Monday, April 20, 2009

Ever Read My Little Puppy?

-Hot Springs, NC-

I just got back from soaking my ragged stack of bones at the Hot Springs Spa and for the first time in a while, I feel good.

When I last left you off, I was getting out of Hiawassee, GA trying to mend my knee and after two days on the trail, the pain came back worse than ever. I thought my trip was finished. Game over. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars.

However, hobbling to the next shelter, I was pissed off that my trail may be over, frustrated that I got this industry in the first place, and angry that I'd have to have my brother pick me up off the trail after less than two weeks on. So in this fit of rage, I told Rainman (that's Dan) that instead of setting up camp for the night at 1pm, I wanted to push on and get off the trail as soon as possible. We checked the map - 1.1 miles down the AT and 5 more miles on a cut-off to get to the highway. At my pace, I could be in Franklin (the nearest town) that night and be able to sleep in a real bed. Then, my belief in a higher power was restored.

Walking the one mile to the cut-off, I had no pain. Not a wink. It was like I was never injured in the first place. It didn't make any sense. After 800mg of Vitamin I (Ibuprofen), it would certainly help out a bit, but not numb it completely. I thought the pain would come back during the one mile approach, but nothing came back. I continued on the AT for 4.5 more miles - still no pain. Then, Rainman and I enjoyed some Trail Magic in the form of free beef stew, chili, beer, burgers, sausage, biscuits, and a warm breakfast in Deep Gap, I made my way on a cutoff trail to Franklin and got myself into a motel bed for cheap - still, with no pain.

I don't know what to tell you. But the knee is working and since then, there is some pain here and there, but nothing two Vitamin I and some Bengay can't handle. Needless to say, I'm happy about it.

So all the problems I had are now solved. Blisters? Got new boots and no more problems. Knee? Vitamin I and Bengay - done and done. My torn up side? Ordered a new ULA pack off a reccomendation from a man named Pirate (we became good friends) and the thing rides like a dream.

Funny story about Pirate - I had just picked up Moby Dick at the Franklin book store (need to do some research on my character, you know) and a discussion about good books broke out on our shuttle (which is a washed-up mini school bus - hilarious). Anyway, we start talking about the classics we should/want to read, from Vonnegut and Melville, to Michaelangelo and Homer. Suddenly, Pirate chirps into the conversation with the line, "You ever read My Little Puppy? It's only 8 pages and has plenty of pictures - great book." with a straight face and everything. And from a man with a bushy peppered beard and a weathered face, it was comedic genius. That's Pirate in a nutshell.

Back to the knee - one fact I noticed about my knee was the correlation between my nagging knee pain and my Chevy hat. I realized that the miracle cure happened when I wasn't wearing the Chevy hat, and that was the first time I had not worn it. I thought about the flurry of crap I had to deal with in the first two weeks and it all came while wearing that hat. So, I did the most logical thing I could think of.

I burned it.

I burned that fuckin' hat and watched it burn with all the future injuries that would have come along with it. And since then, I have no new injuries to speak of.

To wrap it up, we cleared the Smokies in 5 days, saw 3 bears, trudged through Narnia when we had freezing temperatures, pulled two 20+ mile days, met some crazy people, did a work for stay at the Standing Bear Farm, drank tons of beers, slept on Max's Patch and had the craziest sunset ever, got some more Trail Magic, got to hike 20 miles without my backpack, dipped my body in a 105 degree mineral bath, and now I'm gonna hitchhike to a party and enjoy some free pig roasted by a man named Rock Hound.

Hell yeah.

All you need to know is life is good, the trail is great, and I've already got less than 2000 miles left to go.

Keep sending those good vibes!


  1. Tell Rockhound that Bigby says hey - and if it's the same Pirate that hung out with Rusty at the Hollow in 2007, he's the freaking man.

    Way to exorcise the knee demon man! Keep pickin em up and puttin em down!!

  2. Burn baby burn! It's funny how people carry rabbit feet and look for 4-leaf clover for good luck. Bad karma, in the form of a hat, is rarely mentioned. May its evil spirits never visit your trails -- and may your bear count remain at 3! xoxo to you and that awesome Rainman. Momma Foxy


    many good vibes sent south, across the mountains and down the coast. i'm glad you're safe and well and having adventures. i just binged on your blog at work - it reflects you nicely. we miss you up here, and i'm proud of you. stay safe!

    LOVE, anna

  4. good vibes coming your way--

    a former dancer's trick to cure blisters---- PICKLE JUICE. i'm not even kidding, just dip your toesies in that and it'll turn the blisters to a callus real quick.

  5. Well well Rightor. Rocking the trail I see. Nicely done, I've enjoyed the entries keep'em coming. I'm going to Larkin's class tomorrow to talk about what the Applied Physics Minor can do for people. Obviously you're using your extensive physics background out there on the AT.
    Right Hand Rule forever