You know the saying ‘It could always be worse’? It’s true. My AT thru-hike seems to be plagued with bad luck. I guess that’s part of the challenge of a thru-hike, stuff happens.
My hike started off with uncharacteristically bad weather for Georgia. The road conditions were so bad on Day 1 that I had to start my hike 8.8 miles from where I had originally planned. Instead of starting at Springer Mountain, I had to start at Amicalola Falls, which included a 604-step climb plus an 8 mile hike on the Approach Trail. I forgot my trekking poles and almost had to hike without them, but a stroke of luck had me with a pair of loaners obtained from a hiker box at the Amicalola Visitor Center. That night was freezing cold and I barely got any sleep because of it. Go ahead, say it…I told you it would be cold.
Day 2 was rainy, icy, and cold. The trail was more difficult to traverse than usual and I was having much difficulty due to the previous night’s lack of sleep. I hiked until I could hike no more, missing the target I intended to hit that day, sleeping somewhere in the middle of the woods instead of a shelter site. That was okay though, because I had privacy for my ‘Naked and Afraid’ moment (see my previous post ‘This ain’t a joke…or is it?’ for the meaning of this).
Day 4 and Day 5 it rained, which wasn’t a big deal just disappointing. I hiked Blood Mointain only to have the views obscured by fog. So sad.
Then I got a call from home Day 6 stating that another one of my ferrets was sick. One had gone ill before I left for the trail and now another was not eating and was lethargic.
Day 7, I got another call from home stating that my ferret was in pretty bad shape and the vet was seriously concerned about her state. She was emaciated and dehydrated. Apparently she hadn’t been eating since I left home.
Day 8 I was on my own. It turned out to be a beautiful day, finally warm and no rain. I was hiking along at a very good pace and made it farther than I had planned. Everything was thawing out and the snow and ice was gone, however that was all replaced by mud…lots of it. I was traversing the hill down to Low Gap Shelter and whoopsie! I fell down the mountain. One leg went one way while the other one stayed. I rolled down the mountain, got up and brushed myself off. My hip and knee hurt but I continued on reaching the shelter pretty early.
Day 9 started off badly. I was in pain. My hip and knee hurt from the fall and I decided I would try to get into town again to rest. That was the biggest mistake I made, not staying put.
I had to hike 10 miles to get off the trail and while it started out not too badly, it turned out to be the most grueling experience I’ve ever had to endure. The pain was so severe that I cried most of the time. In addition to the pain I endured, I was scared, very scared. I’m hurt and in the middle of nowhere by myself not sure if I was going to be able to make it to the road. Hikers are usually in abundance, but not this day. I only saw two hikers on the trail with me this day. I don’t know where everyone went, but they weren’t anywhere near me. I should have just dropped my pants to pee, because it always seems that someone shows up every single time I have to pee.
I hiked on and the pain migrated to other areas because of the way I was walking. My feet now began to hurt badly and my good leg was getting ridiculously tired. I finally reached about 9 miles and I knew that the terrain was going to start to drop. It sounds like it would be a reprieve to have downhill terrain, however for the injuries I had, it was the worst pain I’ve had to endure yet. Because my legs were so tired, and the terrain was so steep, my leg gave out just as I stepped off a rock and I rolled my ankle. The last half mile or so was absolute torture, tears were streaming down my face as I reached the road.
My ride arrived and I’m now in a hotel trying to recover. We’ll see what the next few days will bring.