Day 65 on the Appalachian Trail

Today was though physically and mentally. As soon as I started hiking, both my knees started hurting, even though the trail wasn't even that hard. The pain prompted negative thoughts to enter my mind, such as "If my knees can't handle a flat trail, how are they going to handle the steep descents?" I spent much of the morning agonizing over my knees (and sore right foot). Part of my negative mood arose from my inability to accept the Appalachian Trail as it is - rocks, steep descents, everything.  I know intellectually that belaboring the trail's faults won't change the trail and will make me unhappy, but I did it anyway. I ate an early lunch on a shady log next to a creek and regrouped. I decided to walk slower on descents, especially the rocky ones and to use my hiking poles more effectively to transfer stress from my knees to my arms. It also occurred to me that my sore knees might reflect a fall two days ago when I landed on my knees. If so, they should get better over the next few days. The 1000-foot climb tested my mettle. Lots of rocks in places (see photo) and no water. I reached the William Penn shelter at 4pm and found a flat, shady tent site. Water was only a short walk downhill. After dinner, I realized that my left knee no longer hurt and that my right knee barely hurt. Tomorrow will be a better day. Today's miles -20.7. Total miles -1189.0.

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