel your pain. I’m 59 and my right knee gave out on the Mousilakee descent last year. Drove it into the ground the next 350 miles but made it to Katahdin. 10 months later it’s about 80% healed and is as good as its ever gonna get per my orthopedist. Totally worth it! 😊
    Good luck

  • Kelli : May 17th

    Take your time.
    It will be there when you are ready.


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