Patience, limbo

I wish I was sitting down to write about our fortitude in covering miles even in difficult conditions, about our strength in climbing mountains and navigating treacherous descents, about hiking into New England and everyday getting closer to Maine.

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Instead, I report that we are still off the trail as my ankle heals. We are waiting, patiently as always, for this injury to pass, for our bodies to repair, for our confidence to return.

It’s been three weeks since the injury occurred, and as soon became apparent, it was a pretty serious sprain. Just in the past few days have I been walking unsupported; before that, I relied on crutches and then a cane. We discovered after the first week through trial-by-error that my ankle was not strong enough for backpacking. Pat’s dad picked us up in New York and we spent the next week recuperating at his house in western Massachusetts.

We’ve done a good job of making this forced break more enjoyable by treating it as a semi-vacation. While in New York, we visited with my sister and Pat’s grandfather. While in western Mass., we drove to North Adams to do trail magic and meet up with some of our hiker friends, and to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins near Brattleboro, VT. This past week, we drove to New Hampshire and saw Pat’s mom and friends and squeezed in a few short trips to the beach.

Now we are again taking stock of our food bags, planning resupply points, and packing up our gear. We hope to be back on the trail this week. We did a practice run of sorts, walking a mile to downtown Greenfield and back to the house, and it went well. I walk slowly, hiding my limp.

I recognize that I am perhaps returning to the trail before my ankle has fully healed, but I hope it’s strong enough. I am desperate to keep hiking. I am about 50 miles from having hiked the whole Appalachian Trail. I got off the trail in West Cornwall Bridge, CT, in 2010–I want so badly to get to that spot and start retracing familiar ground as we walk on, ever north. Three weeks of healing, three weeks of limbo–that’s enough. Soon, we will hike on.

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