After my short winter hike on the Appalachian Trail during the holidays, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to go to a podiatrist and get some help with my heel pain (planter fasciitis) that I’ve had since my AT thru hike in 2012. I’m pretty sure I have a fairly high tolerance to pain, but enough is enough, and the thought of trying to put up with this issue while hiking the PCT seemed pretty stupid! So off to the doctor I went. I think he took me seriously and is working hard to help me resolve my problem as quickly as possible. I’ve had x-rays, injections in both heels, a couple of different medications prescribed, stretching exercises to do daily, and molds made of my feet for some custom orthotics. This routine will continue over the next couple of months until I leave for San Diego in mid April to start my journey on the PCT.
A few facts on Planter Fasciitis:
Inflammation (irritation and swelling with presence of extra immune cells) of the plantar fascia can cause heel pain and make walking difficult. Some risk factors for development of this problem include foot arch problems (both flat foot and high arches), obesity, sudden weight gain, running and a tight Achilles tendon.
The plantar fascia is a very thick band of tissue that covers the bones on the bottom of the foot. It extends from the heel to the bones of the ball of the foot and acts like a rubber band to create tension which maintains the arch of the foot. If the band is long it allows the arch of the foot to be low, which is most commonly known as having a flat foot. A short band of tissue causes a high arch. This fascia can become inflamed and painful in some people, making walking more difficult. ~MedlinePlus
On the gear and clothing front, I picked up a really cool straw hat for $10.00 at Bass Pro Shop the other day to start off my hike, hoping to do my best to shade myself and avoid as much sun as possible. Along with the hat, I also bought a new long sleeve Plaid Columbia Bahama fishing shirt to hike in to also help protect my arms from those hot desert UV rays.
I’m also debating whether or not to take my IPad Mini and the Lifeproof case I bought for it. It would be a great asset to have for reading, planning and blogging along the way, but the down side is that it’s total weight is pushing 19 oz. With the amount of water that I’ll be carrying through the desert, that’s a lot of additional weight for a luxury item. I’m hoping that over the next month or so I can get everything I need from a PCT guide stand point downloaded into PDF files and leave all the book stuff behind, which may save enough weight to justify carrying it. I’ve already downloaded all the Halfmile’s PCT maps, and converted Yogi’s trail tips and town guide to a PDF file and they both work great on my IPad Mini and IPhone. If I don’t carry my IPad mini from the start, I’ll probably have it sent to me after I make it out of the desert.
With the light snow this year in the High Sierra’s, I’m now planning to start a couple of weeks early. My start date is set now and I’m leaving Atlanta for San Diego on Thursday, April 10th and plan to begin hiking north on Saturday, April 12th.
I’m really getting excited to hit the trail again!