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Day 68: A Mixed Bag

Posted by on July 14, 2015

July 7, 2015
Lake Aloha (1100.7) to Miller Creek (1122.6)
21.9 PCT miles today
1167.1 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,805 ft, – 3,989 ft

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Again with the foot pain. Oh the tales I’d tell about our wonderful day full of lakes, a storm, and millions of wildflowers, if only I weren’t so darn distracted and concerned over the pain in my feet. Let’s pretend for a minute that today was pain free.

We woke up this morning to a light-pink sunrise over Lake Aloha. Desolation Wilderness is like heaven to lake people like ourselves. All morning we hiked past lake after lake, all doing their best to perfectly reflect whatever mountains and trees hem in their shores. The hiking was relatively easy and the weather was perfect…early morning crisp with the occasional ray of sunshine peeking through the trees. Around 10 I began listening to a Spanish language learning audio book that I had downloaded and Pickles put in some music. As we hiked up and over Dick’s Pass (with fabulous views of Dick’s Lake below) storm clouds gathered overhead and we settled in for another overcast afternoon. We didn’t mind a bit since it meant cooler temps and no need for sunglasses.

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By the time we decided to stop for lunch we could tell it was going to rain. We decided to try using our tent’s fly as a tarp, and strung it from a few trees before propping it up at the edges with our poles. It turned out to be our best decision of the day since rain starting falling within minutes of our sitting down, and turned to huge balls of hail and then a complete downpour before we knew what hit us. The thunder roared overhead and Pickles and I cuddled closer, mostly to avoid being splashed, but also for the body heat and comfort.

The storm stopped almost as abruptly as it began. Altogether we took 2 hours for lunch, but by the time we packed up and got hiking again, there was only a light sprinkle, and within a mile it has ceased altogether. We hiked on, avoiding puddles in the trail, as the clouds parted and the sun came back out. After such a deluge of rain, the afternoon miles felt like we were walking through a rainforest. The various wildflowers were fresh, their colors crisp, and the bracken fern that lined the trail seemed to glow green.

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We got to camp a little later than usual, and after a nice conversation with a hiker friend of ours named Honest Abe and his girlfriend who just joined him for the rest of the trail, we quickly went about the business of cleaning, treating water, setting up camp and eating dinner. Another wonderful day down, another 22 miles cranked out with ease.

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Only that’s not entirely true. The whole day happened exactly how I described, but it was along with a constant, horrible pain in both of my feet that made me (eek!) dread every step and long for camp. Pickles patiently waited through my many sit-down breaks and my slow, laboring pace, but by the end of the day, we were back to the conversation about where we should go from here.  The obvious conclusion is that we should get off trail long enough for me to heal.  However, every fiber of my being hates the idea of sitting around wasting time and money when I should be out hiking. We’ve both agreed that we’ll do everything we Image 8can to make it to Canada as planned, the very thought of that changing brings tears to my eyes, but I’m beginning to realize that the only way that is going to happen is if I somehow find a way to fix my feet. For now, I have no choice but to keep hiking, at least until we get to Donner Pass in another day and a half. From there, we’ll have some important decisions to make. All I can do at this point is take ibuprofen, soak my feet in cold stream water when possible, and take however many breaks I need to get through the day. And all the while try to focus more on this epic journey than my failing feet.

3 Responses to Day 68: A Mixed Bag

  1. AnnMarie

    I’m sorry to hear about the pain in your feet. Why don’t you try new insoles like what Mosey gave you? I send them to him in like everywhere box… Most of them say lifetime warranty but the miles you are putting in you should change them out. I can send some to you if you need them…
    Also… Next zero day put a water bottle (with water) in the freezer. Once it’s frozen roll your feet over it applying pressure. Works wonders!!!

    • Rochelle

      That water bottle thing is a GREAT idea…gonna try it today! I got custom insoles now and they are helping a ton. Thanks for the tips AnnMarie!

  2. DG

    Hi guys,
    First – I am “NOT” a Doctor! Saying that, however, I am an avid runner/hiker/climber. I am no stranger to foot issues. Plantar Fasciitis I find to be more of a heel/arch issue. Your middle toe pain (if the pain is in the ball of your feet between the 3rd/4th toe). Feels as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock on the ball of your feet. That condition is called, “Morton’s neuroma”. Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb. Best to see a Doctor for a diagnosis. Until then try – Using a ‘wider” shoe and a 3/4 orthotic (it doesn’t need to go all the way to the toes). If you do have orthotics take out the delivered shoe sole that comes with your shoes. Just insert the orthotic. Try that and see how it goes, but do what you are most comfortable with. Good health and good hiking!

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