Setbacks

It happened.

Frankly, it was bound to happen. Last weekend while doing a training hike, I twisted my ankle.

Cairn along the way. (c) Phil LaBelle, 2017

I had been making good time, getting my legs under me on a longish trail up Mt. Monadnock in Southern New Hampshire.  A couple of days before it had rained and rained and rained.  The trail still glistened in spots, especially on the steeper inclines when it clearly had been the designated run off route for the water.

I took my time there, of course.  I’m no fool.

But on the trail just beyond it, about two miles in on a nine mile hike, my right foot slid on a rock as I descended in a small area.  At the same time, my left foot got jammed, hyperextending my toes back toward the front of my shin, and putting a significant amount of pressure on my ankle.  I yelped.

I sat down and took off my boot for a few minutes to wait and see if the ankle would swell up.  It didn’t really, but I was sore.

So I decided to push on.

I wish I could have been a bit smarter, of course.  Swallowed a couple of Vitamin I (ibuprofen) and turned back to my car.  But it was first long hike in a while and I wanted to see if I could make it.  The summit was still almost three miles further with a number of up and downs along the trail—hiking the crests of smaller hills leading up to the bare rock peak.  And then the return trip.

I made it. It took a long time, but I got to the top.  And then as fate would have it I twisted my now weakened ankle again on the way down.  It was a long day.

So this past week I’ve been off my training for the summer.  I’ve been taking pain meds throughout the week and biding my time for when I can return to workouts and hill climbs and hiking again.

A friend quietly reminded me this week that I am focusing on wilderness spirituality for my sabbatical. It won’t be all perfect. The trail will get rough, just like life does at times. I probably should have been smarter and turned back right then (and, yes, I will next time, but thanks for asking).

But I will say the view from the top was truly delightful. And even when the path we take gets hard, there is beauty to be admired along the way.