Thursday, March 28, 2013

12 Days- No Back-Up Plan

Summit of Monadnock

Since being in Massachusetts Portrait and I have been on a handful of small hikes—like a couple miles round trip.  We did one overnight—a six mile hike along the crest of the Mount Holyoke Range. We spent a rather cold damp night on top of Mount Holyoke under the summit’s house porch.  Last weekend I went for an icy hike up Mount Monadnock with my brother.  Monadnock is one of the most climbed peaks in New England, but it was a first ascent for me and my brother and we had the summit and the snow flurries to ourselves.

Aside from the short overnight, I haven’t carried any weight on my back since finishing the PCT.  And I have not heard a peep from my Achilles tendons on any of these quick hikes.  There has been no Ibuprofen, tenderness, or swelling.  There hasn’t been that feeling of the tendons pulling tighter with each mile until my legs are taut from heels to knees.  There hasn’t been any discomfort at all.

Portrait on Mount Holyoke Range
Despite the pain-free hiking of late I do wonder how my tendons really are.  When I load up my new pack and go for a hike?  When I leave from Crazy Cook and hike a full day with a pack on?  When I’m hiking day after day?  Will six months of rest, a lighter base weight, lighter footwear, and a heightened attention to food and water weight be enough to prevent problems?  All questions I’ll be answering for myself over the next few days and weeks.

The tendons are not a sure thing, and knowing this, I have no back-up plan if my tendons do start to hurt. The goal has always been, through the planning and food prepping, to thru-hike the CDT.  There’s been no if’s or but’s.  I didn’t buy nearly 200 protein bars only to look at them and think about how long it will take to eat them all if I don’t finish the trail.  The plan is to hike the CDT.  That’s it.

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