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Thread: planning hike

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    the south

    Default planning hike

    I have a physical problem that prevents me from being able to descend steep terrain(ruined knee). I have made 2 attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail in the past 3 years, but had to leave the trail each time due to helalth issues. The last attempt failed due to a bad knee injury that may or may not be remedied by surgery. Without the surgery I can hike on flat, uneven, and hilly terrain with no issues. However, even though I'm able to climb steep ground, I have to "sidestep" down during descents relying heavily on my poles. I am wondering how much of the PCT, nobo, is going to be problematic regarding my knee status. I realize that the steep snow covered areas will have to be skipped, but want to know how much of the trail might be available to me. Is the southern end without many steep climbs? Trying to avoid the surgery as I live alone and recovery may be more difficult for me than others with support systems.
    humor is the gadfly on the corpse of tragedy

  2. #2

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    state of confusion
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    Ive only hiked tahoe to whitney
    But pct is graded for stock mostly, nothing like climbing stairs on AT. Much of it will be knee friendlier

  3. #3


    I have a pair of bad knees too ... Had ACL reconstruction surgery a year ago, and my meniscus trimmed. However my knee problems go back many years. I found that wearing good knee braces with the hinges really help with stability, along with using hiking sticks. However they don't help with the jarring impacts of hiking downhill. For that, I just try to go really slow, and ease myself down with each step. Sometimes I'll sidestep too if need. Of course this is slow going, and I make sure to budget enough time to arrive at my destination without having to rush. For myself, I basically plan on 1mph pace. If I'm faster, great.... And slower isn't a big deal either. I was able to hike the John Muir Trail (which shares 171mi with the PCT) before I had my surgery, but I hated the descents, which were usually several miles of descending at a time. At night sometimes, my knees really hurt, and I used ibuprofen to help with it.

    As already stated, the grades are generally easier than the AT, but they are still hills. Just go slow, carry a light pack, use those sticks, and try it. If you can be reasonably flexible about where you camp, there's no pressure to hike fast, which means there's less stress on your knees.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

  4. #4

    Default planning hike

    Edited erroneous content
    Let me go

  5. #5
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Upper East Side of Texas


    I recently read Walking Thru by Michael Tyler. A Kindle book.
    Michael suffered from an arthritic knee. He wore a brace on his knee from Campo to Canada.
    You can do it! Good luck!

  6. #6


    There are several trails in the Great Lakes area that likely have no extended descents. They might be worth considering.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

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