I'm thrilled to report that after two solid weeks of rest, my knees have started working again.
I promise never ever to take them for granted.
When they first got bad, I couldn't walk even a single step without pain. The worst part was that both knees hurt, meaning there was no way to favor one or the other. It was truly a miserable experience. I'm sure other people have worse pain, but I'm lucky enough to be pain-free most of the time. Now I have a new appreciation for how well my knees and other joints work, under normal circumstances.
Thanks to my running experience, my soreness became obvious to the point that Kayak Guy took to calling me "Grandma" because I was so gimpy and slow. I needed a walking stick to get up and down the numerous steps at the cabin last week. Carrying anything of substance was out of the question: I could feel the extra load smack dab in both knees.
When I started to improve, I'd walk almost normally in the morning, moving gingerly around the cabin, taking it easy, but by the end of the day I'd be sore all over again.
This week I'm decidedly better, thank goodness! In a few more days I'll start walking for exercise again. For now, I'm just happy to make it into the kitchen without having a conversation with my knees the whole way.