7/4/17 23.4 miles PCT mile 1482.5
My feet have become a sore subject for the past week. Up until last week I have had pristine feet, no blisters, no cuts, no calluses. They have started swelling again, maybe from the heat or my shoes. It becomes very painful as each step puts pressure on my tender soles. I have taken to soaking them in each creek or river we pass throughout the day. Yesterday was an especially rough day as we had an 11 mile section with no soaking opportunities. I did encounter some snow which I used to ice my feet, which helped a little. I can get about 3 good miles between soaks before my feet begin to swell and ache. Every rock or branch I step on with swollen feet hurts as my fat feet try to escape through the confines of my shoes. As a way to deal with the swelling I must continually lossen the laces to allow for the swelling. This loosening effect has caused both of my heals to slip and rub against the shoe. Large calluses have formed on both of my heals with what appears to be blisters beneath the callus. So coupled with the pain of swelling feet each step I take there is pain in my heels. I have poked and prodded these calluses with a needle with little to no success of any escaping fluid. Today though is a fat foot persons paradise, creeks every 2-3 miles.
I started the day off with a cold soak right at the source of a spring at 7am. Then 2 miles later I would have a 2nd soak. After my 2nd soak I encountered a male yearling with cute fuzzy new antlers. He was walking right towards me so I stopped and stared. Matt got out his camera to take some pictures and I mossied on. After a half mile Matt caught up and I asked him where and what he was doing. He said, “the deer was playing peekaboo with me.” I said, “that’s nice but I’m on a soak schedule I got to move.”
Just then as I rounded the corner another deer was on the trail staring at me. She quickly jumped up the trail, I stopped, she stopped and took one step closer to examine me.
We passed PitSop another hiker who was also resting his sore feet. I decided that he was my tender foot sibling.
Today much like the last couple of days we are in the trees. One minor expection is that today the trail is littered and lined with poison oak. We have to carefully navigate the trail so as not to brush up against this noxious plant.
At lunch matt pulls out some crackers. I ask him, “are those cheeseits?” He said, “no I think they are BBQ chips.” Well guess what they were my cheeseits, I didn’t really want them though so I let Matt continue to carry them. During lunch I realized I made a drastic oversight. My next soaking opportunity was a whole 8 miles away. Noooo! We finally passed the McCloud river that I have been seeing on signs for over 50 miles. It was a pretty turquoise color apparently from the dam it drains from.
After crossing the river we climbed a substantial hill during the heat of the day. Halfway through the 8 mile waterless section we took a quick break so I could lay down and elevate my feet. I thought I was doing pretty good until we took off and we started going downhill. Downhill is the worst as it puts more pressure on my feet so I start to walk slow and my stride gets all weird, and then my heals also hurt more. Eventually I hobbled into the creek to soak and eat a snack. We still had 3.5 miles until our campsite and next creek. Usually I can get 3 good miles between soaks but not this time. The damage was done and my feet were killing me. Matt kept looking back and wairing for me, which only made me angry, so I told him to just go to the campsite and I’ll be there when I can. I made it to camp a little after 7:00 and couldn’t have been happier. I made a fire while to keep the mosquitoes away while Matt set up the tent. The fire would be our 4th of July celebration, not that exciting but I didn’t care. We are only 17 miles away from the town of Mount Shasta where I will get new shoes and go up another half size in hopes that it will cure my foot issues.