Something is wrong…
When I got on at Fish Lake (in S. OR), I felt great!
Heading SOBO, towards NorCal. Yes, it was a repeat of some miles from last year, but good. I’d rather do more, than less, so the repeat was A-ok with me!
I felt fast. I was fast. I wasn’t trying to be; I was simply walking a pace that felt right.
Yet, that pace happened to be faster than the two that started with me.
Ok, slow down, Janine. Ease in.
19 miles on day 1 was necessary for water, so that’s that’s we did. But, again, I felt great! Even with the broken foot in April, I consistently trained the bike in the gym. Gosh, I felt good, and it felt great being back out in trail!
We took the next three days more modestly. Towards Callahan’s/Ashland. I physically felt great.
A nero at Callahans; the chance to shake out my gear and make adjustments at REI; a healthy meal in Ashland. Camped in front of the resort, got a shower and did my laundry. So far, so good.
The climb out of Callahans, SOBO, is ridiculous, especially with weight of a resupply. It was slow-going, but on we went; this time two of the three of us left (it didn’t take long). Onward to Seiad Valley.
Fortunately, the McKinley fire hadn’t started, but damn, it was hot! A record-setting heatwave (lucky me). The heat, coupled with the rocky terrain… let’s just say, I know the signs of heat exhaustion from my yoga training, and I WAS suffering the signs of classic heat exhaustion. I couldn’t drink enough, but I had to ration my electrolyte consumption.
I tried to eat, but disorientation set in.
Yes, I could rest; I could control my pace. I did all of that, but when I was walking, I could tell I was getting sloppy. I rolled my ankle more than once, and like most thru-hikers, I bounced right back and kept on walking. All good in the hood.
During that stretch, there was a section of trail that was sloped and overgrown, so you couldn’t see the path itself (surprise, surprise). Well there I was, walking along, alone at this point, and I step on a rock (I don’t see), just large enough to cause my foot to slant at a 45° angle and me to collapse.
The pain causes me to literally scream out loud. No hiking partner in sight; no NOBOs coming opposite me.
S%^t. I stay a few minutes and get my composure. It wasn’t the first time I had fallen on trail in my 2k+ miles last year, but this fall was concerning since I had recently broken the exact same foot.
I’m able to move on, but from that point, my foot felt off. I do my yoga and PT drills that night in camp; the following day, during trail magic, I elevate and ice it.
I make it to Seiad Valley. Another nero there. The plan for a double zero in Etna is so motivating, I was ready to leave.
My foot was off, though. I knew it. I began to diagnose myself with muscular issues, lack-of-strength issues, even though the PT had given me a clean bill of health just one week prior.
I thought I knew better, so I pushed on.
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