Not every day on the trail will be the best day. When you backpack, you learn quickly to adapt and take the good with the bad. There are daily life lessons to be learned from this wild and wonderful, brutal and beautiful thing of ours.
Injuries, for me at least, have been a plague since I first set foot in the forest. For some reason, roots have decided to become my arch nemesis. Swollen ankles the size of a softball haven’t been uncommon, despite my best attempts to watch the placement of each foot with the attentiveness of a vulture.
Backpacking is fun, remember!? Yeah, not always. Sometimes it’ll grab you by your brand new Speedcross 4s and slam you back to reality. By the way, I returned those shoes to REI immediately after this and blamed them for the whole ordeal. My reason on the return tag reads something along the lines of “Rolled my ankle the first time I wore them, no thanks!” or something like that. No regrets, don’t judge me!
Unfortunately, I would get a dose of reality when my Merrells left my other ankle in the same predicament. I felt like those old commercials, exclaiming it must be the shoes! No, it’s not. I’m just a clumsy idiot sometimes and my excuses are just that. I wrote previously about being injury-prone. Look at me, making progress. When I grow up, I want to be completely honest with myself, but I still blamed my significant other for my last slip in the mud, so I’m not there yet.
What I have learned is that I’m not the only one out there taking tumbles on the trail. This is just part of the game sometimes. Some of us receive it in the form of injured shins (Darwin) and some of us are dealt the ultimate uppercut via crapping our pants. Hey, don’t shoot that look of disgust at me, I’m not the one who said this makes you a real thru-hiker, I’m just the messenger. Send your complaints to Dixie’s soiled shorts!
The ideal scenario is sauntering off in the sunset with minimal wounds to patch or bandage at the end of a fulfilling and fun-filled day. This, unfortunately, won’t always be in the cards you’re holding. Sometimes, what you need is a set of four and a run of four, but it ends up looking more like six of the same color.