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.

Spelling PCT

A few days back I hiked the afternoon with Ball Buster and Slacker. They typically hike faster than my pace, but on that afternoon Ball Buster had painful muscle cramps that slowed them down. Ball Buster said he had never hiked in so much pain before but they had no options other than to hike through the pain. The High Sierra have limited entry and exit points and we were still a full days hike to the next exit point. As we hiked Slacker sarcastically, yet boldly, stated that you can't spell PCT without pain.

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.