GDT 2021 thru hike with a baby – the aftermath

It’s been about a week and a half since we got off trail and we are in that weird time between the thru and going back to our regular lives.

So how are things after the thru?

Physical Health

COVID19

This will probably be the last time I bring it up because it wasn’t a defining part of our trip, but we did all get COVID19 in our last section of the GDT.

I’m currently feeling well (with a slight cough that comes and goes but that reportedly will stick around for weeks) and I am no longer required to self isolate.

Natasha is also feeling better but has about half a week left in isolation.

Toothless has been feeling well the past two days and is bouncing around at full energy. He had one rough night, one day of runny nose and two days with a cough. Then he bounced back.

Physical fitness

We also have lost a lot of weight on the thru and are currently still quite thin. In 2018 I lost weight but not this much. I have lost 10 lbs between the start of our hike and a few days ago (even after I got to lay around eating ice cream for almost a week!). I am currently thinner than I have ever been.

Natasha is also much thinner but she started at a lower weight after Toothless was born.

Toothless is the only one of us who put on some pounds! He has grown normally. He was about 17.5 lbs when we left and closer to 20 lbs now. He is also much taller – many of his clothes no longer fit and an oversized snow bunting we had hoped to use this winter is no longer oversized.

His hair is also gotten very long!

Toothless also has six teeth now, with a seventh trying to come in.

Injuries

My ankle injury appears to have recovered. I had no issues with it in the last section and I am hopeful that once we recover from COVID and are all out of isolation and can run again that my ankle might be ready for that kind of activity.

My shins are in rough shape. Lots of marring from brush and sometimes the K tape I was wearing would get torn off and take some skin with it (and bruise my leg!).

My hips are scarred from the carrier pinching my skin against my pack hip belt. Those injuries stopped once I lost some weight.

Our feet are doing great. No blisters. We have all of our toenails.

Mental health

This one’s tough.

For me it’s a double whammy. Both the thru hike and spending so much time with Toothless has been incredibly rewarding. Now I’m no longer hiking it’s a challenge to adjust. I’m also not carrying Toothless so much during the day so although I spend all day with him still (and I’m still on parental leave) it’s not quite the same.

I’m dreading going back to work. I think that’s going to be rough on us all and I would much rather spend the time with Toothless and go hiking. I really love my career but I love Toothless and hiking way, way more.

Toothless seems to do fine inside the apartment and is having a great time exploring the built environment, but when we do go on walks (we are allowed to go for walks while in self isolation) he gets so dang excited. He perks right up, bounces around and gets completely immersed in the outdoors.

Then once we go back inside he seems to become a little unhappy to be taken out of the carrier. I think we need to increase our pace of going outside walking and hiking once we are out of isolation.

Gear / Equipment

Our stove (Snow Peak Litemax) may need replacement. It’s been through two thru hikes on the GDT and many other hikes but some of the metal tabs are bending. I’m not sure if this is from it getting banged up or if they bent during use, but the stove gets a bit wonky now when unfolding.

My pack (ZPacks Arc Haul from 2017) has a number of issues with the frame and some worn our straps and loops that I had already repaired. The frame is split and a clip that is essential to the arc system has broken on trail.

I’ve liked the pack, it’s been through about the same abuse as our stove (two GDT thru hikes, many more hikes) but the failures need proper repair and there are some design flaws with the frame system that I dislike and will continue to cause issues.

Natasha’s shoes held up this time. My shoes needed replacement at Field.

The weather got quite cool so we had to change some gear choices for Section F, but mostly for comfort and not safety. Our clothing worked well enough in Section E with considerable rain and two days of snow. So now we have some extra socks, gloves, baselayer for Toothless, rain boots for Toothless and warm hoodies – that we paid a premium for.

The baby carrier wore through where is rubs against our pack hip belts and eventually wore through where the pack shoulder straps overlap. Some reinforcement with webbing made the carrier last until the end but now I wouldn’t wear this normally.

Otherwise our gear worked at intended. Our biggest issues were from older gear that already has been through a thru hike and years of use. I can accept this. This also means we might need some gear before our next trip, so that will be fun!

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