As fall begins to set in I keep flashing back to my summer trip, hiking in Scotland. Adam and I spent a wonderful two weeks eating haggis, hill walking, and sipping single malt in the verdant land of whisky, sheep, and rain. Our time in Scotland was short, so we chose two week long trails on which to spend our trip. First, we took a bus from Edinburgh to the Isle of Skye in northwestern Scotland to spend a week on the Skye Trail. It was a wet and beautiful 80 mile trek north to south across the island. Check out my Scottish Oboz Trail Tale for a story from our smooshy walk across the Isle of Skye.
We knew the Skye Trail would be the more challenging of the two hikes, but it took the onset of the first storm for us to realize what we had gotten ourselves into. After our feet got soaked on day one, they never dried out-for the whole vacation!
We found ourselves stumbling through boggy sheep dotted hillsides with no trail to follow. Navigating through the stormy, treeless landscape was an enjoyable, but exhausting challenge. Hill walking was hard, but it wasn’t a complete suffer fest, read the Oboz Trail Tale to see how we found joy.
After a blustery end to the Skye Trail we fled the windy west coast for the more sheltered east and the Speyside Way. We found warm pubs, delicious whisky, and pastoral paths winding along 80 miles of the River Spey, from the ocean to the high peaks of the Caringorms.
The Speyside Way is one of many official Scottish paths. We chose it because of the length and the lore of the region. Accessing the coastal […]
Having foot issues? As many hikers set out on their thru-hiking season I keep hearing about tragic foot pain. In an effort to reduce some of the tears, I wanted to share a few things that have worked well for my persnickety feet.
Rinse The Grit Away
Try carrying two pairs of socks. Switch them mid-day, and rinse the morning pair out. If you have extra water, give your feet a mid-day wash too. During the dry desert sections just whack the heck out of your socks to get the dust out instead of washing them with your precious water. I still switch them anyway, and wash them near the next water source- remember- don’t wash them directly in the water sources!!! Yuck- toe funk in your water-Eeeeew!
I find that washing my socks regularly helps them last miles and miles longer (like 150-300miles longer!), and keeps my feet happier.
Take Your Shoes Off!
One of my other foot care secrets is to have at least two breaks a day when my shoes come off, my insoles are pulled out & shaken off, and my feet & shoes can have some time apart. I usually give myself a foot massage & elevate them on my pack. Chilling in that lounging reclining position for a bit seems to really help my body get a better rest & lets my feet deflate a bit.
Keep ’em clean with Dirty Girls
Using lightweight gaiters (like Dirty Girl Gaiters) can help keep grit & seeds out of your socks & shoes. Blisters can be caused by dirt creating friction between your skin and the shoe wall, sometimes called the “pearl of pain”. Gaiters can help keep those friction causing agents at bay, but thick gaiters can […]
Trailside Radio Episode 2: Talking With Wired
There is a new hiking podcast on the scene! Erin “Wired” Saver and myself are featured on episode 2. Give it a listen & be sure to follow along as Ratatouille broadcasts from his hike of the Pacific Crest Trail this summer.
A bit more about meeting Trailside Radio:
A couple months ago I discovered episode one of Trailside Radio and instantly became stoked on the idea. Trailside Radio’s host, Ratatouille, was proposing to do something I’ve always thought would be a great way to capture the thruhiking experience. He is planning on making a weekly audio podcast during his Pacific Crest Trail thruhike this summer. His first episode was a collage of voices sharing their perspective on the PCT, along with Ratatouille’s mom chatting about instilling a love for the outdoors and adventure in her son. Radio is my favorite medium, and hiking is my favorite way of being. A podcast about hiking is a perfect combo. I was impressed with Rattatouile’s creative and fresh approach, not to mention the guts he has to record, edit, and post from the trail.
A few days after hearing episode one, my friend Condor introduced me to Ratatouille, who was on a short trip to Bend to collect interviews for his new podcast. I was busy packing for my work season in the Mojave, but decided to set down the water jugs and solar installation projects long enough to peddle down to the Crux Brewery to chat with Trailside Radio. Ratatouille asked interesting questions, and despite the wind, background music, and highway noise, he walked away with some audio for episode 2.
I met Erin “Wired” Saver at the ALDHA West Cascade Ruck […]