Friday, September 11, 2009

The Short Way Home

So I hurt my foot a few days ago. Tendonitis. Repetitive motion, repetitive impact. It occurred in my left foot around Day Six to Seven. I took a day off, tried to go slowly afterwards, and it didn't let up. Even now, I feel something when I clench my foot like a fist.

I took a drastic step which I really didn't want to: I came home. My parents were offering to pick me up, give me a little buffer of recovery, and then let me hit the trail again. I hemmed and hawed, but eventually decided it was the best option.

It kind of blows apart the notion of one guy against the elements, the miles, etc., and somehow making it out just fine. I liked thinking of that, but the reality is that people have helped me every step of this hike thus far. There has not been a single day in which I wasn't helped by someone in some way, like offering me a ride, giving me permission to camp somewhere, and giving me water and food to name a few. I am not alone and have been enjoying the benefits of generous and unexpected aid, and as such, I decided to take my parents up on their offer to help.

I made it to Palacios, TX. It's just over 100 miles from Corpus Christi going straight. Of course, I dipped down into the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, as well as visiting Seadrift, TX for an evening. I probably added another 30 miles or so in my detours and side trips. Even so, I am still surprised that the hiking is as difficult as it's turning out to be. The road is brutal.

I was struck by an odd sensation while coming home. We passed several of my stretches in the car going back to Corpus. Despite having walked a single time through these places, I felt an ownership of the land we crossed and a feeling of disbelief that the terrain could be traversed so quickly. "Hey, I slept there," I told my parents, tapping the window. My parents turned to look, but in a second, we were already far down the road, away from that patch of ground, from the mosquitoes, from the memory of my meal of peanut butter and raisins. And it happened nearly the entire trip home, a movie being watched and rewound at the same time.

My foot is doing better. Lots of icing, elevation, relaxation, Ibuprofen. I also invested in some new shoes and am reorganizing my backpack. I will be back on the trail in a couple of days at the exact point I left off. While coming home doesn't fit into the vision that I had hoped for, having a healthy foot and good overall trip are two things I refuse to compromise on.

Until next time, hike on!


Jonathan WC said...

Get better quickly! Reading this is becoming just as much as an adventure for me as hiking it is for you! (Well maybe that is a stretch, but it is something I look forward to!)

Bill Shirley said...

If you're still at home and get a chance . . .

All in the Mind
Psychogeography: discovering the mental terrain of the city

A really great podcast, and reminded me of your walk and some other friends of mine who have been doing walks more similar to those discussed in the podcast, in Houston.

-Bill Shirley, Houston Heights