Sunday, March 14, 2010

Take a Hike...

I have been as patient as possible, waiting for the nice springtime weather so I can return to my hiking. But after seeing Avatar and watching the indigenous people of Pandora communing with nature, I have been more and more eager to get back out into the woods.

I have been working the leg, trying to strengthen and stretch, but it is still coming along slowly. Not quite 100%, yet.

"Why is the calf taking so long to heal?" you ask.

Let me give you an analogy: imagine that you get a paper cut on the pad of your thumb. The human body is VERY smart. It wants to heal itself! So that paper cut will heal fairly quickly.

But let's say that your paper cut is on the knuckle of your thumb. Of course, the body still wants to heal the paper cut, but because you use your thumb all day (bending and straightening it) you keep re-opening the wound, ruining all the healing work that your body is trying to do.

The paper cut will eventually go away but it will take much longer. It's the same with my calf.

To make this go away faster, I would have to stop walking. And since that's not going to happen, I have been doing what I can to help the process by keeping the muscles hydrated and pliable. And by strengthening all the surrounding muscles.

Also, my injury is in a spot that's hard for me to reach myself, but I do have tools that I use to help me stretch it out.

Last week we had a few beautiful days when I got to get out for some walking. Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll take a test hike up Mt. Monadnock with a small backpack just to see how the leg handles.

Is anybody up for a little 3000 foot climb?

As I mentioned in the last post, I have a new plan for this summer.

As you know, my original plan was to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. But sadly due to my injury, I was forced into a section-hike.

Last summer I hiked most of CT and a good portion of MA, but then got sidetracked and I did a bunch of hikes that were not on the AT, but that allowed me to visit with friends in NH, NY and ME.

One of my biggest challenges in last summer's adventure (beside rehabbing the bum leg) was finding transportation to and from each section.

There were quite a few volunteers-- you know who you are, and I am grateful to each of you. Anyone who is curious can go back into the Blog Archives to read about many of them.

As I plot out my course for this summer I am realizing that many of the sections are fairly short (3-5 days). Also, they are not too far from home.

So... this is my Big Idea:

I am in search of anyone (individual or small group) who is interested in getting a taste of the great outdoors.

My plan is to head out for at least a few days each week. It could be a long weekend or it could be a whole week.

So if you have a particular hike that you would like to do (VT, NH, etc.) or if there is a specific time that you have free (vacation, long weekend, etc.) let me know and I will try to work around your request. My schedule is fairly flexible (with the exception of Mondays- when I teach my class at BU).

This will help solve the transportation dilemma. The drop off part of the hike is usually easy. It's the pick up that is a little more challenging.

Try explaining this to the pick up driver: "Look for the white (or blue) blaze on a rock, tree or telephone pole that sits back near a foot path, that may or may not be obvious, on a country road with no street signs. I'll be the homeless looking guy with the long hair and beard. I'll try to be there by noon (or whenever) but if I'm not there just wait for me. I'll be there soon."

But with this new plan we can leave one car at the beginning of the Trail and one at the end. No need to search (or wait).

Keep in mind that I won't necessarily be hiking the Trail contiguously so the location of your choice of hikes is not time sensitive.

You may also choose a level of difficulty. Some of the more challenging sections will include Springer Mountain in Maine as well as the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of NH.

But there are plenty of connecting trails that are fairly level if you want something a little easier.

If you would rather do a really flat, lowland Trail... you may have to wait until I backtrack down to PA (probably not this summer).

So... if you are interested in spending some time outdoors this summer, or if you know of anyone who has ever considered the possibility of an AT hike, and wants the opportunity to do a section or two to see if it feels right before taking on a thru-hike... you (they) are welcome to join me.

This month I will also be doing some day-hikes to fill in a few gaps that I missed in MA last summer. So if a day hike is all you are up to... call me soon.

If you are not interested in hiking at all, but are up for a drive, I am still looking for drop off and pick up rides on the weeks that I am hiking alone.

Peace and Love,

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