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  • Thoughts on Injury

    September 21, 2023

    Thoughts on Injury

    When I came to terms that my tendon injury necessitated some time off trail, I was very concerned for what the remainder of my hike might look like. I hoped it wouldn’t come to it, but a corner of my mind nagged me with the notion that I might not be able to finish the trail this year. My leg was so sore; it hurt to put weight on it. It hurt to walk. I moved with a pathetic shuffle step, and I used Journey Man as my crutch. The swelling wasn’t going down, and the pain didn’t seem to cease.

    A couple days in to the time off trail in Seattle, I had to sit with myself and ponder the real possibility that I might not return to trail. It was such a disappointing thought. It made me mad. And sad. I didn’t want to be done hiking. I had two of the most talked about sections still left to complete—the North Cascades and the Sierra. Not returning to trail meant that I would not complete my thru hike of the PCT this year. Would I restart next year or another time in the future? Would I complete the PCT as a LASH-er (i.e., Long-Ass Section Hiker)? I felt stubborn. I wanted to complete my PCT thru hike this year, in 2023.

    I know that circumstances occur all the time out of hikers’ control that result in them not completing their thru hike. I knew that I wasn’t an exception to the possibility. The emotions that rose to the surface as I deliberated what might happen reminded me of how much I love how I’m living my life. I love walking, sleeping outside, meeting new people, seeing different corners of the country, and having my eyes opened and soul rejuvenated daily. 

    It was heartbreaking to think I might have to quit after the money and energy I’d already invested in this hike. However, I find comfort in knowing that not completing the thru hike doesn’t take away the beautiful moments that I’ve experienced along the way. People have to end their hikes for all sorts of reasons. I hoped I wouldn’t have to end mine, but it was a good exercise to process my feelings on the matter. I felt more determined and more gratitude after doing so. 

    - Mantis

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