Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No Christmas Day HIke For Us

It’s Christmas Day and we’re not hiking. I thought we would, even planned to, got dressed, grabbed my backpack and snowshoes and my dog and went out the door, even drove half way to Waumbek…but then suddenly I decided to turn around.

A few weeks ago I hurt my knee. It’s doing much better than it had been and I’m not really worried about the long range ramifications so long as I take care of it. And that’s what I decided to do today. If it hurts on the way to the trailhead in the ride over then it’s going to hurt on the trail. In a battle between my brain and ego my brain won out. It was a smart decision, just not an easy one to make. It’s the first few days of winter and my tendency is to want to get them all done right now. That’s not going to happen so I may as well be smart about it.

Atticus and I (more me than he) are still finding our hiking legs after being off for the past month so I don’t have a problem with this for the first week of winter. We’ll hike tomorrow. The Tripyramids or Moosilauke (if the above treeline weather allows) are our intended destination and then on Thursday and Friday Jeff Veino will be staying with us to hike. That will give us three straight days of hiking. Adding today would have been four and I’m not sure that’s what the best medicine for this little ding.

As for the knee, it’s soft tissue outside of the knee, not in the joint line itself so I’m not worried about a torn meniscus or the lateral collateral ligament. It’s has more to do with the insertion of the hamstring muscles around the joint line between the tib-fib joint or the I-T band. Either way, it’s just a nick but a nick I felt last night on the descent on Tecumseh.

This afternoon I’ll spend some time giving it a friction rub, use a tool to deep scrape the area, and then take some Advil. I’ll take a lot of time to stretch out my calves and hamstrings. After that I’ll get on the balance ball, and deep work the fascia on the bottom of my feet. I may as well be productive so that I feel better when we hike the rest of the week.

Last night’s great experiment with taking photos at night on the trail didn’t work out that great. My photography skills are not that advanced. I wanted to give some folks back in Newburyport a feel for what it is like to hike at night on the trail. The photos are either too dark or too bright (due to the flash). Nevertheless there is one at the top of this post.

I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a joyous one, and if you don't, here’s wishing you the best, too!

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