Day 23: Mile 418.6 to mile 444.3 Acton KOA (25.7 mile, 41.3km)
Today was hard. Not because I pulled a big one yesterday and could not back it up, it was all about blister management.
I’ve been dealing with the same blisters from my first pair of shoes for weeks. I’ve drained the fluid multiple times, allowed them to dry and keep antibiotic cream on them but they are not going away. The skin has hardened into a callus like lumps but the lumps won’t disappear; instead constantly rubbing on the heals of my current shoes with every step. I’ve been managing this by taping my heals daily but today I’m out of sports tape and having to use duct tape. Not ideal and it hurts.
From my first step to my last today, pain was constant. This became my focus for the day with every step and put me in a shitty mood. It was head down all day looking at the trail in front. My mind was not on looking up and about at the scenery around me. It was a challenge.
Away by 5:30am I’d done 11 mile by 10am and was focused on reaching the North Fork Ranger Station by lunch as they sold cold soda, fruit and snacks. I only saw a couple of people during the morning, all the early starters. Given my struggles today I let people past knowing I’d catch up with them at the Ranger Station.
The terrain wasn’t too bad really, undulating mostly with a few small steep climbs and lots of descending but it just wasn’t my day and I didn’t enjoy what I was doing at all.
Lots of negative thoughts crept in. ‘Can I do this?’, ‘Is this what the next 4 months are going to be like?’ etc… they were difficult thoughts to push aside but I did my best to distract myself listening to podcasts and popping a few Ibuprofen.
I reached the Ranger Station by 1pm, pulling off 17 mile for the day already. Everyone that past me this morning was there including Nancy, Dan who I met in Wrightwood and a Swiss guy who’s name I don’t know.
I headed straight for the snacks, purchasing a Sunkist as I’ve been craving an orange drink all day, the most juicy, succulent apple I’ve eaten in a long time, a Gatorade and a packet of chips. The chips went right into my peanut butter bagels for my lunch.
After lunch there was only another 8 miles to walk but gee they felt long. Still in pain I was having to take short breaks every half hour just to take pressure off my heals.
But my spirits were lifted. At the final trail junction Cooper Tone was back with with trail angel van. He’s moving up the trail and happened to be here, so we’re all those I was waking with today. Root beer floater’s are his speciality and boy did it go down well!
Only another 0.2 of a mile to the KOA we all walked out together. The KOA or Campgrounds of America (yeah I don’t get the K either), host PCT hikers for $15 for a site including a hot shower, much needed soap and a towel
So a long gruelling day is survived. I only have 10 miles tomorrow to Agua Dulce and hopefully I can get into town for resupply quick and basically just rest up for rest. I’m on a mission to find more sports tape well.