Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The First Temptation of L Dawg

I had spent two days and three nights in camp, more or less babying my knee. When I got up the third morning, it was feeling noticeably better. The sharp pain was gone. It was time to leave camp and get to Franklin, NC.

Ron Havens is a respected friend of the trail who operates three motels catering to hikers. He picks up folks at several nearby gaps, one of which was only eight miles away.

Relatively easy miles with the exception of Albert Mountain. Not the highest, not the longest ascent, but the first to be steep enough to require using hands to climb over rocks.

Several hikers pointed out that there is a blue-blazed trail that circumvents the mountain...
"Blue Blazing" is controversial in the thru hiking world. Taking one to avoid a climb is frowned upon unless there is an emergency, or dangerous weather. The ATC makes that a condition for taking credit for a thru-hike and earning a 2000 Miler Certificate. One would hope that no one would begrudge a guy with a knee injury a blue blaze...

But they would.

The perception among some of the old guard is that the new generation of hikers have no respect for the traditions. That they take blue blazes, skip sections, and claim to be a thru hiker.

Kids today doncha know.

So all these reminders that, you know, it would be ok to take a blue blaze amounted to my first temptation. I told people that I would see how I was feeling when I got to the trail, but there was never any doubt in my mind that I was going to summit Albert, that I was going to heal this tendon, and that I was ultimately going to summit Katahdin.

And that's what I did.