How to Hike with a Cracked Clavicle

April 25, 2017

Hiking while healing a broken bone is no joke.  It takes a great deal of energy to hike in the Appalachian Mountains, and it takes a great deal of energy to heal a bone.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting to hike with a cracked collarbone:

  • First, spend two weeks recuperating in a quiet place.
  • Second, find a hiking companion who will carry your food and community gear.  The term, ‘sherpa’, may or may not come up in the process.  If you are lucky, the hiking companion is a much-loved husband (Jay) or wife or sister or brother or friend.
  • Third, find an engineer to fix your pack with only one shoulder strap, preferably across your good shoulder.  Jay took the straps on my ArcHaul Zpack and rigged a y-shaped harness holding my pack onto my back.
  • Fourth, wear a really good sling.  I’m very grateful to my doctor for insisting upon an excellent sling for my arm.
  • Fifth, listen to your body.  The third week of healing, and simultaneously, the first week back hiking the AT, we only walked about eight miles a day.  I knew it was time to stop when the fire and brimstone would start glowing inside my broken bone, usually sometime during the last mile of each day.
  • Sixth, walk slowly, stopping often to admire the scenery.  Walk slowly, stopping often to talk to your sherpa, umm, I mean loved hiking companion.  Walk slowly, stopping often to just sit and rest.  Walk slowly.
  • Finally, try not to gag when people on the trail say, “Oh, you’re so brave to be still out here hiking!”  I am not brave.  Bravery and courage happen when one takes action even though the action scares one silly.  Although there are scary situations on the AT, especially regarding weather, I do not see hiking with a half-healed clavicle as scary.  Perhaps I just have an astonishing lack of imagination.  So what adjectives describe hiking while healing?  Persistent – possibly.  Pig-headed – probably.  Set upon one course – certainly.  Obstinate – obviously.  But the adjective I like best was given by a local man walking his dog today.  “You are one determined woman!”  Yes, determined – definitely!

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P.S.  At all times, maintain a sense of humor!

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Houdini and Cashew make an arch of trekking poles as I process down the trail!

Author: Sarah and Jay Bigelow

Hi! We live in the Carson Valley in Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Sarah is a retired elementary school teacher, and Jay is a retired fish biologist. We are in our 50's, and have been married for 30 years.

2 thoughts on “How to Hike with a Cracked Clavicle”

  1. You guys look great! I really hope you are not overdoing it Sarah!
    Do you have a date set for coming back to Gardnerville?

    Like

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