Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Accident on the Appalachian Trail

Tuesday August 23, 2016                                                    Most Recent Posts:
Winhall Brook Campground                                                 
No Idea Where We’re Headed – Two Hikes in Vermont
South Londonderry, Vermont                                               Grandma Miller’s and the Answer – South Londonderry VT



This will be my 4th state for hiking the Appalachian Trail.  I don’t get a very early start and when I arrive, there are a lot of cars in the parking lot of this AT crossing of Route 11.  This seems surprising until I investigate and find out that this is the trail head for the Vermont Bromley Trail which shares the AT or vice versa going north for 6 miles round trip.



I also learn that the AT and the Vermont Long Trail are the same trail for 100 miles through Southern Vermont.  The Long Trail runs the length of Vermont and is the oldest long distance trail in the country constructed from 1910 to 1930.  You can see the AT/LT coming in on this map from the bottom left and going out on the top right.    But this is not the trail I’m going to hike.  I hope to have fewer folks on the trail by crossing over Route 11 and heading south.  I’m going off the map on that little piece of AT/LT at the bottom left of the map.


Right now no one else from the parking area is going this way although I do get passed by a few south bound back packers during the day.  I have no plans for how far I’ll go.  For sure to Spruce Peak and likely beyond though with a late start it won’t be as far as I usually like.









I’ve read many books on through hikes of the AT by the through hikers and they all talk about the difficulty of rocky Pennsylvania and Vermont.  This section starts out very nice and up hill.


But very shortly it becomes narrow, over grown, rocky and wet.


There are some obstacles in the way as well.


The trail has some rocky stream crossings and a few nice bridges.




I have always found the tree roots on trails to be more difficult for me than the rocks.






The trail is quite varied.






About a mile into the hike, I’m going along at an easy pace when the toe of my boot gets hooked on something. As I try to take my next step, my foot won’t come along and I am thrown off the trail face first.  Other than breaking my ankle, this is the worst fall I’ve ever had on a trail and it actually stuns me and knocks some of my breath away.  I fall hard.

I take this picture right after I roll over and get myself to a sitting postion.  I determine that thankfully this is not my 3rd ankle break in 15 years.  I take the picture to remember where in the hike this happened and to make sure my amazing Canon which was over my shoulder on the arm that hit the ground was not broken.

After a few minutes to get my act together, I stand up, try out both feet and walk slowly on.  My nose hurts so I take a picture to see in the LCD screen what I’ve done.  Other than scraped hands and shins, I seem amazingly to be OK considering what a hard fall it was.  I feel like I’d been thrown on the ground by a giant with some pretty serious strength.

When I look at the picture on the screen, it looks like I’m going to have a swollen and perhaps bruised bridge of my nose.  


I guess it was a root like these, which are all over the trail, that tripped me up.  I’m now paying astute attention to both the roots and the rocks as I hike on.





At points the trail seems very overgrown.  If it wasn’t the AT, I’d wonder whether I should continue.





To give some perspective to the mushrooms on the trail, this one probably would not be noticed if its color didn’t stick out so dramatically.





This one is trying to blend into the base of the tree with its colors but its size is hard to miss.  This has become part of this good sized tree.


I took a picture of my hand on this giant platter sized mushroom for perspective.  The mushroom dwarfed my hand but the picture didn’t turn out as well as this one so you’ll have to try to imagine me holding on to the left outer edge of the mustroom.


I reach the Spruce Peak cut off and head over to see whether I can climb up to it.


Sure enough.  It’s the perfect place for a snack.



Beautiful view of the Green Mountains.




The path up and down is steep, twisting rocky and hard to follow. Doesn’t look like it gets used much.  I think through hikers aren’t looking for anything more difficult than the AT itself and this one is a ‘climb with your hands’ hike at points.

Coming back down is even more difficult since I have to try to find the path I took over to the ascent.


Do you see the path out from here?   I didn’t either at first.


But I do manage to get back on the AT where the trail turns into a rock face.  Sure am glad I don’t have a 25 pound or heavier pack on my back.



At this point I’ve gone a little over 3 miles and think it might be best to turn around and head back.  My hip is starting to bother me so there may be more to this fall than I thought.



I always see things on the way back that I didn’t see going in the other direction.


When I’m finished, I’ve gone 7 miles.  Other than my firm encounter with the ground this has been a great day on the trail.  I would for sure do this or any other stretch of the AT again.




 Turns out there is more collateral damage from my fall than just my nose which actually never turns in to these kinds of bruises.  I put an ice pack on it when I get back which may be why. 

But when I go to bed, I find much worse on my right shin, arm and hip.

I’m really surprised at the severity of these bruises particularly at my forearm all the way up to my fingers and just above my elbow. 

The worst one is probably the one on my hip which is literally black and about 4” in diamater.  No photo of that one.  I’m amazed that I don’t have any trouble sitting.

 It may take a while, but they will all heal.  Thankfully the body is another one of the amazing parts of nature.


  1. Does not sound like fun at all, Sherry. I couldn't enjoy the rest of the photos of your hike after the fall. I am glad you liked the hike, but I might avoid it. Hope you healed quickly without being too sore.

  2. Sorry to read about your fall. Glad you were all right and able to continue. It is amazing how hard you fall when you hit the ground flat out. I've done that twice. It does jar your whole body. Finding all the bruises after is a little adventure. Hiking alone is so dangerous unless you were carrying an emergency device!? I am assuming you had cell service or you wouldn't have been alone on the trail...right?

  3. Glad you healed quickly and did not break any bones. I always turn around after a boo boo, as I do not know when it may get worse and make it hard to walk out( back in my more fit days.)

