Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Injury Report...

Anyone who has hiked any significant portion of the Appalachian Trail will tell you it's not a trail for the faint of heart. This trail will provide hikers much in the way of experiences, friendships and lifelong memories but there's a balance to be struck ... a price to be paid. Of course there's the literal price, this isn't an inexpensive undertaking, but moreover there's the physical toll. Broken bones, scrapes, lacerations, bruises, muscle sprains, joint issues, ligament tears, malnutrition, heat exhaustion, bug bites, poison ivy and hypothermia ... you'll find it all out here.

I've done my best to be safe and to avoid hurting myself but things happen. I've slipped, fallen, bounced and been slammed (more on that one later) but I've always fought through it and soldiered on. I will continue to do so ... but, unfortunately, there will have to be some changes to the original plan. I'd hoped that I wouldn't be in this position - but I am - so I'm going to try to make the best of it. When I started this trail I intended to finish every mile but promised myself that I would "hike my own hike" so that's what I will continue to do.

Those of you who've been following my blog for a while may recall I visited an urgent care (for my left knee) back in Roanoke, VA. That knee has been, and remains, a problem. Maine exploited it and New Hampshire has, figuratively, crushed it. I've been hiking in pain for weeks and I can't do it any longer ... at least not in the Presidential Range of New Hampshire's White Mountains. Those mountains are steep and dangerous, requiring two healthy legs to traverse safely. I've made the extremely difficult decision to drop down, out of the White's, in an attempt to finish my hike in the less difficult terrain, found south of here. As I write this I'm on a Concord Trailways bus, heading to Boston. From there I will take a Peter Pan Bus (seriously) to Western Mass where I'll regain the trail. Just a quick note, fun fact actually, on the Peter Pan Bus Line. They proudly note on their website that they were selected as the official transport vehicles for the recent Chelsea Clinton wedding. Really? Giant GREEN Peter Pan busses for that high roller event? Too funny!

Anyway, the picture, above, is of a bruise I sustained the day I summited Mt. Washington. It was early in the day and I was on the side of Mt. Adams when I stepped on a rock that moved. When I attempted to brace myself, with my left leg, my knee gave out and I took a digger straight onto the rock pile at my feet.

There have been many other falls, slips, trips and slides but, until now, I was confident that I could hike through it without putting myself in danger or incurring any permanent damage. Unfortunately, I've lost that confidence and while my heart tells me to go on, to just power through, my head tells me to take care of myself and return to the White's when my knee is 100%. So that's what I'm going to do.

My hike is far from over. I plan to continue on to Duncannon, PA - where Big Ooh, Koopa and I flip-flopped from - but this thru hike has become a section hike, as I will have to return in the future to finish the section I'm leaving behind. I'm more than disappointed ... I feel like I've failed and I've yet to reconcile those feelings but, at the same time, I know I've made the right decision for my health and safety.

I hope those of you who have been following my blog won't be too disappointed with this decision. I appreciate all of your encouragement and support and am saddened that you won't be able to finish this journey with me this year. I guess I'll have to either keep the blog going (highlighting local & weekend hikes) or blow the dust off of it when I'm able to take vacation (from a career yet to be determined) to go back and finish. I'll let ya know... but the Journey will continue.

Anyway, as for the "I've been slammed," comment that I made above. That was an injury I sustained a couple of months ago to my right, middle finger. I was well off the trail, safely in the driveway of a bed and breakfast. The B&B's owner, friendly to hikers, picked up Big Ooh, Koopa and I from the trailhead. We had pulled into the driveway and I was attempting to unfold myself from the backseat of her subcompact Honda (or was it a Toyota?) when it happened. Surrounded by resupply boxes and Wal-Mart bags (she'd been so kind to also take us to the post office and store) I reached up and put my right hand onto the doorframe. Big Ooh, already out of the car and Koopa, scrunched in next to me heard me make a small "UGH" sound. Thinking I'd tweaked my knee Big Ooh ignored it at first but took a second look when I completely froze and failed to exit the vehicle. I was about to speak when Big Ooh proclaimed, "OH MY GAWD!" Which was all the B&B owner apparently needed to look back and realize that she'd just slammed my hand in the door. I'm not sure if it was broken or not but it hurt like the dickens for quite a while.

Rollin On (literally on the bus),

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone


  1. OMG...you are NOT a failure!! In life this stuff happens. We have the best intentions...but sometimes things just happen. But it's the INTENTION that is most important. Look at what you have accomplished so far...the people you met, the experiences, the bruises and bumps you have endured on the way. You are a warrior! Yes, you wanted to to complete the hike "your way" but the universe has other plans. You have to consider your safety and health. But take a moment to look back at what you have done. Grasp the magnitude of this...the lessons you have learned and in turn taught us.

    Honey, you are the farthest thing from a failure! Think about all the people that dream to hike this trail but never take one step on the dirt....

  2. You certainly are NOT a failure. My gosh what you have already accomplished is amazing. It has been a treat following you along, and I'm afraid I'd have been finished long before now. You have plowed on while in pain, and made great progress. You are still a winner in my book, and when you are able to go back and finish that climb at another healthier time, then I hope to hear about it so I can join in following you once again.

    Bless your heart, mind and body.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  3. Yahtzeeee....
    I am so PROUD of YOU...proud of EVERYTHING that you have accomplished!! ALL of these days (and cold nights) on the trail...not for the faint of heart...and I am so glad that you have followed your dream, your heart, your calling...and you have mindfully taken it all in...everything...the good, the bad, the ugly and the absolute breathtaking...and you have brought it all to us too...and I don't think you will ever know the joy that you brought to all of us...following YOU! So please take a breath and gather yourself up...and know that your destiny is to do this trail YOUR WAY...not some 'published' or pre-determined way...but the exact way you are living it! Own it! Only YOU have taken your steps and only YOU will continue on = on YOUR path! With much love & Admiration from afar...xoxo AOE sista!

  4. hi lori,
    u summitted mt wash?
    i did too ,that day(15th sep),in a blizzard,took it slow,got up there around 2:30 in the aftrnoon.quite an experience! feeling great abt it.
    looked but did not find u on FB.
    Just started on ur blog,fascinating so fa.
    pradeep (vanyapradeep@gmail.com)


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