Friday, August 29, 2014

Day 138: Back on the PCT!

Day 138: 8/24/14
1050 to 1052
Miles hiked: 2 (Possibly the best 2 miles ever!)
(Note: “Day” refers to days since starting the PCT back in April.  I got off the trail on day 64 at Tuolumne Meadows, PCT mile 940.  I took 74 “zero” days to heal from the stress fracture.  Those days off the trail were still part of my journey.)

Starting out for my first backpacking trip on the PCT in 10 weeks since the stress fracture, I was filled with uncertainty.  I half expected my foot to completely fail again.  I feared reinjury, more setbacks.  Could I trust my foot again?  I didn’t know.

The past weeks since getting out of the CAM boot, I had been carefully building up strength on incrementally longer dayhikes with my pack (up to 7 miles) and giving my foot extra time to heal by cross training every other day.  Now I was setting out for a 28 mile backpacking trip that I planned to do over the course of three nights- more than I’d done since the injury but I hoped it wasn’t too much of a stretch.  I tried not to think about how before my injury, I could do 28 miles in a single day.  Jim (PITA) had recommended this section as an easy place to start back, and Renee (Pathfinder) had taken extensive notes for me when she passed through about the terrain.  Still, I made backup plans with Steph in case something happened to my foot and I didn’t think I could make it. 
Steph drops me off at Ebbetts Pass.
Stepping onto the PCT in the late-afternoon from Ebbetts Pass filled with nervousness, I realized there was nothing I could do but hike.  I pushed aside the endless stream of thoughts, all the second-guessings.  I took a deep breath.  And I simply hiked. 
What rocks!  What trees!  What sky!
Hiking those first two miles to the first night’s camp was like no other hike I’d done.  I was fully engaged, in the moment.  All thoughts were irrelevant.  I was hiking.  HIKING!  All my senses were awake.   Listening to the birds calling.  Tasting the wind.  Pausing to pick gooseberries, to examine every flower, to touch the bright green moss.  Feeling sun on skin and earth on feet.  Every scent on the air tickled my nose.  I was so quiet I crept up on a coyote down the slope.  What wildness, what beauty!

I was hiking like it was the last hike I would ever do.  Like I wanted to stretch those miles out and make them last forever.  As if I had to savor every single moment wholeheartedly.  To appreciate the sweetness of being able to hike.   It could be all that I’d ever get.   
Feet doing a happy dance.
I sat and watched the sunset over Upper Kinney Lake.  Quiet.  Content.  For an entire two hours.  If those are the only two miles I get, that's OK.  It was worth those weeks of healing.  Worth it for everything that happened- for what I learned, for the redwoods, for time with Steph, for the visit with my parents, for who I have become.

Then, I curled up sung in my hammock.  Overwhelmed with happiness to be back home on the PCT.
Yay I made it!  I love this life of mine!

13 comments:

  1. Yay!! CONGRATS! What great news!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Delighted to see you back on the PCT!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Love your blog too btw. :)

      Delete
  3. Woohoo! :) The adventure continues!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! Sure had a few moments of "hiker logic" while I was out there. Like deciding that if I took off my pack, I could go off exploring and it wouldn't count as miles that might impact my foot. Haha!

      Delete
    2. Perfect logic :-) Of course it doesn't count, since there's 25 less pounds you're carrying around!!

      Delete
  5. Yes! And if there is any silver lining, it is that you have so much more of the trail left to discover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's for sure! I have the gift of a long, circuitous journey-- and that is something I'm gonna enjoy.

      Delete
  6. So so happy to read this post. Love that I got to be a tiny bit of your journey and look forward to seeing how your path winds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad I got to meet you too and thanks so much for all the stress fracture healing help!!!!

      Delete