Hi everyone -
Sorry it has been so long since my last blog post, but I have been facing a few issues. I am off the trail again, this time due to an injury to my left foot. I have developed Plantar Fasciitis. It's been coming on for a while but I thought it was just a bruise on my heel. On Thursday, June 14th, I was hiking well, picking wild blueberries and hurrying to Glasgow to pick up my next mail drop box of food and supplies. Things were going just fine when I tripped over a rock with my right foot. I reached out my left foot to catch myself and stepped on a sharp rock, exactly where the pain from the 'bruise' was. It all brought tears to my eyes and I jumped and hobbled and limped to catch my balance. This was at 11:00 AM. I still had 6 miles to go to get down the mountain and to the road to Glasgow, Va. Those six miles were full of pain and disappointment as I contemplated the end of my AT hiking adventure. I imagined everything including a broken heel bone. I managed to limp down the mountain, get to the road, and hitchhike to town. There was a hometown doctor there and I made plans to visit the next day if the pain and swelling were no better. I settled into the town shelter for hikers ( a free service including a hot shower and porta-potty). The local Baptist Church had scheduled a 'hiker feed' for that evening, so I ate pretty well - hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, slaw, corn on the cob, cake and pie and sodas. One of the ladies from the church played Mother Hen and insisted that I sit and soak my foot in icy water while she hovered over me. The next morning started well as I limped to the nearby restaurant for breakfast. My foot felt better until I went to visit the restroom. The floor had a raised lip at the door that I didn't see. Of course I caught it with the toes of my left foot, stretching the arch, and the pain shot up my leg all the way to my eyes again. It was then that I decided this was more serious than expected and I made plans to visit the local MD to confirm what I was now thinking - I had Plantar Fasciitis. I spoke with the doctor briefly to confirm my suspicions. Being a doctor in a hiking town, he had seen this many many times and didn't even charge me for the visit. He advised me to give my foot plenty of rest and if I was headed home suggested that I visit my personal physician. So here I am, back in the Triad, resting my sore foot and hoping that I caught it in time for a quick healing process. I have a series of exercises to do as well as regular ice packs and NSAIDs. I check with my orthotics store and got a heel insert to keep me from overcompensating and causing additional problems. If I can get this problem healed quickly, I can return to the trail and continue my journey north. If it takes longer then I can possibly travel to Maine and hike southbound to where I dropped off. If the healing takes too long then my attempt at a single-season thru-hike will be over.
There you have it - it's now a waiting and hoping game until I either return or time runs out for any option.
On a positive note, I now have time to work on all the fantastic videos I have collected from my 2.5 months of hiking more than 700 miles of the trail.
Oh - I visited the Rush Gym today to compare my before and after weight loss on a scale that I could depend on. As I left for the trail I weighed 254 pounds. Today on the same scales I weighed 219 - a loss of 35 pounds in 75 days! That's the weight of my backpack! So I did accomplish the goal of getting in better shape and losing some unneeded pounds.
Look for a lot of video updates in the next few days. One in particular includes a Copperhead Snake making a closeup strike at the camera lens. It's pretty exciting to watch.
I promise to keep you informed of my healing progress and my plans to return to the trail.