Two steps forward, one step back

I wasn’t expecting to be writing this blog from my office.  I thought I’d be posting from my mobile phone.  I’ve had an unexpected setback.  Blisters, two, huge blisters on the back of both heels.  So, instead of sole to soul, I’m healin’ the heels.

Within the first half hour of the first day my heel started to tickle.  But it wasn’t much.  By the time I’d gotten to camp the blister on my left heel was larger than any piece of moleskin that I had; then the next day the same thing happened to my right heel.  By day three I couldn’t fathom the idea of walking another 9 miles in my flesh eating boots.

Here’s the catch – these boots were an old trusty pair that had NEVER given me a blister, not ever.  I’d had them resoled and even walked around in them for a week to make sure they’d work.  They didn’t.  I finished my third day in my camp shoes – Crocs.

Brian and I returned to his RV, that we’d stashed about 1/2 mile from the trail, just outside of Jacob Lake.  I’d planned on re-supplying there and continuing on; with these blisters I knew my boot days were over.  I  planned on hiking the next 50 miles in my Chacos with the heel strap moved aside, but when I tried that I quickly realized that the straps would rub different holes in my feet if I continued.  I was at an impasse.

I faced a prolonged healing process before I could continue.  I estimated that it’d be at least 4-5 days.  I didn’t want to burn days and provisions sitting in a tent just outside Jacob Lake, not to mention the need for different footwear.  So, I decided to head home and heal.  I’m going to admit, that at first that reality hurt – I’d be returning home after 3 days.  It wasn’t the setback I’d expected.  I figured I’d have some muscular or skeletal issue – sore back, legs, knees, feet, lips . . . anything but blisters from a trusted companion.

The disappointment didn’t stick around very long though.  I received a couple of messages from some close friends and immediately things didn’t seem so bleak.  I could come home, heal and in the meantime take care of a few house/farm-keeping chores.  But most importantly I could take the time to head south and scout the towns and trail heads.  I might also be able to cache some water for myself and other hikers.

Speaking of caching water for other hikers, I had a neat experience.  Brian and I had cached some water along our route; some for us and some for other hikers.  When we’d returned we saw that someone had taken some water.  I felt like a kid again – remember when you’d leave cookies and milk out for Santa Claus and in the morning you could tell he’d been there?  That’s what it felt when I saw the water gone.  It was exciting.

Anyway, I’ve decided to turn this issue into the silver lining rather than the cloud.  I get to tweak a few gear choices and still be out there, playing along the trail.  Maybe I’ll see some hikers on their own journeys.  If I do I’ll be prepared to distribute a little love & magic.  I suspect I’ll be just as excited about that as they are.

See you out there.



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