Life has shown me that tomorrow is not a guarentee for any of us. It’s made me a believer in not putting off dreams because we don’t know that someday will ever come. I firmly repeat this almost as a mantra and yet I did just that.
In 2015, I saw the movie “Wild” and felt an overwhelming draw to the idea of hiking a long distance trail. I was an avid walker at the Riverfront and participated in 5K and 10K Volksmarch events around Indiana and Kentucky but I had not actually hiked. A few weeks after seeing “Wild”, I crossed paths with a hiker on my daily walk. We walked together for about 5 minutes and she told me she was hiking a cross country trail that started in Delaware. I Googled it when I got home and was introduced to the American Discovery Trail for the first time. I was amazed to find that it went all through my hometown and I had lived, walked and been connected to it most of my life yet never heard of it. In that moment, I felt a desire to hike this trail that still hasn’t left me.
I decided to do on the job training and start hiking this trail that was in my own backyard. The journey is published on Trailjournals.com for anyone with an interest. To sum up, I hiked over 100 miles in Indiana and flew to the beginning of the trail, to hike across Delaware. It is one of my happiest times I can remember. When cold weather came, I laid off with plans to start back up in early spring but I didn’t find my way back on the trail. It was too cold, I was too out of shape, I didn’t have a hiking partner, I was too busy, it was too hot…….
So in 2018, when I decided to move out of my house and into my van Getting back on the trail was a major part of that plan. While I was making plans to renovate my van into a home, the universe was conspiring to throw a monkey wrench in my plans. I found my van in April and put a deposit on it just before leaving on a vacation cruise. While on the ship, I began having pain and swelling in my knee that occasionally flared up. This time it just wouldn’t get better. When I got back home, I was so excited to work on my van and get my house cleared out that I just pushed through with Aleve and ice packs.
Finally, I decided to address the knee pain in July so I could get it fixed before embarking on my new life on the road. An x-ray was all it took for the doctor to see that I had no cartlidge left and was bone on bone. He told me that the only way to fix it is a knee replacement. I was shocked at this diagnosis. I was finally getting ready to go live my dream of hiking, camping and to get back on the trail that won’t quit calling to me. I was a month away from setting off on my journey.
I still ventured out and I have seen some beautiful parks along the way. Parks that are filled with trails that I can’t hike. I tried to just “walk it off” in spite of the doctor’s advise to stop hiking. The result was increased pain and swelling that made everyday life miserable. I have finally, accepted that I can’t just pretend it’s okay so I rented an apartment with no stairs to be home base for now. Today, I will see another Orthopeadic Surgeon for a second opinion and a treatment plan. Maybe if I hadn’t laid off when I did and had kept in better shape, hadn’t gained some weight……… I put off my dream and forgot the rule of life that I know better than to break.
I still plan to travel the American Discovery Trail in 2019. I will drive the bike route in my van and hopefully bike the trail in sections. I may have put off my dream but I haven’t given it up. Oh and my apartment, that my son found for me, it is the second house off the trail as it come out of Newburgh IN.