Since I went off trail due to my knee injury I have seen an Orthopedic Doctor, had X-Rays and MRI’s and discussed the results.
First some background: Roughly a month ago I was crossing a creek called “East Bear Trap Creek” while backpacking the PCT. It was not a large creek, and had rocks for hopping across without getting wet; Something I’ve done literally hundreds of times before.
But I was careless, stepped wrong and went down. Hard. My left knee took the biggest hit on a rock as I went down on the front of it. Got a good goose egg on my forehead as well.
After picking myself up (With help from friends) I realized I could still walk pretty well. Thinking I was just mostly bruised, I kept going. Have to finish the trail, right?
After a few days it became clear the knee was getting worse, but I wanted to see if it was something I could “Live with”.
We were doing 15-17 miles a day and after 60+ miles reached Burney State Park. By this time I was popping Ibuprofen every few hours and it hurt to walk without the pack. So I took a cab to the town of Burney and purchased a knee wrap. It felt wonderful! That and after the Zero day I was walking pretty well with no pain.
Gee, I thought, it’s only 90 miles to the next town. Maybe I can do this!
Yes, dear readers: Denial is not just a river in Africa. After the second day it was clear the knee was still in a lot of pain. But, we have a rule: Never go backwards! (It’s silly, but there ya go)
I finally limped slowly into Dunsmure and took the Amtrak home.
The results of the MRI showed I have a stress fracture along the top of the Tibia. I also have a torn meniscus on the inside of the knee.
So I hiked 150 miles on a broken leg. The doctor had a few choice words to say to that I won’t repeat here…
It will take 6 weeks for the bone to heal enough before I can have surgery to repair the torn meniscus. Then it’s weeks after that for therapy. And I have to somehow stay off of it during this time!
Aaaargh! There goes my summer! Basically, I will NOT be back on trail for 2-3 months. So my dream of finishing the PCT this year is likely over…
But I also realize that I was lucky. The knee is repairable and I WILL be able to hike again! So for that I am grateful that my poor choices didn’t cause me more harm.
I will update the blog infrequently as healing progresses. Meanwhile, my friend Turtle has made it to Etna and already move on. My prayers are with him. Go Turtle!