Aves and I have been reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy lately and I thought that a fitting title to this post. Although, "you can't always get what you want but if you try sometime you just might find, you get what you need," from the Stones would have been pretty fitting too.
This post is coming shortly after we've made the decision to close off our hike. We'll be following this post with more details and some more great pictures but here's the short version:
From Catawba our start was amazing. Joe from the Four Pines Hostel allowed us an easy 6 mile slack pack and a two night stay to get back on our feet. The next day we were under full packs and hiked up and over the Dragon's Tooth, a stone monolith with great views. We spent that night in our new tent (there's also a post coming about gear changes we've made and what we've learned thus far). The next couple of nights we spent in shelters along the way talking with true SoBos about everything they've experienced that we missed.
The 48 miles that we were able to do before getting back off the trail again were spectacular. It felt great to be back on the trail and in the wilderness again. We walked through pastures, over stiles and over some of Virginia's shorter mountains. But then four days ago we hit a couple miles that were pure rocks. It felt like we were back in Maine getting ready to hit Mahoosuc Notch. I was as careful as I could possibly be and it took us over an hour to get past it all. Afterwards though, my foot was complaining loudly. 600mg of Advil later and we made it to the shelter for the night. The next day I was able to make it the 10 miles to the Captain's house. The Captain is an awesome trail legend who lives thirty yards from the trail across a creek. Hikers like us take a zip line to get there, it's pretty awesome.
At this point I was figuring the pain may just be muscular, a product of not using it for a few months. The we took a zero the next day hoping the pain would subside and we could keep going. Then another the next day and another today. The pain isn't subsiding.
Basically it comes down to money and as much as we'd love to say that we could afford a hotel until I'm healed, we can't. Not that and everything else we'd need to afford to rejoin real life after our hike is over.
We really have still had a most excellent adventure. We've learned a lot too. Now that we've done enough of the trail to learn what it is but so little of it overall, we're already planning a true thru hike again in a few years. I have about two years left in my degree so we may be able to get the time again when I graduate. Hard to say for sure. One thing that is for sure is that Jess and I are thru hikers at heart. We know we have the knowledge and desire.
This isn't the end of our blog though. In a few days we'll be back in front of a computer and be able to post the details of the past few days with the last of our pictures, the gear changes that we made since the beginning and some helpful tips for anyone planning a future through hike. For now though we need to get some sleep, we have a long drive back to Wisconsin coming up tomorrow.