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[pct-l] Re: pct-l-digest V1 #411

Pat said:
>My feet were the main reason Walt and I got off the trail last year.  I
>didn't realize that people with dry feet will have a harder time long
>distance hiking than those with moist feet!  The first week on the trail
>Walt got 2 blisters at the same time and they were gone in a day -- he has
>moist feet!  He cut his boot where the hot spot was and never looked back.
>While I, with the dry feet, walked in agony most of the way.

My feet get pretty wet when I'm backpacking, and I get blisters really
easily.  When I hiked the Colorado Trail, I made it a point to take my boots
and socks off at least three times during the day, usually in mid-morning,
at my lunch stop, and then in mid-afternoon.  I would let my socks and boots
partially dry out, and would wash my feet and let them dry completely.  It
was very refreshing and I didn't get a single blister.  The delay in taking
three long breaks (about a half-hour for the mid-morning and -afternoon
breaks, and an hour to an hour and a half for lunch) didn't stop me from
making 14 to 16 miles per day, stopping for the day about 5:00 or 6:00, with
plenty of time for cooking and loafing.  I just picked up a book, "Where the
Waters Divide" about a thru-hike on the CDT, by Karen Berger and Daniel R.
Smith, and here's their advice:  "They (blisters) start innocently enough.
A pucker in a sock, a grain of sand, something as almost to escape notice.
You feel a slight rubbing; you assume it will go away.  A mile later, it's
still there, so you tug on you sock and hope that will solve the problem.
You promise yourself that at the next break...you'll take off your boots and
check things out....(b)ut you are already too late.  Your innocuous hot spot
has become a swollen, raw blister, and now you have all kinds of things to
worry about:  infection, bleeding, continued rubbing, and, most of all, pain
with every step...With 3,000 miles to walk...a blister was a far more
terrifying prospect than a rattlesnake...Our defensive tactics began with
protective armor:  pads of moleskin pasted to our feet on skin likely to
blister.  During our daily breaks - one for lunch and two for snacks -
hiking boots, socks and liners came off, anything wet was hung on a cactus
to dry, and feet were examined for hot spots...No walking for just another
quarter mile because we were going to stop anyway for lunch.  No thinking it
would go away.  No hoping that the sock would rearrange itself.  Blisters
were to be fought on all fronts".
Certainly seeing a podiatrist is a good idea.  A person with orthotic issues
might not resolve the blister problem just by following Ms. Berger and Mr.
Smith's example.  But their advice is sound.  Treat blisters before they
become a problem.

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