A couple of days ago I made the decision to end my hike at Harper’s Ferry and it really was not a difficult decision. The harder part of that decision was convincing Leslie that I was OK with it.
Today I am making a much more difficult decision and one that I am not OK with to end my hike due to achilles tendonitis. Even with the heel lifts it is very painful going uphill. I don’t want to risk further injury and from everything I have read once you have this the solution is not painkillers or a little stretching. In fact one of the solutions is to NOT walk uphill, especially under a burden of a 35 pound pack, which on the AT is impossible.
Thinking back I followed some bad advice that probably aggravated the situation. A fellow hiker suggested that I should extend my legs when going uphill as that is where you get your power from and it will stretch the achilles with each step. I am fairly certain this made it worse, although at that point it may have been too late anyway.
Oddly enough Leslie just texted me that she could not sleep and was packed and ready to head home from somewhere in the middle of Indiana. So I instead of me being stuck in the middle of nowhere wondering how I am going to get home from there, she is turning around and driving the same thing she did yesterday but her end location is 15 miles further up the trail.
In many ways I feel like I never got untracked on this hike. I had a lot of new gear I was figuring out and spent the first 30 days getting into hiking shape. I finally felt like things were coming together with the exception of the achilles. I was really looking forward to seeing what my body could handle in terms of daily consistent mileage. I was also looking forward to passing the 300 mile mark later today or tomorrow on the trail. In the end mile 289.7 was all I my legs could do… and I have 5.3 miles to do today to get to that point.
At the moment pretty devastated. This too shall pass….