A solid eight hours sleep in a comfy bed did little to make my leg feel any better. Absent balm from Gilead I wasn’t going to be able to hike 20 miles, let alone two. It was decision time and really, there was no decision to make. I was on an 11AM bus bound for New York. I entertained the thought of using crutches on the trail until I was feeling better, but I don’t think that would have been a realistic possibility, not in the steep rocky north anyway. The real uncertainty was what my plan of attack was going to be going forward. There has been a fun and interesting change to the kayak trip (more on that at a later date), so I had to start thinking about when I would fly to Winnipeg to begin paddling. If I waited too long, I would need ice skates and not a kayak.
To be considered as having thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, one has 12 months from their start date. Some people take eight months of continuous hiking or longer to complete the trail. In my case though, it gives me until April 25, 2009 to finish the trail. The thought of taking on the kayak trip and returning to finish the trail following it, is certainly a possibility. It would be significantly colder in Winter/Spring, but I would get to see the trail from another, colder, perspective. That being said, I have no interest in being on the Mount Washington, NH, portion of the trail in the month of January; the place where the highest surface wind speed was ever recorded.
I just have too many things to consider right now. Another possibility is to knock off a couple hundred more miles of the trail, kayak and then finish the trail. I just don’t know at this point.
On the bus back to New York I sat next to an honest to goodness Hobo. He was a modern day hobo and carried a backpack instead of a bindle, so he wanted to talk gear with me when not regaling me of tales of riding the rails and attending the annual Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.