Pacific Crest Trail: California || 2019

When Injury Happens On a Thru

I’ve been really putting off writing this post. A lot of you may already know, but I had to get off the PCT due to a foot injury. After months of anxious excitement, the trail I’d been dreaming about was right at my feet. My dreams feel dashed, and all my plans squandered. It’s been such a huge bummer, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve been intensely sad about it.

It happened on day 2, only about 20 miles in. I was sitting at the soda shop in Lake Morena when I noticed a pain in the arch of my foot. Hoping it was just tweaked, I kept going. I limped the rest of that day, and the next into Mt. Laguna, where I took 2 days off hoping my foot would get better. It felt better for awhile, but came back with a vengeance after about 30 hours. I was eating so much ibuprofen, but still couldn’t keep up. I trudged on for over 80 miles like that, wincing with every step, crying often, feeling sick at the thought of having to stop so so early on. The night before hitting mile 100, I could no longer put any weight on my foot at all, and decided I needed to stop pushing and heal. Pain is normal while thru hiking, but this was different. I was in excruciating pain about 80 out of the 103 miles I hiked, and that’s not really the experience I wanted out there.

Wildflowers in the Southern California desert.

I came back to Salt Lake City and the doctor said that I’ve likely torn or frayed a ligament in my foot, and that I need to stay off it for at least 2-3 more weeks. “No mountains”, he said. No hiking, climbing, snowboarding—nothing where I have to twist or torque my foot at all. Unfortunately that’s about everything I do.

I’ve sort of been having an identity crisis since I’ve been off trail and gotten the “no mountains” directive from the doc. The mountains and what I enjoy doing in them ARE my identity these days, and I’m not really sure what to do or even who I am now that I can’t get amongst them. I feel a bit lost to be perfectly honest. Especially when I had my sights so set on hiking the PCT this year. I know that all sounds very dramatic, but it’s how I truly feel.

Here’s photos from the first 100 miles.


Published by alexandriacantrell22

Trail-name: Pocahontas Atlanta-native and based out of SLC, Utah. Appalachian Trail 2016, the Colorado Trail 2018, Timberline Trail 2018

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