The End of the Hike
Well, the ankle did not survive the two miles to Standing Bear Farm, let alone the 30 miles to Hot Springs. I DID hike that last two miles to Standing Bear Farm on crutches, so some folks thought I was nuts. Now that I’ve been home more than a week, it finally feels fully healed, but there was no way to tell how long it was going to take in Tennessee – it throbbed every time I put my foot lower than my torso.
It was a fun end to the hike, with Rocket as the Hostel Manager, lots of food to eat, a lovely porch to sit on for a few days waiting for the plane, and a nice country road to walk down when I needed cell service – on crutches – more than 1/4 mile. Yikes!
Some pics from the end:
Rocket, the hostel host.
Apple: my trail angel that gave me a ride to Newport, TN, and took me to a couple of breakfasts and dinners, as well as to the hospital to get the foot x-rayed. He’s a trail angel for two weeks every spring at Davenport Gap.
The Standing Bear Llamas.
The I-40 entrance. It was the first and only interstate i crossed on the trail.
The trail stairs up from the road on the north side of the I-40 crossing. Yep – did them on crutches. One at a time, slow and easy.
Even hobbling along out of the Smokies on the last day, I still took time to get a few wildflower pics:
What is next? I hope to catch up to the family I met in GA to do a bit of the AT in NH later in the summer, and I’ll start working on those 4000 foot peaks again. I’m not really tempted to attempt another thru from the beginning, but I can see doing section hikes of the AT in the future. Whether or not I’ll finish it is anybody’s guess at this point.
I have to say at this point I LOVED seeing the southern mountains – it was an area of the country I had never seen before at to hike through them, in particular in the spring, was just wonderful. Hopefully, Ric will get his foot problem solved and we can do some of this stuff together at some point.
But wait – we have kayaks and bicycles as well – the Allagash is still on my list of things I want to do in retirement. Lots to think about.