It was staying healthy that became my ultimate demise.
Starting in February of 2015, when I first set my sights on this trail, I set a goal to complete the thru hike between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. The first trip (starting the Friday before Memorial Day) was an eight day adventure that brought me over 100 miles down the trail. I was back at it in June on two separate trips, then another in July. August had yet another scheduled with the plan to cross Journey's End (the northern terminus) about Noon on Labor Day. I figured that was as good a place as any to celebrate the holiday.
All went well until July.
That trip was planned to be over fifty miles, starting at Lincoln Gap and ending at Smugglers Notch. About Noon on day three, as I summited over the top of Mt. Ethan Allen, I slipped on the smooth face rock that is Mt. Ethan Allen, falling and twisting my knee. As I continued on to Montclair Glen Lodge I found myself favoring it more and more. Eventually I made it from the summit to the lodge but was limping noticeably. The distance was just one mile.
Dutch (my hiking partner for this trip) and I talked it over as we watched my knee continue to swell.
We decided to come off trail.
After a visit to the Doctor, where I learned I hadn't torn any knee ligaments, I began to plan how to still accomplish my goal of completing my thru hike. A few quick adjustments of my schedule and I was back at it on a humid mid-August afternoon ascending up Camels Hump.
After the short hike to Bamforth Ridge Shelter, where I just beat a torrential rain, I was back...Walking North on the Long Trail (this is what I had named the video documentary of my trip).
No time to bask in the glory as things changed again that next morning. Just like my last trip, I slipped on another smooth faced rock. I fell again and twisted the same knee.
Driving back home I felt frustrated, depressed and defeated. I wasn't going to accomplish my goal. To be honest...I was pissed.
This last re sprain (so I learned after another trip to the Doctor) took me off trail until late-December.
Today is April 23rd, Saturday morning.
I woke up early, grabbed a cup of coffee and came down to my office. I pulled out my official Long Trail Guide book and map and I started to make a plan. A plan to continue walking north.
My goal of hiking the Long Trail is still alive, it just took a little detour. A detour, like so many other ones in my life.
In the weeks that follow, as I finalize my plan, I will share my gear, itinerary and meals.
Canada or bust...
What backpacking trips didn't go as planned for you?
Have you ever had to come off trail due to an injury?
Please let me know in a comment below.
I hope to see you on the trail,