Hiker hobble

Begin and End in Weakness

It's easy to develop a superiority complex as a thru hiker. Once I made it to Washington all the day hikers, weekend backpackers, and section hikers on the trail would congratulate me on hiking as far as I had, and they'd tell me and all the other thru hikers how awesome we were.  The more I basked in the light of praise the more prideful I became. Towards the end I began to see myself as an elite superhuman, but life always seems to find a way to humble me.

Forty miles from Canada, just past Glacier Pass, without warning I found myself face down on the trail.

The Post Office Victory

As I exited the post office I held up the duct-taped priority box high in the sky as if it were a trophy. I had just hiked 75 miles in two and a half days to pickup my resupply box before the post office closed for the three day Fourth of July weekend. My two thru hiker companions at the time, Marathon and Fat Dog, were both experienced ultra distance runners, and they weren't phased by my accomplishment; or maybe they were just fixated on filling their stomachs with food, free food.

Strength to Weakness

I wasn't even hiking. I was just standing next to the trail, packing up my few belongings after a short break when my backpack tipped over and fell into the inside of my left knee. I almost yelled out loud when I felt a pain shoot through my knee. It only lasted for a second or two, so after cinching down my pack I started hiking. Everything seemed fine, but at certain moments if my footing was just slightly misplaced the pain would shoot through my knee and I'd loose most of the strength in my left leg. I soon realized the pain originated from the same muscles that I strained in the first two days of my hike.

As the Trail Breaks Me In

The moon was nearly full, and the sun hid just below the horizon. The calm of the morning helped settle my nerves until a fellow thru hiker asked me about my cerebral palsy as I made last minute adjustments to my pack.  A half dozen hikers stood around taking numerous pictures of the monument at the southern terminus of the PCT.  Once the sun popped over the eastern skyline I knew I needed to get moving. At the monument the goal of reaching Canada seemed unimaginable,