PCT Day 35
Photos: Dad dropping me off at Kennedy Meadows + Optimism in Kennedy Meadows
Finally back on the PCT! During my last update, I thought I would only be out a week, but one turned into two, then three, and finally…four. I skipped ahead to the Sierra Nevadas, shaving off 330 miles of the desert section. If the rest of the hike goes well, I plan to do those miles southbound sometime in October.
During my time away I was able to get an appointment with a podiatrist. One of the best near my Dad’s home! The diagnosis was post-tib tendonitis. The fix was to rest, ramp up my mileage slowly once I get back on trail, and get a pair of custom insoles. They gave the analogy of my tendons being like a rubber band. You can only stretch a rubber band so far before it loses its elasticity, or worse it breaks! When I did my two ambitious 27-mile days I definitely overworked my feet, stretching the rubber band too far. I’m making sure that this time I don’t do anything like that again.
My first instinct was to head back to the PCT the instant I felt comfortable being on my feet again. The podiatrist gave me a pair of new non-custom insoles so I figured those would get me along the trail until the custom pair came in. I could then just have the customer pair shipped to the next town I was going to hit, be it Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, or South Lake Tahoe.
My Dad gave me the advice to instead let my feet heal up even more, and wait for the custom insoles to come in. That way I’d have the highest possible chance of success during the rest of my hike. Though I was eager to come back after the second week off trail, some other commitments came up which made it tricky to get back to the PCT. I figured the universe was telling me to take more time off and follow my Dad’s advice so that’s what I did.
If you had asked me last month or back in April, I would’ve said I was super excited to be starting what is considered the best portion of the hike, the High Sierra. Now I am feeling slightly more pessimistic. I keep doubting whether or not I want to be out here hiking the PCT. My foot injury has caused me to feel like a successful thru-hike isn’t in my favor, at least not this year.
I know it’s toxic to focus on only getting to Canada so to combat this mindset I’m gonna try my best to ramp up slowly, enjoying every bit of the Sierras I can, while taking on challenges one day at a time. If in the end I’m not enjoying the hike or the pain in my arches gets worse, I’ll know that it’s time to throw in the towel and try again another year when I’m more physically and mentally prepared.