Well, with the tip looming on the horizon and gear getting packed I thought I would share with you all the part of this trip that I am NOT looking all that forward to. Long walks in boots will mean sore feet. That is to be expected. But blisters and toe nail issues are also quite likely to occur and it takes work to prevent them. Today I
ordered a little tool to help out when I have bruised a toe or two and caused the nail to begin turning black. Why, you may ask. Who cares if it is black. Well, the black is blood under the nail and usually means the nail is getting lifted up off its nail bed. So, this cool little hand drill will enable me to drill through the nail to alleviate that pressure and hopefully save the nail. Again, you ask why any of this would happen. For me, it is a lacing issue. My boots are comfy and large enough. But when coming down a steep descent, if they are not laced in such a way to keep my heel back in the boot, the toes will hammer up against the ends of the boot. Over and over again. AND if my nails are not trimmed nice and short, that will add to the trauma, causing the nail to lift with each slam into the front of the boot. Sounds fun, huh. So I have a lacing pattern to help with that and drill bits to fix it if the toes get away from me.
The next issue is my heels. On relatively flat hikes, this is no problem. I wear socks and liners and have not problems. But when I go up steep grade for a long time, the
hot spot starts. So, I bough a huge supply of band-aids to prevent the problem. I use one of these firmly on each heel every day that I have the boots on! This is a tested system for me. But I have to plan for the worst, so in addition to this, I have tincture of benzoin, Glide and various tapes as suggested by ultra-runners and the great resource book Fixing Your Feet. Add to that gel pads, mole skin, and first aid cream and I think the feet are pretty well covered and ready to carry me up and down the trail!
The next thing that is no fun about a long, multi-day hike is the bathroom…or lack there of. It is so easy for boys. They turn around and go. Don’t even have to interrupt their conversation. But I do not want to find myself having to search for a spot and then drop my drawers, letting all the good hear completely out. So I got a little device called the Go Girl! (its competitor is the She-Wee.) Now I will be able to run
with the big dogs and not pee like a puppy! All the while keeping my generous back side covered and protected from the elements…and onlookers.
Don’t laugh. This is a very important tool in my arsenal. But you may ask, with all of this trouble, why bother even going why bother when I could simply check into a Super 8 and spend the three weeks photo-shopping myself into pictures of Nepal and Mount Everest. I guess I don’t have to answer that. Do do so would either mean to sound trite by quoting George Mallory by saying “because it is there” or to try to make some other profundity flow forth. Suffice it to say, I am going, and I am going to feel the pain of it all, but I will be smiling ear to ear when I return. Stand by.