I was nice and cozy in my sleeping bag so I lay there reading for a while this morning while I waited for the sun to reach my tent and warm it up a bit. Once that happened, I was soon back on the trail and lazily hiking again.
Just before I reached the Story Spring Shelter for lunch, I was rock hopping next to a pond, and when I went to step on a perfectly dry but slanted rock, my foot slid down it, smashing into another rock, and I landed on my tail bone. The pain of my tail bone quickly faded in comparison to the pain of my foot. I stood there for several minutes, hoping it would lessen, then found I couldn’t put any weight on the front of my foot. I decided to just get to the shelter and rest and limped my way there, visions of a broken toe ending my thru hike in my head.
I made it to the shelter and could feel my foot swelling so I was hesitant to take my sock and shoe off to look at it in case I couldn’t get them back on. I wanted to take a quick look though and even another hiker twenty feet away said she could see the swelling of my big toe. I put everything back on (a little inconvenient to be wearing toe socks right now) and sat with my foot up for over an hour, reading to distract myself.
When I started hobbling around to get water, it didn’t seem quite as bad. I looked in my guide and saw there was a forest service road in 1.6 miles and decided to get there and camp, and if my foot hadn’t gotten any better in the morning, to call Uncle Buck to pick me up and get it checked out. I took some ibuprofen and got moving up the trail, occasionally turning my phone on to see if I had a signal to text him. It was much harder hiking with a pack on and I still couldn’t put any weight on the front of my foot so I was only moving about a mile an hour.
I took a break about halfway there when I found my phone had a signal and let Uncle Buck know my plan and that I might need him in the morning. He was in Bennington, so not too far away. I also came up with a backup plan for my hike in case I was really injured and not just overreacting, and that made me feel much better. I got to the road without incident and found a tiny stealth spot to set up my tent and get in it right away since the mosquitoes were all over the place. Only 6.2 miles today.
I recently got rid of my cards and mandolin and any books I was carrying, and I need to keep my phone mostly off to conserve battery, so I just lay there bored and dozing off and on. Suddenly I heard my name being called from the road. It was Uncle Buck here already and he’d brought me burgers! He took a look at my foot too and said maybe the toe is just jammed. It hadn’t really swollen more after hiking to the road so I’m optimistic. He hung out a while before going back to his car to sleep.
The new plan is I’ll take a zero tomorrow and try to find a clinic to get it checked out. I am paying for health insurance after all so I might as well use it.