Trail Habits Die Hard: A 2015 Thru-Hike, Interrupted
The following is a guest post courtesy of Scout, a 2015 Flip-Flop thru-hiker submitted via our “Submit a Story” form.
When I was forced off the trail a few weeks ago and found myself sitting on my couch, TV remote in hand, it was surreal.
After 450 miles, I was 10 miles into a planned 15-mile hike when I simply took a step and felt excruciating pain shoot through my right foot. Two days later I was home with 2 stress fractures and my foot encased in a boot for 4 weeks. My head was spinning.
After waking in the morning, sliding my legs over the edge of the bed, I felt something was forgotten until I realize I don’t have to un-pop my sleeping pad to let the air out. I shower and use deodorant on a daily basis and feel a bit guilty at the luxury. Fresh brewed coffee in hand, I watch TV and try to pay attention as Matt Laurer reads the news. It’s hard not to let my gaze wander to my Hyperlite backpack sitting in the corner. I keep it in the living room so I can keep my eye on it. After all, first rule of backpackers- never let your pack out of your sight. Ten days later, concern over my gear forces me to unpack my sleeping bag and pad.
As days pass other things sneak up on me in this world where I don’t have to get up and pack all my possessions each morning. I was reluctant to put away my Q-tip box ‘billfold’ that carried my ID, a few dollars, and a credit card. Did I have to carry an actual pocketbook with lipstick, eyeglasses, and stuff I probably don’t use every day? Did I really even have to wear make-up? After all, on the trail it was perfectly acceptable to go bare and splotchy with uneven skin tone. And food choices aren ’t limited either which is a bit overwhelming. I can have pancakes and syrup or pastries. But in the back of my mind I know eggs give me more protein. Do I need more protein now that I’m sitting on my rear for much of the day?
After my second week at home, I’m carrying my old billfold in a pretty multi-colored pocketbook and trying not to notice when clerks give me change in coins I have to carry. I slowly quit worrying over whether my clothing choice each day wicks or not. My husband appreciates the fact that I recently put on my ‘old’ regimen of makeup.
Something has stayed the same though. I haunt my favorite websites with the AT forums I like and keep up with the trail news. Let’s face it. The trail pulls at you constantly. It’s like a sugar addiction. You can eat healthy all you want, but when you think about that warm Krispy Kreme Donut melting with glaze you want it! I still want that dang AT, and when my foot is healed I’ll be back on it!
Bio: Hey there! I’m Reggie, or Scout, on the trail from SE Tennessee. I’m a total nut for all things trail which makes me poor company for most ‘regular’ folks. Aside from that winding path, books, grandkids, and working on a little farmhouse on close to 17 acres near the Cherokee National Forest with my husband keeps me busy.
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Beautiful Scout! We miss you 🙂
What a beautifully written post, Scout. I hope you get back to the Trail soon and we get to see you again in Harpers Ferry!