Charlottesville, VA – Last Friday morning Thor and Mogly helped me get to the clinic just a few hundred yards up the road from our motel. I had been hiking with Thor going on over a week and I had seen Mogley on and off for about the same time. Mogley is a 22 year-old from Baton Rouge, Louisiana who is not afraid to mix it up and poke at people. He and Thor really get after each other, but there’s a lot of laughter involved.
I couldn’t walk, and even lifting my right leg up to try and hop on my left one hurt. I would say that at times the pain was about a 9 out of 10. I took the shoulders of both of them as we slowly made our way down the road. A nice woman witnessed our struggle and drove us the rest of the way to the clinic.
The clinic had no real services to aid me so I took an uber to Behtlehem, PA to go to the emergency room. I got the news I wanted – no apparent fracture. The young PA ordered me a shot for pain and wrote out a perscription for anti-inflamatories. She also gave me a pair of crutches and told me to take a week off.
I heeded her advice. I needed to rest. So I decided to come to Charlottesville to spend the week with Kristen. I got a taxi to Delaware Water Gap, a bus to New York, and a train to Charlottesville. I hobbled around Penn Station in NY and was approached by a man who offered me some food. I politely declined. Then I deciphered that he had multiple packages, and that with my scruffy beard, my less than clean clothes, my stinky backpack, and my crutches, that it was quite possible that he mistook me for a homeless man.
I’ve spent a nice week with Kristen and had a chance to go down to Richmond to see my sister. My leg feels better but it’s not at 100% and my greatest fear is that it will once again simply become too painful and unmanageable after I return to the trail.
Rest is really the best thing for it. So instead of trying to fit in a few more hiking days before heading to Maine for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I am leaving tomorrow for Maine and won’t be back on the trail until August 8th.
I will have to ease back into it and lean on the lessons I’ve learned from the health care professionals I’ve seen in order to take care of my shin everyday. I’ve been hesitant to take the anti-inflammatories because the overprescribed use of these is what led to my Dad’s kidney failure. However my doctor, physical therapist, and my chiropractor here and all have given me some advice as to how to manage my shin pain. Stretching and massage will be a huge part of my routine going forward.
But my leg and the 911 miles to Mt. Katahdin are not the only obstacles remaining in my path. So too is the onset of winter-like weather in Maine in October. It will be imperative to keep moving. And one more set back could be the end of my attempt to thruhike the AT in 2016.
I thank every one of you who has supported me so far throughout this journey. I hope like mad that I can finish what I started. God bless!