SEPTEMBER 2019 – APRIL 2022
We are currently living through a period that in late 2019 was an unimaginable world of change. A world where we in Australia have been asked to subjugate our individual freedom of movement to the greater good of our community.
In a way the arrival of the Covid pandemic in early 2020 continued a pattern of putting our life on a hold since we completed hiking the CDT in early September 2019. The hike itself was a challenge that pushed boundaries and tested our limits. We knew it was going to be hard but the actual hardship we endured on trail challenged us more then we ever anticipated. So in a way it exceeded our expectations.
Receiving news from home when we got off trail put a cloud of uncertainty over our further travel plans. Hammers Mum was not doing too well due to post-heart surgery complications. Family back home were juggling commitments and holding the fort till we returned and could give them a much needed break.
We had rushed to finish hiking the trail in order to have enough time to make it back to San Francisco where we were booked to fly to Berlin in order for me (Corky) to run the Berlin Marathon. Ideally it would have been good to just rest after finishing a gruelling 5 months on the CDT but having a qualifying time for and gaining a successful entry to the Berlin Marathon was an opportunity too good to miss. It sounded a bit greedy when I made the decision to do it. But in hindsight it turned out to have been a fortuitous decision.
For days we had thoughts of just heading back home abandoning our plans – do we go home or do we complete the last part of a long planned adventure? Family back home assured us that cutting our trip short would only exacerbate what was an already difficult situation.
We did go to Berlin and I did run (and walk) the marathon.
On our return home we became full time carers for Hammers Mum. We lived through a summer of the whole country being on fire. And just as the fires were put out and we thought we could relax Covid pandemic hit and added a new layer of restrictions on what was possible. With movement and mixing with friends severely curtailed we made the most of our strange year.
In a way it was a saviour as there was no FOMO, no one was going anywhere. These months through the early days of Covid were traumatic as we had to adjust to a loss of freedom on so many levels, we lost friends to suicide and it was hard just holding it all together. But it was also a lovely time in hindsight as we were privileged to spend quality time with Hammers Mum. We had many moments of joy which still brings a smile to our face. And just as we were getting used to this new rhythm to life, Hammers Mum suffered a fall which put her in hospital where she passed away a couple of weeks later in September 2020.
Most of 2020 I’ve been rehabing niggling knee pain. By December 2020 the pain had settled and I was back running. It was on a trail run in early December 2020 that my knee completely gave way on a steep decent and my fibula crushed into the top of the tibia and I broke my knee. A week before Christmas I had surgery to fix a plate and screws to hold the broken bones together.
Months of non-weightbearing waiting for the bones to heal and slow rehab period followed. From all accounts this injury has a two year time line to getting back to some normality. Recovery has definitely not been linear. Running seemed possible for a brief period after I had the hardware removed from my knee in September 2021, then a period of setbacks where even walking was painful. Ocean swimming has saved me from sinking into a deeper depression. Hammer still runs with our old running club and in March 2021 completed his 12th Six Foot Track ultramarathon.
So with our plans to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2020 derailed by all of the above and international travel still somewhat precarious we are finally ready to pick up the pieces of our travel plans and head off for the next adventure.
A local two month road trip with some hiking to test out my knee. We want to see if the last two and half years can be put behind us and we can move on.
Many thanks for sharing your journey of the past few years. All the best to you as you recuperate and recover full strength again.
Thank you for your kind words David.
So good to see you are “On The Road Again”, safe travels and we so enjoy your photos and blog. Looking forward to more.
Thank you Jenny.
You two have really been through it. I’m sorry to read about Hammer’s mum. No matter how old we are when it happens it is a huge thing. I am hoping your knee behaves during these next activities! Take care! The ocean swimming looks amazing.
It has been a tumultuous couple of years. Hammers Mum had a long, active and healthy life. A great role model for us. We miss her everyday.
My knee is as good as it’s going to get. This trip will be a test, building confidence. Being a road trip, there is always an easy option so hopefully we don’t get too comfortable being comfortable.
What a journey you’ve been on during the past couple of years. I so admire your fortitude (and am so sorry to hear of the loss of Hammer’s mum). Have been following your adventures (and mis-adventure!) on the first PCT hike and was delighted to actually meet Hammer by chance as Carolyn M. and I were looking for a good spot to do “trail angering” that year! Life always brings little surprises, and lately some big, hard ones. Wishing you both the best on your newest endeavors. Hope each new adventure brings much joy to your lives!
Thank you for your kind words Andrea. It has been a tough couple of years for so many people. We are hoping that we can finally start moving on with confidence.
That was meant to be angel not anger. (computers love to “correct our spelling!!!)
Mike I am sorry that I have not been in touch for so long. I have valued my time working with you at Loreto.Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. I do know how you must feel as my mum died years ago at the age of 63 as a result of heart failure. I do hope Steph is slowly gaining use of her lower limbs and will be able to continue her active life. It will be nice to meet up at the Kirribilli Club someday. Take care, best Wishes to you both, Phil
Sent from my iPad
Thank you for your kind words Phil. Your mum passed away so young. That must have been so hard.
Look forward to catching up at the Kirribilli Club when we return.
Geez guys. A rough couple of years and Corky you really don’t do things by half huh. Enjoy your road trip. Clare and I certainly enjoyed our two up the West Coast. Keep us posted
Life aye! We are enjoying following your PCT hike. So jealous.
Trust all is well with you. I have genuinely enjoyed the landscape, the adventure and the people both on and off the trail. I know the next section will be different, hot with long water carries but it is all a test and an adventure. Cheers K
we are planning an AT hike in 2024 I’m so excited have you rescheduled yours?