  4. Oh my, bruises only...I'm so glad! Last time I face planted on a trail, I got a bloody nose. You escaped that. Looks like a tricky part of the trail. Pretty though for sure. Lovely woods and a view to observe while you eat.

  5. Sherrie, I have been reading along thinking it's nice you get to hike longer this year and glad you are getting more time to do things. Then I finally notice the date for the hike and it's August. Are you guys okay?

  6. Ouch! I'm sorry to hear that you fell. One of my horses ran into me when she spooked at her gate 3 weeks ago. I have a broken elbow and my right knee is very painful. I scraped two of my fingers (they were bleeding). Fortunately, she stopped right behind me and didn't run over me or I would be DEAD. Phew! It's been over 3 weeks now and I need to go see her and let her know I'm okay. I'm just not as young and quick as I used to be.
    Cheryl Ann

  7. Sorry about your fall, but those things can happen so quickly there is no time to react. Glad nothing was broken but it looks like you must have been pretty sore for awhile with all those bruises. I think Jim has you beat after his bike fall last week, though!

  8. Thank goodness nothing is broken! That's the scariest part of hiking alone...but I still wouldn't give up hiking if alone was the only way to do it! Glad it wasn't any worse than bruises.

  9. So glad to hear you didn't break your ankle again. Bruises will heal, even if they look bad. Happy you enjoyed the hike either way!

  10. Since I know you are OK...I can tell you what came to mind. I just heard the song lyrics, "Like a rubber ball, she comes bouncing back;o))" So sorry, not funny, but glad it was just bruises!!!!

  11. I'm so sorry you took such a fall, but I sure can understand how it happened. About a year ago I suffered a horrible fall (and several lesser ones) on the AT in New York. I hiked 50 miles of the AT in Vermont back when I was "only" 58, and had no problems whatsoever. I probably wouldn't survive it today! The worst part about hiking on a rocky trail with lots of tree roots and things to trip you, is that you have to constantly watch the ground and where you put your feet, instead of all the beauty around you. I think I've just about hung it up as my hiking career goes.

  12. that was a nasty fall Sherry. Hiking alone is not such a good idea. Sure glad you weren't hurt any worse.

  13. Ouch!Falling on a remote section of the trail can be scary. Glad it worked out this time:)

  14. Wow, I'm glad it wasn't more serious than this. When we do deep woods trails for our COE job, we have to go in pairs just in case something like this happens. We've both taken quite a few tumbles as we've hiked, but none as bruising as yours.

  15. Hoping you are on the mend. As I read I kept thinking, no, no, no! So glad it wasn't broken but you deserve to take it easy for a bit and heal. I do know how your heart can hear the call of nature and how hard it is to sit it out and heal. There is plenty of nature all around us.

  16. After seeing those bruises it kinda remind me of my own accident. I sure hope you are okay as it seems you had a big fall as those bruises indicated. I was scared for you since you are by yourself when you had that accident. Im sure there is a lesson learned on this mis adventure. Do take care Sherry.

  17. I surely hope you are healed by now. The problem with rock and root trippers is taking away from looking all around while walking. I'd probably not get far for all the stopping to stare at this beautiful landscape. I do worry about falling when solo hiking but won't let it stop me, yet. Be well.

  18. I'm very glad you were able to take in this new section of the AT and especially glad that your fall was more of a wake-up call than a source of injury. I know you are very careful to avoid injury and I expect you will be even mare careful with this behind you.

  19. So beautiful!! BUT, Dang!! I'm sorry I didn't know to ask how you were when I saw you Sat. Really glad you're okay!! Be careful out there :)

  20. Oh my goodness. I'm so happy you didn't break anything while hiking alone. What would you have done? Something to plan for on future hikes. I've hiked alone before, and I try to be so careful. Usually though, I hike with Bob or Volksmarchers as much as I can.

  21. Oh Sherry, that was quite a fall you took!! I can't believe those bruises. And your poor nose!! You are such a trooper, though. I love that even after that fall you continued hiking and enjoying the beauty around you. There's no way to anticipate accidents like that—I took a bad fall once in Joshua Tree when the tip of my boot caught the edge of a rock. I was so surprised—couldn't believe it had happened. I had a bruise covering my entire calf that looked a lot like yours. So relieved you didn't break your ankle—three times is enough!

  22. Such a lush green forest. It must have been much cooler too as you're more bundled up than in previous posts. Probably a good thing since you decided to really throw yourself into this hike! I can remember getting thrown from my horse and not feeling the shock to my body that a fall from standing gives me now. It might not always be what others would do, but I have found that continuing to move on tells my body I'm just fine and gets the healing started. Your warrior bruises are very impressive - hope they didn't take long to move past painful. You definitely look like a forest fairy sitting between the two rocks :-)))

  23. Glad your fall was only bumps and bruises. I've fallen a few times myself, usually on those big boulders by the streams that I so enjoy. Last time I sat down pretty hard and was thankful I landed well and didn't snap an ankle and fall into the water. To be fair, I trip on my own feet more often just walking around in daily life, at least once a day and most days I don't trip or fall at all while hiking because I'm paying close attention to avoid those accidents!

  24. Ouch! That hurt! Glad it was just bruises. I get terrible bruises and half of the time I don't even know how I got them. I always am most concerned that I'll knock my teeth out!@#@! Generally when I fall, I fall flat on my stomach. Very graceful. Fell flat in a flat parking lot at Lowe's last Christmas when we were getting our tree. I do love the three mushroom picture you took. The light and shadows are just right. How do you do the far away selfies? Set the camera up far away from you? xxxooo Glad you didn't get worse boo boos!


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