AT - Day 85

Cool 40-degree conditions greeted us, but did not dampen the warm company. Toby reminded me of Romans 8:31. After a brief stop at Roaring Fork Shelter, I was on my own again, crossing Max Patch with clouds scraping across the bald mountaintop. It was a mystical event, reminiscent of Saddleback Mountain in Maine, warning me to be humble. As I descended Snowbird Mountain, identical twins Hel and Emmadog came striding athletically uphill. Hel advised me, “Be nice to yourself. Take a day off.” Continuing on the long downhill, I found that I could eliminate the knee complaint by trotting. The trail led across Pigeon River and Route I-40, then over a big bump to Davenport Gap. I ate a big dinner at Mountain Momma’s. Nobo section hikers Woodbadge and Ovenbird shared the honeymoon cabin with me and supplied tips about the trail ahead. My maildrop had shoe replacements.

Taking Hel’s advice, I looked for opportunities to take half-days off the trail. I called them “Be nice to yourself” days in her honor. The twins completed the AT in two section hikes, according to the grapevine.
My knee complaint pretty well went away after today, but I continued taking the medication, since it had been prescribed for up to a month. I did not realize it was ten times the normal dose of ibuprophen.
Ironically, the knee injury taught me how to run on smooth sections of trail, with an ankle trotting motion, like skipping rope. This trail running subsequently helped me gain time on long downhills, and incidentally caused lingering soreness in muscles immediately above the knees.