Appalachian Trail (AT) Happiness: Changing Plans
One of the only certainties on the trail is that things will change. My plans have changed so many times since I started this adventure a little over four months ago.
The biggest changes have come about because of injury. I started the trail with less than stellar knees, particularly my right knee. I strained it once early pushing too much and had to double zero but was doing ok.
Then I fell and twisted my knee on the humps just past Overmountain Shelter. This resulted in a week off trail in Damascus, VA but my knee although weaker was functional and so I moved up the trail north to Marion, VA.
After a break in DC I jumped up to do the Shenandoah National Park, skipping 300 miles in an attempt to preserve my knees so I could hike into the Northeast where I grew up. As I came through the Roller Coaster in VA my left knee gave out.
So I left the trail to rehab my knees taking two full weeks off. I then did a one week test hike from Bennington, VT down to Lee, MA. The week went well with some new heavy knee braces in place and an old friend as a hiking partner.
I then rested another week before doing some slack packing through MA. During that week one of my knee braces started to cut into my knee on long climbs. This would continue to occur on both knees once I got back on the trail full time. Add to that a big drop off in fitness from time off the trail, and high heat and humidity that added heat rashes and chaffing into the mix and enough bugs to inspire me to put on my bug netting for the first time, ever!
All of this culminated in a particularly miserable day going south over Mt. Everett. That day brought the realization that I would not be able to complete a thru-hike.
I’m not done with the AT this year. I’ve continued hiking south which has let me run into a lot of my former hiking partners. I’ll take a break for a bit then move leisurely south til I get to Harpers Ferry. All total this should leave me with 1200 miles completed, not bad.
I’ll also do a few miles in NH and ME, possibly Katahdin, so that I’ll have hiked some miles in every state on the trail.
More adventure will follow including a trip to photograph Polar Bears in Canada in October.
Hopefully a book about all of this as well. I’m happy and proud of what I’m accomplishing and having many happy days my friends. Thank you all for your interest and support, hope you are having happy days as well – Rev Kane