It’s a Hard Knock Life, or Meditations on (Temporary) Termination

I came off the PCT on April 4th, 2014. Tomorrow I will see a doctor in Sacramento, where I live, and will likely be referred to a podiatrist for peroneal tendonitis.
I developed this tendonitis in early February when I walked in some shoes with poor arch support. I was on crutches for two weeks while it healed up. I have experienced a similar pain in the past while running cross country, while hiking in Alaska, and while climbing Mount Shasta, so it’s possible that the tendonitis has been lurking since then.
This time I did not let the pain get as bad as the first time because I am fearful that if I don’t stop and get it treated, I could make the tendonitis chronic or permanent.
I’ve received a number of emails in the past couple days from people sympathizing with me and wishing me well, and I greatly appreciate the kind words and advice. More people are following this trip than I ever expected.
I will post again when I talk to a medical professional about how long I will have to wait before returning to the trail.

Things to know about my trip:
1. It is not over, and I’ll be back.
2. I will finish the trail at some point, and I will write about it as I hike. If that means I only get a section done this year (because of the ridiculously early beginning to my first semester of college in August) and I have to hike for numerous years in the future, then all I have to say is “Oh darn, I guess I have to go backpacking on the PCT AGAIN next summer.”
3. I was only hiking for a couple weeks, but I miss the trail.
4. Living on the trail is challenging, but it’s been joyful to hang out in the sun and rain with other people who haven’t washed their hands in days and who share an interest in eating trash and sleeping on the ground in order to walk all day.

Things I’m not sure about yet:
1. How long it will be until I’m healthy enough to return to the trail.
2. Whether any of the people who found my blog after Carrot Quinn so kindly recommended it will stay tuned until I resume my trip. (Carrot’s was my favorite PCT journal of 2013. I got the chance to interview her for the PCTA before I left for the trail this year, and she’s leading a fascinating life. You should check out her writing.)
3.Whether my body will handle the shock of returning temporarily to a semi-nocturnal lifestyle before returning to the sun-up, sun-down rhythm of the trail.

Things I will be doing at least for the next week:
1. Riding my bike for many, many miles because it doesn’t make my foot hurt and it keeps me in relatively decent shape. It’s also fun to go fast under your own power.
2. Eating hot food and fresh produce
3. Listening to music

Things I will not be doing at least for the next week:
1. Hiking with a pack on the PCT 😦
2. Posting about my days in Sacramento, because I’m feeling mopey and I know my home life is less-than-captivating.
3. Taking candy bar breaks at 9am

Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in my trip so far. I hope to be able to post good news after I talk to the doctor!

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11 Responses to It’s a Hard Knock Life, or Meditations on (Temporary) Termination

  1. rocketthikes says:

    Oh no! Bummer. But glad you are listening to your body. Maybe I’ll see you out on the trail in 2015 after you get all healed up! (As someone who was recommended here by Carrot, I’ll absolutely keep following you!

    • It’s rough when your mind and body can’t work together. I very well might be out again, if only for a section, in 2015 depending on how long the healing takes. Good luck to you as you prepare!

  2. James Baum says:

    Get well.

  3. I am so bummed to hear about you getting off the trail. I was really enjoying your blogs and look forward to more when you get back out there.

    Thanks for putting my recent lower back pain in perspective. It happens and we will get beyond it!

    Let me know what the doc says.

  4. Chrys Cassetta says:

    Hi Korbi – I know you are disappointed, but as you say, you will be back. Even though it is emotionally painful not to be able to complete your journey right now, you have made the right deciison – but I know you know that 🙂 It’s been fun keeping up with your journey, and I am looking forward to the time that you are able to return. You are a brave soul, that’s for sure. There is no way I could have done what you have already done – well, you know my mantra: to me, camping out is the Holiday Inn 🙂 I hope you doctor appointment goes well. Take care – Hugs…Ms. C

    • Ms. C, thanks for keeping up with my trip! It’s a struggle being home when I know my new friends are hiking on and having new experiences, but at least I know the trail isn’t going anywhere.
      I suppose we all have different ideas about what constitutes a wilderness experience… 😉

  5. Sarah Koch says:

    Get well!! I just found your blog (thanks, Carrot Quinn) and can’t wait to read more. Also, just curious… how old are you? You mention going to college next fall… I’m guessing that means you’re pretty young, which is AWESOME and INSPIRING to me, as I am a senior in high school wanting to thru hike sometime soon. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to thru hike (I’ve got an incredible job locked in for the next few summers and have to work on my parents for sure) but I can’t wait and I love seeing other young people getting out there! (Or, if you’re not young that’s awesome, too… I just love seeing people get out there!!) Sending my very best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    • I’m certainly doing my best to get healthy again!
      I’m 19. I deferred my college acceptance for a year to hike the trail. In that time I worked to finance the hike, gathered gear and experience, and organized my resupply strategy. Not to sound anarchistic, but be aware that if you wait too long to align your life to hike, you might find yourself stuck in a job that pays well and leads you to other goals but doesn’t allow you the freedom to hike. Just a thought (and a major reason I want to hike before I commit to a career that requires a long-term, continuous time investment).
      Regarding your parents, education is probably most important. I know my mom was reluctant for a little while, but when she realized I knew so much about the trail and that I had the experience necessary to be OK on my own, she was a lot more willing to let me walk around for 5 months without a designated hiking partner. PCTA.org is a great place for your parents to start learning about the details of your goal (but you’ve probably already showed that to them).
      I really hope you can make your hike happen, and thanks for the kind wishes.

  6. Heal up Korbi! I was really enjoying your storytelling and writing style. I hope you are able to get back to your dream. Hope to see you on the trail!

    -GoalTech (MYTH from Portland)

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