I have so many feelings right now and I can hardly write this without crying. And rightly so. It has been made clear to me that I will have to finish this hike next spring. The phrasing here is important to me and my bruised ego. I am not leaving the trail. I am not quitting. I need to take a break so my knee can heal, and so I will be back here in April to finish the AT.
A brief history: in January I sprained/mildly hyperextended my right knee. With the help of yoga and my amazing coach Henry I strengthened my knee and after several months it was better and I was ready to hike. The day after I met Skyman, hiking down Saddleback Mt. to Rangeley in Maine, I slipped and fell, injuring it again. I told myself that it would be fine. Even when it swelled and in the Whites it was very painful. I took Vitimin I every day and told myself whatever I needed to hear to keep hiking. I got a compression sleeve in Gorham before the Whites and I thought I’d be fine. Nope.
As I was hiking into Duncannon yesterday I was feeling good; I had done big miles to get to this point and the infamous rocks of PA were about to end. Then I hit a rocky section and slipped. While the rest of my body fell forward my right knee went out to the side and I knew I had fucked it up good. The muscles in my calve cramped up and my knee started swelling. I gimped the last 4 miles into town and by the time I was 5 blocks from the PO I was crying and could barely walk. I knew I was done.
I got a room and the Doyle Hotel, a landmark of sorts for AT hikers. After a huge burger with Milkshake, Bog Angel and Hot Mess, I did some laundry and tried not to cry. I went to the mini mart for a bag of ice and some ice cream and tried not to cry. As I opened the resupply box from my friend Cindy I cried and knew that I wouldn’t be eating any of the food on the trail. I gave it to other hikers, who were very grateful.
So for now, I won’t be hiking on the AT. But I’ll be back to finish it in seven months. I’m devestated but I know that, eventually, my hike will work out. And my knee will get better.