Miles Hiked: 29.1
This morning I woke before sunrise. The moon was incredibly bright in the sky last night. A couple of times I woke up thinking it was early morning but it was the middle of the night. The first thing I did was get up and go to the bathroom. My left shin was in so much pain. I knew it was going to be a long day. I put two of my calf compression sleeves on my left leg before hiking out of camp. As I hiked it felt like the pain subsided a little bit but I think it was just my body getting warmed up. Three miles in I grabbed water from a fire station near a road. It would be the last paved road I’d see until the town of Acton 26 miles later.
The day warmed up quite fast but it wasn’t unbearable. Little gnats were flying in front of my eyes for a while and driving me crazy. The trail was also slightly sloped all the way around the mountain. It irritated my shin and ankle so much. I kept stopping to stretch my ankle by rolling it out and letting it stretch the opposite way the trail was pulling it. Now my shins felt awful. I did most of the climbing for the day and took a long break about 15 miles in. The trail was so easy, my body felt totally fine, not even exhausted but my shin was killing me. Angus caught up to me and we hiked together for a little bit. He knew my shin had been bothering me for a while and that it was really bad today. I told him I was going to take three zeros once I got to town. I debated cutting the day short and not doing as many miles but I thought I’d rather push on all the way into town so I could have some ice tonight and start my rest period tonight as well. The idea of getting up tomorrow to hike on my shin again and make it irritated after a night of rest sounded awful. Angus hiked with me until he couldn’t anymore. My shin just kept getting worse and worse and I kept having to sit down every couple of miles to take a break from it all. Angus left me at a water source near a ranger station so he could push into Acton before the campground that sells ice and held his resupply box could close. I didn’t think I would make it there in time and he offered to get the ice for me so I didn’t have to stress out about it. If a person would have been around with a car I would have immediately asked for a ride into town but it was on a dirt road with closed gates so no hope for a ride.
The last eight miles were the hardest part of the whole day. It was mostly all downhill. I would stop to let my ankle and shin relax occasionally. I could feel some sensations of crepitus that were a bit freaky. During one of these moments of stopping to relax my inflamed shin, the pain came on really sharp and intensely. I screamed and started crying. I wasn’t sure what happened any differently than the one hundred other times I had stopped to relax but something felt so wrong and I was really scared. The next mile was absolutely excruciating. I accidentally didn’t pick up my foot all the way a few times and banged it on a rock. When this happened the intense pain would return shooting up the front of my shin again. I sat down in the direct sunlight for a few moments to breathe and get the pain under control. As soon as I was a decent place for some shade I stopped to sit down for an hour. I met a lovely couple named Spice Rack and Jasmin. Spice Rack let me sit in his chair on the break. I thought he was crazy but he said he let Angus sit in it right before me! I was thankful for the resting spot. When I first met them I was still crying from how bad it hurt. After an hour of rest I continued on four more miles. I limped the whole way in and frequently stopped standing up just to let the pain subside. When I finally reached the trail that lead to the KOA where Angus went to get some ice I sat down. There was no way I could walk much further today. It wasn’t a good spot to camp but if I was alone I would have laid there right next to the trail until the next morning.
It was 7:30pm. Angus showed up at the trail with a bag of ice the KOA gave him for free. I was so grateful. I told him I couldn’t walk anymore and I was really scared to take off my calf sleeve containing all the inflammation until I knew were we were setting up camp. Angus went down the trail to scout out a spot if anything was close at all. He came back and told me we needed to walk one more minute and thirty seconds to a nice secluded spot. I got up thankful I didn’t have to sleep almost directly on the trail and hobbled for one more minute. At camp, I took off my calf sleeve. My ankle was fat and squishy. So was my shin. I was just glad I didn’t have to walk anymore and that my rest started tonight. It’s a bummer that I felt so good after two big days but my shin was holding me back. We camped with another guy named Patches. Angus got his new shoes and looked so happy in them. His old ones were completely falling apart in a painful way. I was happy he felt so good and can’t wait to see him hike the rest of the trail. I am a little bummed however that I will have to say goodbye to a great hiking partner I’ve had for the longest stretch so far! I am looking forward to seeing all the other awesome people I met again and maybe get to hike with them once I heal up! I legitimately didn’t take any pictures at all today because I felt so bad.