1mi N of Water Box(78.7)-Lordsburg, NM(85.3)
Today’s Mileage: 6.6mi
My goal was to get into Lordsburg today by 9am, so I started hiking just before 7am. Today is what hikers call a “nero” day. That means a near zero hiking mileage day. I had 6.6mi to go to get into town. Here is what the hike into Lordsburg looked like. If you squint, you can see the small town just to the right of the hill. The plan for a nero is to get all the town stuff done, spend the night in a hotel, and then head out tomorrow morning for the next leg.
A nero sounds relaxing, but it isn’t. I wish I had gotten here even earlier to get everything done. The day flies by and there is a lot to do in town…Showering, laundry, recharging devices, updating the blog, emailing, EATING, Skyping with my little nephew, etc. Us four girls are in a room and we have two other hikers in town with us. Strider, who was with us all last leg and Mark who has been a day ahead of us. Mark also did the PCT in 2011 when I did, but we never met. He said his parents are big fans of mine, so I want to say a special hello to Nancy and Bob! We are all hiking out tomorrow at some point so may be overlapping this next leg. We ate dinner together tonight at the restaurant next to the hotel. While we were there, we also got to meet a couple starting the CDT tomorrow with their dog, so that was also fun!
So I think now is as good a time as any to elaborate on how I’m doing so far. Mentally, I’m great…okay, those of you who know me better can stop laughing. Physically, I’m still adjusting which is very normal. I am eating well and I think the heat is understandably affecting my hunger, but that is temporary. Good news is that I have felt very strong this leg and yesterday I started to feel my hiker legs set in…those legs that feel like they can go on forever. I even have stretches I feel like I could run. Now for the not so good news…I have my heat rash (which we all have) and it is in its “nice large welts” phase on my feet. Super annoying, but this happens regularly and needs a couple weeks to work through. I made the mistake of choosing 50spf chapstick and it didn’t have moisturizer apparently, so I have very dry and cracked lips that are painful. I got the right chapstick in town so it will slowly improve.
Now for the bad news…I already have ankle issues. Those of you who know me know I had major surgery on my “bad ankle” about six years ago. It acted up on the PCT and rolled a lot, but it was just a matter of tolerating the pain. Well, a month ago, during a training hike, I rolled the “good ankle” pretty bad. It did not get enough time to fully heal and this first leg with lots of rocky uneven trail has made it worse. I was trying to hold out on the brace because I wanted my feet to harden before adding the brace. The ankle is like jello and rolls repeatedly. I fortunately have the hiking poles to catch me. The concern is that it’s swelling a lot (thankfully not bruising!). I am super annoyed that this is already happening, but I can hike through it and have two levels of brace for it. One that laces up and one that is a slip on. I will now use a brace daily. I just want to be honest that I’m not 100%. It has helped me mentally to name the ankle…it used to be my “good ankle” and will now be known as “fat ankle.” I just love this name and it makes me laugh because it makes me think of Fat Amy from the movie Pitch Perfect. I’ve been wearing the brace in town and icing and it feels okay. Nothing to prevent me from hiking. It is only two and a half days to Silver City where we will take a zero, so it will get more time to rest. We purposely planned to take these first weeks slower, so I’m going to try not to overdo it. I’m really annoyed by this, but it’s tolerable…just really frustrating!
I’m off to ice the ankle and watch an episode of Survivor! I’m a couple weeks behind so no spoilers!