Trail Miles: 277.7–298.5
We woke up in a real bed and quickly got ready to go as we had packed everything up the night before. We were excited as we were going to be hitting bigger miles this week. We had 17 miles ahead of us for the day and we were ready. We enjoyed a meal of sausage, scrambled eggs, pancakes, coffee, and orange juice. The trail angel, Elise, drove us out to the trailhead where we hiked 2 miles up to the PCT.
The hike was beautiful and we got some nice views of Big Bear Lake. A couple of miles in Monica’s ankles started to bother her. They’ve bothered her off and on for a while, but we’d passed it off as soreness since our legs and feet are almost always sore throughout the day. This time was different though, and we still had a good number of miles to go. Monica popped 4 ibuprofen and we kept going. When the ibuprofen didn’t help we knew we would need to do something. With rest breaks, which helped her ankles, we made it to our campsite by a creek. It was a nice creek with a lot of water. It’s always nice to camp beside a water source as you don’t have to worry about water and conserving it for the hike the next day.
Eating dinner we had a good talk about Monica’s ankles. We couldn’t keep hiking with them the way they were. It was decided that we needed to take at least a week off for rest and recovery. After that we’d reassess how things were and figure out what to do. Since I didn’t have cell service I used my GPS, which has texting, to contact the trail angels we had stayed with. When we left they told us to let them know if there was anything they could do to help us along the way. They were kind enough to offer to pick us up and they said we could stay at their place while we recovered.
We woke up to the gentle sound of the flowing creek. Packing up camp we set out on the 6 miles to the trailhead where we would put out. Monica’s ankles started hurting early on in the hike and we knew we had made the right decision to take a week off. Nearing the trailhead we saw our first rattlesnake of the PCT. He was sunning himself right next to the trail with his head almost on the trail itself. He didn’t rattle, but just laid there. Since he was so close to the trail we weren’t sure what to do, but without him rattling it seemed like we could pass. We walked by on the opposite side of the 2 foot wide trail and thankfully he didn’t do anything.
Shortly after the encounter we arrived at the Splinters Cabin trailhead. Two forest rangers met us to drive us out the backroad to where Layne and Elise were waiting. The back roads to the trailhead where pretty off-road, and their car couldn’t have made it. The rangers were very nice and were glad we didn’t have anything worse than some ankle pain.
Back with Layne and Elise, we headed to their house in Big Bear City, CA where we’ve been resting up ever since.
We were able to get in with a local doctor who ordered some x-rays for Monica and assessed her injury. There is no stress fracture and it seems to be a case of ankle tendonitis. The doctor prescribed a week off, icing the ankle, and taking ibuprofen to help the inflammation.
We’re not sure what caused the tendonitis, but our one guess is switching to her new shoes about 150 miles back. Most shoes have a higher heel than the toes, but her new shoes are zero-drop which means that the heel is the same level as the toes. We got her some inserts that will raise the heel above the toes. We also picked up an ankle brace for each ankle which seem to be helping as well.
Yesterday and today she hasn’t had any pain in her ankles which is a very good sign. On Thursday, May 31st, we have a follow up with the doctor in the morning. If everything goes well we are planning on doing a 10 mile section of the PCT that afternoon. If that goes well, we’re planning on heading out on Friday.
It’s been hard since all we can do is wait and we don’t know what the outcome will be. Are we off the trail? Do I keep going and Monica takes a month off? Do we flip up and start going south from the Canadian border in mid July? For now we’re in a holding pattern. We’re learning patience and reliance on the perfect plan of God. In the interim we’ve been helping the trail angels out with cooking, cleaning, and hiker taxiing. It’s better than sitting around, but we’re itching to get out hiking again.