Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now

Hat Creek Rim.  Notorious.  Flashbacks of the hot, dry stretches in the desert.

Although we had pretty darn good weather for the desert, getting only a taste of how bad it could be.  We found out here on Hat Creek Rim.

Leaving camp soon after sunrise, we had but a few miles to a traditional water cache spot.  The problem with caches is that they are often unreliable, especially far away from town as this one is.

As usual, the first few minutes of the day are spent hobbling as everything that tightened up overnight protests against the movement. 

But today there was something different. A tender pain on the ball of my left foot.  A hot spot that could be the precursor of a blister.  Something that neither one of us hadn’t dealt with since the first hundred miles of this trek.

Getting to the cache, we loved the fact that there were chairs.  I peeled off the shoe and socks and found no evidence of a blister.  Poking around, there were tender spots, but nothing like when I stepped on a rock.  So a bit of massage and we were on our way.

The cache was fully stocked, but we didn’t partake.  We both had 3 liters of water and only 13 miles until the next stream, which should have been plenty.

Did I mention in the last post that it was hot? 

A view of the length of the Hat Creek Rim, looking south towards Mount Lassen.

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As the day progressed, it got hotter and the foot was bugging me more and more.  Both led to more frequent and longer breaks, slowing us down more than we needed.

That 3 liters of water?  Yeah, that lasted only 8 miles.  That meant 5 miles to go until the creek.  That meant a long, thirsty couple of hours.

But we then stumbled across a surprise roadside cache.  The gallon jugs had been out in the sun all day and was hot enough to make tea, but in that situation it was still good.

Sitting in the shade, I pulled up the weather.  The closest town, just a few miles away, was cooling down from a high of 105F.  Hot, but not damn hot.  Although many would disagree.

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Then there was this.

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With the fresh fill of hot water, we were able to limp to the next stream.  At that point we decided to call it a day, as the limping was slowing us down and the next campsite was a few miles away.

Day 110 – 16 / 1,404

Waking up, we discovered a couple of fellow houseguests.  They are always welcome while we stay, but are not welcome for the trip.  They would get squished.

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Heading down the trail, the foot was still giving me fits. Not only the left, but now the right in the same spot.  As the morning progressed, the left started feeling better as the right felt worse.

By the time we reached a highway crossing, we had a decision to make.  Get off the feet for a day or two, or progress and hope it didn’t get worse.

In this case, hope is not a technique.

So here we sit in a hotel room, an unplanned stop that cuts into our chances of successfully finishing this hike before winter sets into the northern Cascades

Day 111 – 5 / 1,409

Feet up, watching brainless TV while the always amazing Jen runs errands in the small town of Burney.

Day 112 – 0 / 1,409

Please help us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource: http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j

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7 thoughts on “Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now”

  1. I am so proud of you too. I just can’t even imagine the wonderful things you’ve seen. Wish I were there to give you some frankincense oil for that foot! Hope you’re back on the trail.

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