23 June 2015
My last day on the trail. Today was excruciating—my knees and feet and shoulders are in pain—and I'm feeling fatigued and I had chills all day and I'm worried about Lyme even though I haven't found a bulls-eye rash or a deer tick on me since Connecticut. I'm at the shelter tonight with two flippers, two Gamers, and the first south-bounder I've met, Trek. Figures we'd meet on the last day—like me, he's a former thru-hiker out for not the whole trail but a section. But he's going all the way to Springer, starting somewhere in New Hampshire. A much longer section than mine, almost over.
It's a good group. Crocrocket, a Gamer, packed in some beers and I made a hooked up chili ramen with tuna, using up as much of my leftover food as possible.
The Lyme thing is really weird. Maybe it's just groupthink, or paranoia, since everyone's worried about it, but I really did feel especially fatigued today. But that's the joke about it, that all the symptoms mimic trail exhaustion. I still feel so tired that I feel like I could fall asleep right now as I am writing.
I'm unsure if I should get tested when I get back to Marion or if I should have my knees checked out—they're really scaring me with the level of pain I'm feeling. It's tough to feel motivated when I don't feel like I ever had my shoulder pain treated seriously three years ago and I never ended up with an MRI. I have a hard time convincing people of the legitimacy of my repetitive stress injuries, although I don't know if it's not to be expected after 3000 trail miles. That's not bragging, or an excuse; just acknowledging that I spent a significant chunk of my twenties walking, and my joints are beginning to show the signs of it.
Or maybe it's Lyme.
It scares me, though, especially when I've been falling in love again so thoroughly with hiking, and convincing myself I could do the Long Trail later this summer, or head north to hike the Hundred-Mile Wilderness with the north-bounders I've met. But it's my last night camping, my last night in a shelter, my last night with my knees propped on my rolled-up tent. The last night with hiker stink, the last night outdoors. Tomorrow I'll be back inside—that's if I can flag down a bus to New York City on the side of the road.