I got a pair of Brooks Cascadias 9s (the latest version) and started wearing them today with one month to go before I leave on 4/10. The previous ones were Version 8s. I really didn’t want black because of the desert heat absorption, but that’s the only color choice (except for an ugly red/yellow one). The only benefit is they match my gaiters pretty well. Now I’m breaking these shoes in.
Each day I wake and do my hiking as per my plan that I wrote last September. I’ve just passed the 1300 mile mark. And although I’m sore and tired each day, which worries me, I wake and I’m ready to go the next day. So I’m at 80 miles a week and a 35 pound pack, which is less than I’ll have to do on the trail, but I’m as ready as I can be.
So yesterday I hiked my longest distance, 20 miles, on the roads in Austin. It took me about 7 hours to complete. Afterwards my legs and ankles had blotchy red patches. What is going on? Then today I hiked my longest trail distance, 15 miles, on the Barton Creek Greenbelt. This time it took about 7 hours too, because it is a lot more rocky & uneven and I used my hiking poles. And the blotches are still there. Then don’t hurt, and only tingled a little when I showered afterwards. I looked it up on Google, and it’s known as “Golfer’s Vasculitis” but didn’t find a solution other than to just let them heal. I just started to wear a pair of SmartWool socks. I wonder if that has something to do with it?
Argh! On Saturday as I was hiking on the roads around Austin my left wrist was itchy. I thought I had gotten a mosquito bite, and my watch band was causing it to itch. Not realizing what it was I’d scratch on and off during my prep hike. Now I’ve come to realize that somehow I have gotten poison ivy or oak. However for the life if me I can’t think where I might have gotten it. I didn’t hike on Friday, Thursday was hills on road. That is, I didn’t do any bushwacking, bramblebusting, etc. On Saturday it was just a little red strip, but now it’s a nasty bunch of watery blisters. Oh this is great, because I’ll be starting my hike in just a few weeks. I hope it heals by then. It tells me I had better be careful out on the trail since I’m sensitive to this ucky stuff.
Update: Getting better two weeks later, but it indeed got a lot worse before this picture was taken.
As I’ve said before I have a preparation plan that I wrote last September and I’m following day-by-day. It hasn’t been easy, because after my hikes my feet have been sore to the point I just sit down, prop up my legs, let them throb and vegetate. However, in the last few weeks I have hiked 20 road miles on Saturday, 15 trail miles on Sunday, and back-to-back 12 & 13 miles each weekday with a 35 pound pack, and guess what… My feet although tired are not painful and I’ve been able to do other things without gimping around like an invalid. So I’m feeling better about the upcoming thruhike and the stresses it’ll place on my body.
I’ve also been working on my resupply strategy, and I’ve decided to “resupply as you go”. This puts pressure on me to buy food and stuff and mail it ahead at certain points along the trail.
On my prep hike today I met some ladies who will be traveling to Ireland for some adventure and hiking. They were out this morning while I was. We first briefly crossed paths as I was doing my Far West – Ladera Norte loop. Then when I was about 100 meters from my car we stopped and chatted. It was nice to hear about their trip. I explained my soon-to-be adventure which elicited “have you read Wild” which I have. I gave them my blog URL. So many wonderful people to meet now and later on the trail. Best wishes ladies. I hope your trip is as exciting as it sounds. May we meet again someday and share our stories.
Update: Only two weeks to go until I start from here…