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We are hiking machines. In every sense of the word.

2011 July 27

It’s been a while since we’ve had access to a computer (and time to sit and use it), and so much has happened!

First off, we are in the process of writing more extended blogs for the states we have completed, with mentions or reviews of the places we stayed. That will include New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Wow, just looking at that list of states brings back so many memories! A lot HAS happened!

Back in the “early days” on the trail, somewhere in North Carolina, we were passed by a second-timer. As we talked and shared our struggles with food and mileage, he assured us eventually our bodies would become machines. At the time I just assumed he meant that over time we would be able to just tick off the miles, merrily tromping toward Katahdin. For the most part, that was correct.

Once we passed Harper’s Ferry, the terrain became much easier and we really started laying down the miles. I believe from there through Massachusetts we averaged around 20 miles a day. We took very few zero days, and essentially were merrily tromping toward Katahdin. We slack packed some, we had some pretty bad days, and we had some really, really good days too. Over time, however, we began to understand the deeper meaning behind that word “machine” — and eventually in Massachusetts it caught up with us.

While we waited for a foot treatment to kick in that Muggle got in North Adams, MA, we rested. It was a pretty luxurious 4 day stint in a hotel downtown, a short walk to food and entertainment. Because of the public transportation and Greyhound availability, skipping Vermont was a great way to gain 150 miles and make those four days off almost disappear from our schedule. So we left North Adams well rested, and headed to Hanover, NH–we will come back to get those 150 in the fall.

But have you ever seen a motor turning with a broken belt? Or maybe something stuck between a couple gears that the gears are bound and determined to grind through? The machine is working hard, turning uselessly and working tirelessly, attempting in vain to achieve it’s intended purpose. That’s how we feel entering Maine. Muggle is, for all intents and purposes, a broken machine. The miles have caught us, and both of her feet are in pain the majority of every day. This week her right knee started to swell just below the kneecap, and the pain as she goes down hills (and there are a lot of them in Maine) is excruciating. But, like those broken machines, we have tromped on, reduced by terrain and injury to roughly 10 miles a day.

But last night we stopped in Andover, and today we’re going to the doctor. We will also evaluate our “schedule” and see what we need to do in order to finish. Since we can’t finish doing 10 miles a day, we’re hoping the doctor can help patch us up enough to finish the last 270 miles before fall semester starts and Muggle has to be back to teach! Do you know how difficult it is to convince a doctor that you don’t want to do what’s “best” for your body (which is always to quit the hike), you just want to keep going? We just have 270 more miles–and that sounds insane even to us–we have 1900 behind us!

So wish us luck and better health. We’re still going northward, just not sure for how much longer–we’re taking it one day at a time, holding our plans loosely.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. Sherry Deig permalink
    July 27, 2011

    Maybe she could take a piggy back ride the last 270 miles?? :-)

  2. July 27, 2011

    Godspeed to Katahdin & VT!

  3. Jon Trick permalink
    July 27, 2011

    Praying for you guys!!!

  4. Mary Ridenour permalink
    July 27, 2011

    Christian and I continue to read your updates and we are cheering you on. Hang in there we’re pulling for you. Good luck to you both your adventure has been and continues to be amazing!

  5. Rattler permalink
    July 27, 2011

    Perhaps your trail names are really coming to the surface, and the survivor man should soldier on if muggle is disabled and unable to finish this year is a realistic fact of life. Obviously my hopes, wishes and prayers are for you both to finish within the timeframe, but not at the expense of the ability to hike in the future. Other CIWC hikers and I would LOVE to go back and do some sections with you later, if mending one’s body is an issue. Know that you have all our good thoughts for the best, whatever!

  6. Kara permalink
    July 28, 2011

    I think I remember Liz saying before you guys left that if you couldn’t finish the trail, you were going to head to a warm beach for your long vacation. Maybe you guys should retreat to a nice beach for the remainder of your time off so you can live to fight (hike) another day. Soak your sore tired bodies in the cool salt water, lay in the warm sand, get a massage, and order fruity drinks served with tiny umbrellas. Maine and Vermont aren’t going anywhere. They will still be there this fall and next spring. :)

    • Elizabeth permalink*
      July 28, 2011

      Ahhhhhh . . . that does sound amazing right now. In fact, I think we will need a vacation after we get back from this one. :) Although, since I am forced to take a rest day today due to my knee thing, I might try to get a massage in. It seems this podunk town has a massage therapist and a gas station/diner/general store/ ice cream shop. We’re really painting the town red today!

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