Days 129 & 130 – Shingles, Snow & A Sizeable Snafu

When it rains, it pours. – Morton Salt


About six days ago I started having trouble sleeping because my side hurt. I thought I had pulled a muscle, or dislodged a rib. Right under my shoulder blade I was having a ton of pain that would keep me up, or wake me up at night. It was sore during the day too, but it didn’t seem to bother me as much when I was walking. Yesterday I broke out in a rash and realized I had shingles. The fun on the Appalachian Trail never stops!

If you have never had shingles I can only describe the pain as if someone had used you as a punching bag. You are simply uncomfortable and hurt. The strange thing is I feel much better when I’m hiking. I think there is so much more to worry about  – the rocks, going uphill, freezing your butt off, that you don’t worry about the shingles.

Shingles are a virus and they just have to run their course. So I’m going to let them and keep on walking. With that as the plan Hugh dropped me off and I hiked up a mountain only do find… Snow!


Granted it wasn’t a lot of snow, but the weather was 32° and it was cold. Immediately my feet got wet, and stayed wet for the entire day.


It was so cold on top of the mountain that I wore my puffy coat hiking all day long.


The snow had clung to the leaves and the branches of all the trees which made it very interesting when the sun came out and started melting the snow. Clumps of ice fell from the trees and of course they had to land on my head. I felt like someone was out there tossing ice cubes at me.


The snow also made it difficult at times to see the Blazes. Twice today I had to backtrack to pick up the trail when I had gone the wrong way.


Today’s hike was across a mountain ridge. As soon as I started down the snow went away and it became a beautiful day. Unfortunately that was only the last 45 minutes of my hike.


Hugh picked me up at our designated spot and we drove to the Ford dealership to find out what was going on with the RV.

We pulled in and learned that we needed a new engine. This last week of the trail has been full of surprises. Many of them bad.

The Ford dealership has ordered a new engine and it should be here Thursday morning. It will take two days for them to put the new engine into the RV. So we are without a home until Friday evening. That is if everything goes perfectly. It might be the next Monday.

So we will continue to stay in motels and use the rental car to take me back-and-forth to the trail. It looks like both the mechanic and I will be done on Friday if everything goes according to plan.

I keep thinking of the saying… Men plan, God laughs.

5 thoughts on “Days 129 & 130 – Shingles, Snow & A Sizeable Snafu

  1. I am so sorry for all of your troubles! I think you guys have experienced a little of everything on this journey. I hope your shingles get better, soon. Pictures are beautiful! Thanks for sharing. I will be praying for a safe finish and no more “hiccups.”

  2. I was wondering if finishing the trail was going to be anticlimatic for you after summiting Katahdin. However it appears you have found a way ( in an unfortunate way) to make it memorable.

    I can only begin to imagine the discomfort you are feeling from the shingles. I know they are extremely painful. We may have to get the vaccine in the future. It is recommended when we turn 60. Only a few more years to go.

    Sorry to hear the RV broke down. These things never seem to happen when you are close to home. Hope the place your staying at least has decent wi-fi. You at least have unlimited hot water and should be warm at night. Is Hugh limited on what he can do since he cannot leave the dogs alone in the room?

    Then the snow. I bet your feet were frozen blocks. Hopefully your shoes will dry out over night.

    Take care my friend. You have hit some bumps in the road but you will get over them. In a week you will be back home and can rest and recuperate.

  3. What a dramatic and unfortunate turn of events! You didn’t want the hike to end in a “let down” and now there is no way that will happen. Wherever you finish, it will be a grand accomplishment; an overcoming of all the forces against you. Your story would definitely make a good book.

    The aerobic exercise that you get while hiking generates endorphins, which are natural painkillers for the brain. That is why you feel less pain while hiking.

    I’m cheering for you. Best wishes for a safe and speedy completion.

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