Just about every day that has passed since I left the Appalachian Trail in 2019, it has gnawed at me that I started, but didn’t finish. It felt like a crushing defeat and a failure.
Time and feedback from friends and fellow hikers have helped me to rethink what I did accomplish. I did the planning. I stepped foot on the trail and I hiked. I didn’t get as far as I had hoped, but I didn’t fail at trying. I’m not a quitter and have something to prove. Maybe it’s this year, maybe it’s next year. I will not stop trying.
I know what I did right, and what I did wrong. A lot to think about the past 12 months. I think the biggest change was being ill-prepared physically, and in the end mentally as well. A hiker saying goes something like this: don’t quit on a bad day. Well, I did. And I’ve regretted it every day.
I thought coming from northern Ontario, middle of winter and four feet of snow, that I could simply step on the trail and get my trail legs. Wrong! No trails where I live have elevation climbs greater than maybe 30 feet. I know I didn’t stretch enough which made my hip and knee joints very sore. And finally, I never drank near enough water.
So what changes have I made? First off, I joined a gym in a town 20km away. I’ve been using the treadmill couple days a week with a 25 lb. pack. At a minimum, I’m simulating carrying the pack and adding incline while I walk. Even after a couple hours I don’t even notice the weight of the pack. I also have a new before and after hike stretch routine.
Last year I had heard of a chiropodist in Kapuskasing. Visiting her was the best thing as I learned I had plantar fasciitis. I didn’t know it when I was hiking, but it sure explained why my feet were sore. She fitted me for orthotics and the result is my feet have never been better.
Yesterday I purchased travel insurance for six months. Pretty pricey, but going to the US without health coverage would be awful if something happened. The policy is $10 million coverage; likely enough coverage for a few nights stay 😆.
John and I will leave our homestead first week of April – just like last year. We’ll likely stop in Guelph, Cincinnati and then Georgia. John is planning to go to NC for a few days then back to Canada.
My plan while on trail is to write a short blog, but delay publishing for a few days for safety reasons.
Until then, we’re stuck in winter. Lots of snow, but it is warming up. Past couple days the temperature has been above zero. I spent a few hours on the roof yesterday shovelling near waist high snow. I think our log structure is sound, but want to be sure because when the snow starts melting and turns to ice, it’ll add extra weight to the roof.
Thats it for now