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.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.