March 12, Day 2
PCT Mile 20, Lake Morena
After a reasonably good nights sleep, I woke up at 630. Feeling like mom was waking me for my first day of school, I rolled over and said just 10 more minutes. Just before 7, I looked at my watched (which happens to have several features including a thermometer), 48 degrees. Chilly, but not unbearable.
I stretched a bit. Hmmm, not terribly sore. My feet were a little different story. I had two hot spots and a decent sized blister on my ring toe (like your ring finger, but on your foot). I massaged my feet, and decided I would tape the two hot spots before hitting the trail today.
I crawled out of my bag and changed back into my hiking clothes. Yay dirty clothes. They had a definite aroma to them, but I have smelled considerably worse. After dressing I proceeded to break down camp. I contemplated eating but my appetite just wasn’t there. I did a little house keeping, brushed my teeth, took a few swigs of water, and pulled out my leukocyte tape. It’s fantastic tape. Its one of the few tapes that will stick to wet skin. I cut strips about 2 inches long and covered the two how spots on either heel. I didn’t bother to tape the ring toe since I couldn’t imagine it would do any good.
By 7:45, I was ready to go. I was about to throw on my backpack, when I remembered, “Shit, sunscreen”. It was already a bright sunny day and knew I would be cooked without it. The problem was, it was in a bag at the bottom of my backpack. Mental note, pack your toiletries at the top of your bag. After unpacking my bag, applying sunscreen, and repacking I was ready to go.
Hauser Creek is set in a canyon. On either side, the canyon walls jut up about 1000 feet. Yesterday on my decent into I noticed the switchbacks on the opposing side and knew I would have a decent climb in the morning. Hitting the trail, the climb out was around 2.5 miles. Normally an easy climb for me. Normally, I’m not carrying a 42 pound pack. The hike out was slow and arduous. By the time I was out of the canyon, my feet were letting me know they weren’t happy.
I walked through some beautiful country. I observed all manner of animal tracks. Horse, coyote, and I believe even a bobcat print. Speaking of coyotes, I have never seen so much coyote dung. It’s all over the trail. And judging by its composition, there is no shortage of rabbits.
Right before starting my decent, my feet were on fire. I stopped for about 10 minutes and took my socks and shoes off to let my feet dry and have a break. The hotspots had only gotten slightly worse, however a new one was developing on the outside of my right foot. I can only assume my gait changed causing this new one to crop up. I thought I should tape it, but again, dreaded the idea of unpacking my bag. Another mental note. Create a food care kit that is easy to put my hands on to avoid future laziness.
After drying my feet out, I put my shoes on and proceeded to descend the remaining mile and a half into Lake Morena. By the time I hit the parking lot of the lake/camp ground, I can only assume I looked as if I were 80 based on the way I was hobbling. At this point I put my ego aside and decided I needed to make a change in the very least to my socks. I have hiked many, many miles in my sock/shoe combination. I can only assume the increased mileage and pack weight have resulted in this combination no longer being a winner for me.
So once I had used the restroom (hooray a real toiled!) I texted Austin and asked if he was busy this afternoon. Fortunately he had a break in his client schedule so he was able to come pick me up at Lake Morena. I came home and dropped my pack. Once Brian got home we rolled down to REI. I picked up two types of socks to give a whirl. One is a toe sock that separates each toe. the other is a dual layer sock. Both socks should relieve a decent amount of friction.
So, definitely outside my plan, I’ve already had to make a gear change. On the plus side, I live in San Diego, therefore the trek into town wasn’t a huge deal. Initially, I was embarrassed by having to call for assistance on Day 2. But, I would rather get my feet dialed in with what works early, and avoid many miles of blistered feet. I also swapped out a few pieces of gear I didn’t need or want. Funny how hiking a few miles will make you rethink certain gear selections.
Having a nice warm shower, and getting to sleep in my own bed one more night are only bonuses.
Lessons learned today. Don’t let your ego get in the way. I need to stop more often and let my feet dry. And finally, tape hot spots immediately when they develop.
All in all a good day. The plan tomorrow is to leave the house early and be on the trail by 7am.