Day 6: I Guess I’m Not a Thru-Hiker

20 March 2022
AZT Mile 92.8 to 104.9
(12.1 miles).

Oh boy. I did it again.

I quit!

The day started out with some beautiful scenery. But I knew I was in trouble when an easy climb out of our wash was giving my right knee fits.

Sunrise over our wash
First light on the hills
Desert chicory
Mountain range to the east

Normally after about an hour in the morning, the pain in my knee has been subsiding. But not today!

After 6 miles at the lake where we got our first water for the day, I downed 3 more ibuprofen and stretched extensively.

But to no avail. It was actually worse after all that.

Twin Tanks
Engelmann’s Prickly Pear

Butterfingers gradually got further ahead of me and I had time to think about the hike while I hobbled.

I don’t think I want to use my limited physical capacity to walk between beautiful places. The motto of my site is “put yourself in the way of beauty” and I don’t mind working hard and even suffering a little to experience awe.

But this is too much suffering and too little awe.

Don’t get me wrong. Cattle ranches can be beautiful, and I like the feeling of resilience I get when I survive inconveniences like drinking water from a poop-filled pond.

But compare that with an effortful climb up to a snowy mountain pass in the High Sierra, and the pluses and minuses just don’t add up for me.

I called Half Cookie and we talked for a while. And then I decided to come home.

It was another painful 6 miles to walk out. But the flowers were out down here and I took advantage of these final steps to rest my knee and enjoy them.

Narrowleaf goldenbush
Hairyseed bahia
Moapa bladderpod
Desert globemallow
Parry’s beardtongue
Narrow-leaved crypantha
Fishhook barrel cactus
Hairy five-eyes
Some kind of flax
Lyreleaf jewelflower
Pink fairy-duster
Thank you flowers

And fortunately I was able to catch Butterfingers where he stopped for lunch. We rested for a while and then he walked with me the last mile to the trailhead. We said “see you down the trail” and he walked on as I sat and waited for my Uber.

Now I am in my hotel icing my knee.


Tomorrow I’ll be home, planning my next (non-thru-hike) adventure.

Not a Thru-Hiker
I didn’t finish
My imaginary line
Guess I never will

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Susie Flores says:

    Such a bummer. But maybe you are a day hiker. 😬

    Liked by 1 person

  2. zozozoom says:

    You’ve accomplished many things; attempted many more; and admired for all. Proud Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doubledad says:

    Been there. Suffered that. Survivef

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Slink says:

    Sorry to hear this, but I totally understand. Hey, most people don’t even try!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Flower power or scoopy says:

    You didn’t quit, you just shortened your hike. Quitting is when you give up your hiking dreams and sell your gear. Your photos are wonderful and your blog is always fun to read. Keep your dreams alive

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      That’s wonderful! Thanks so much flower power!


  6. Goose says:

    JimmyJam, this is a minor setback that cut your AZT hike short. You are made for hiking and excel at all aspects of thru hiking when you are not fighting an injury. There are a lot more trails and beautiful places to see and I am confident that you will experience many of them! Heal up and get back out there!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      Thanks so much goose!


  7. Samuel Wilson says:

    Well, welcome to the vast majority of us who are non thru hikers for various reasons such as: pain, limited time, family and business obligations, income limitations, etc, etc….you are in good miserable company now. you might as well make the best of it – HAAAAaaaaa!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 100peaks says:

    Hope you heal and are able to get back out in a way that works out for you. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. JimmyJam says:

      Thanks Derek!


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