For my friends and family that do not know... I am off the trail.
I rolled into Salisbury, Connecticut on the night of June 25th with extreme right foot pain. Admittedly, it was a pain I had been ignoring for a week, but I kept telling myself to suck it up! You are a thru hiker damn it! Pain is the nature of the game. No pain, no Maine - am I right?
The next day I told my hiking friend, Mouse, I thought I would go to the hospital just to check it out. I figured they would tell me I was crazy and I could gladly hop back on the trail the next day. Instead, after an MRI they told me I had multiple stress fractures and to go home. I was devastated and immediately started crying, which immediately made the doctor uncomfortable. I could tell he had no idea what the hike had meant to me and so many other thru hikers like me. I had just made it to mile 1499 and only had 690.2 miles to go! I think he just thought I was some dirty hippie instead of an athlete trying to hike over 2,000 miles.
A few of my trail shoes and my newest shoe!
I got a ride back to the hostel from the sweet lady that owned it and made my going home plan. I hated seeing Mouse head back to the trail alone, and hated the fact that I was headed back to KY via train then plane.
Don't get me wrong, I love being home with my husband and my two pups, but there are things I love and miss about the trail. Here are just a few of those things:
Every person I met on the trail was amazing. You feel an instant connection with everyone you meet. It's crazy how people you barely know become your family in a matter of minutes. I never thought I would bond with a bunch of guys while singing Taylor Swift. But hey, it happens. You also meet hundreds of people off trail that are willing to help you, give you a ride, or cook you a meal. The trail renews your faith in mankind.
I know this sounds cliche, but I felt confident for the first time in years. I was making all my own decisions, carried all my own gear, felt I could conquer any challenge, and never for a second worried about how I looked when hiking! This confidence wasn't there on day one, but it is something I feel all thru hikers gain each day they are on the trail.
After walking 20 miles, you sleep because you are tired. Now that I am home confined by a boot, I am never tired. I find myself back to my bad ways and staying up all night! I miss getting up with the sun and falling asleep at dark.
Even though I am off trail and most likely done for this year, I one hundred percent will finish the last 690 miles of the trail next year. It was my original goal to thru hike in one year. Instead, I get to hike it over two seasons, doubling the amount of wonderful people and memories I will take from the AT. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way!