[Cdt-l] Another one bites the dust…………..

Jim and_or Ginny Owen spiriteagle99 at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 18 17:00:22 CDT 2009

We’ve procrastinated about writing this but we can no longer avoid it.  The short version is that the injury isn’t life-threatening, but definitely precludes serious hiking for some indeterminate time.  
But let’s go back to the beginning – we started the PCT on May 13 at Big Bear, CA after my daughter’s wedding. The intent was to 1/ “test” the (left) replacement knee, 2/ “possibly” thruhike the trail and 3/ just have fun hiking.  In reverse order – we DID have fun, the thruhike will have to wait for another time and the intended non-destructive “test” eventually became a “Kali test” for the right (supposedly “good”) knee.  For those who are not acquainted with the term, “Kali” is the Goddess of Death and Destruction.  
I developed a blood blister under the callus on the ball of the right foot on the first day on the trail.  It caused more problems than anything else up till our last day on the trail.  The left (replacement) knee performed well except for a persistent (but gradually diminishing) pain on the outside of the knee.  
The coup de grace came while crossing Mount Jenkins, where I twisted the right knee on loose rocks and probably tore the meniscus (again).  The next morning I couldn’t walk.  So we (slowly) bailed out at Spanish Needle Creek.  Took me 8 hours to do the 10 mile walk out.  Luckily, it only took about 10 minutes to hitch a ride into Kernville.  
Next day we took the bus into Bakersfield and rented a car for a week, hoping the knee would get better and we could continue hiking.  So we spent a week visiting Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks.  It was a sorta good week – Ginny got in a little hiking and I got in a LOT of painkillers.  And the scenery was great.  
But ….after a week, there was no joy in Mudville. I was still walking like I was 132.   So we flew back to the East Coast to see the surgeon – again.  We’ll see him tomorrow.  
Overall – the trail was better than we remembered, the people (both hikers and Trail Angels) were just super, and we experienced more concentrated Trail Magic in a month than we had on all of our previous thruhikes combined.  Our thanks to the Saufleys, the Andersons and Meadow Ed, in particular. 
We hiked nearly 400 miles, saw a lot of beautiful country, met a lot of good people, and had a lot of fun.  Someday we’ll be back.  Hopefully, sooner rather than later.  
To those still on the trail, we wish you clear skies, good trail, no snow and all the beauty you can handle.  Canada awaits – go for it.  
As for us, it depends on what the surgeon says.  We’re thinking about heading north from here as soon as we get the all clear – and doing a slow wander through New England and Eastern Canada.  Where we go is utterly unknown right now.  As usual, we’ll be looking for natural beauty and wildlife, good camping – and hopefully a bit of hiking on the side.  We’ll let you know.

Jim & Ginny


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