My podiatrist called me this morning with the news I’ve been waiting to hear: I can return to the AT and continue with my thru hike. His ‘all clear’, though, came with some conditions:
- I consider switching out my La Sportiva trail runners to a high-top hiking boot
- Lighten the load of my pack
- Hike at a slower pace and for fewer miles
Now while I’m stoked at the call and the chance to return to the trail, I’m not keen on swapping out my Sportivas – I’d rolled my ankle in my old Solomons which had less of an ankle/heel support system. After switching to the Sportivas I went three days with no issues – I also wore an ankle brace I picked up from Walgreens.
Over the past two weeks I’ve also managed to get my pack’s base weight down to 11lbs, so even with a fully laden five days worth of food, I’ll be at 20lbs – about 10lbs less than I was carrying. I’ll also be carrying the load in a much comfier and sturdy pack; I switched out my Six Moon Designs Swift pack for the ULA Circuit – it’s just better all around.
I can also go easier on the miles, too. I’m convinced that my ankle rolling was a result of fatigue in my legs and feet. By taking my time and literally hiking my own hike, I’ll be able to monitor my pace and take necessary steps for rest stops and ultimately, round out my miles for each day with more emphasis on recovery.
Just got off the phone with Bucketlist (Mike, Cap’s friend that joined us for the Smokies section) and he mentioned that Cap and his cohorts (Tank and Camel) and slack packing using his truck! Hilarious. Apparently it goes something like this: one or two of them will get dropped off at point A while the remaining hiker/s drive north to point B, and leave the truck there. He/they walk south and handover the keys to the one/s hiking northbound. When they reach the truck at point B, it’s driven back south to point A to pick up the flip flopper/s and then they either drive into the closest town for a hostel stay; showers, resupply (for real food), and more, or they’ll pitch a tent by the truck and grill burgers – yep, burgers on the AT. Hope I can catch up to them, that sounds like a lot of fun… although it also sounds it could get expensive with paying for gas and hostels/human food each night.
Anyway, I’m off to C-Town to pick up some pasta/rice sides and spam singles. I also have to figure out how I’m going to get back down to Greeneville, TN in the next few days.