Where the Hell Have I Been?

The easy answer? Lost.

But not on a trail. Let’s start at the beginning of my decline.

In 2018, my wife and I took a hiking trip to Colorado – all of those treks appear here on this blog. The last hike before we headed back east was to Royal Arch, just outside of Boulder (read here). There I ascended over 1,300 feet in two miles and felt great doing it. As I stepped off of Colorado’s Front Range I was carrying 218 lbs on my 6’1″ frame. I was struggling with Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot, but that mostly only bothered me for 20 or 30 minutes on the mornings after hikes. Six day later and back on the east coast, we tackled one of Shenandoah National Park’s quintessential hikes, Whiteoak Canyon (read here and here). The fasciitis was getting worse, and a month later I was hobbling around in pain all day long. I didn’t hike that winter.

Spring of 2019 came and I tried to get back into it. I had seen a podiatrist and had some inserts for my shoes to help with both the fasciitis and some bone spurs on my heels. I did a few local hikes, but I just wasn’t getting myself out the door as much as before. That summer I hiked around Door County, Wisconsin, where I work each June. The rest of the summer and Fall of 2019 slipped by without much regular hiking. Lisa and I planned a winter trip to Big Bend National Park. Ten days on the Mexican border jump-started my hiking engine, and we logged 30+ trail miles, including a two-day hike of the park’s South Rim Loop (read here and here) and an amazing hike on The Lost Mine Trail (read here). I felt a little out of shape, but was sure I was back on track.

I wasn’t. I didn’t hike the rest of that winter.

Then spring of 2020 brought a pandemic and, despite hiking being one of the few leisure activities (other than sitting on the couch watching YouTube) that was safe and acceptable, I still languished indoors, producing digital performances for my job and leaking motivation all over my home office. Summer brought a work trip to southwestern Colorado and my enthusiasm rallied – Lisa and I managed hikes in Colorado, Kansas, and Kentucky as we worked our way back to the mid-Atlantic only to have that enthusiasm wane once I was home. Now my right knee was giving me significant trouble due to a torn meniscus. I forced myself out the door and up to New England in October for a trio of hikes, but sank back into lethargy (and possibly a mild depression) upon my return. Since then my hikes have been few and far between. When I ran out of hikes to write about, I abandoned the writing as well.

Now it’s March of 2022 and I have hardly hiked in over a year. I miss it but am apprehensive about getting back out on the trail. A recent attempt left me wheezing on the first hill. I weigh 275 lbs and none of my hiking clothes fit anymore. I’ve been consoling myself with large portions of unhealthy food and spending my free time watching movies and sinking deeper into my well-worn living room couch.

Writing this entry is my promise to myself to do better. To get better. And to get out on the $$!@#!$ trail and H-I-K-E, hike!

My posts may not be as regular as before – I’m going to shoot for one to two times a month at first. My hikes and my posts will probably be a little shorter and will focus on my progress as well as the trails. My wife and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park and The Grand Tetons this July and, while we have been modest in the hikes we’re planning, we are still planning some that as of this moment, I don’t think I could manage. So I gotta get ready.

Wish me luck!  ♦

The cover photo for this post was taken at Lake Habeeb in Rocky Gap, MD, one of my most recents attempts at getting back on the trail. I will write about that hike in the coming weeks.

16 thoughts on “Where the Hell Have I Been?

  1. I had just a minor meniscus tear and got depressed, so I can relate. I was thinking stuff like “I’ll never be able to hike again!” So I feel for you, Brother! Let that knee heal, get some PT if you need it, and you’ll be out on the trail again! I’m praying for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the update. Kim and I are “wishing you luck” and are certain that you’ll rise above this setback and continue to enjoy the outdoors at the appropriate pace for you. We think of you and Lisa often as we imagine our next get together and giggle at all the fun we have shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Ledges: Livin’ on the Ledge | BIT|Hiker

  4. Yep! We go through the same slumps. It’s because of health, busy life, COVID funk and all the other things, but we just can’t beat ourselves up for it. All we can do is take advantage of the little bits of emotional and physical sunshine and GTFO! Best wishes!!

    Liked by 1 person

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