Operation PCT

Subject: Operation PCT D-Day + 20 

“Everywhere is walking distance, if you have the time” (Steven Wright)

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man ………..

Sometime last week while visiting family in Florida I learned that;

1) walking is also known as ambulation;

2) my feet would benefit from a pair of orthotics;

3) and there are a whole lot of over 80 year old drivers on the road;

4) Key West and my cousins are way cool;

5) the rest of the world walks because it is their main form of transportation.

And, if a little walking is good then a whole lot of walking should be better right?

When it’s time for leaving, I hope you’ll


That I was born a rambling man …..

Orthotics were what I needed and possibly why that plantar f. (foot pain) showed up earlier this year when I rapidly increased my pack weight and training mileage.

Just by chance my niece Jennie talked us into going to the FIU (Fla. Intl U) Fairgrounds.

While at the fair I ran into this guy running a booth and solving foot problems. Once the foot problem was identified he had me hold one fist in front of the other while wearing my hiking shoes.

He was able to easily move me for I was not able to stay firmly planted on the ground.

Sales guy was also able to do the same thing while I held my fists to my side and also behind my back – easily forcing me off balance without much effort.

I next stepped out of my hiking shoes and onto a pair of orthotics in my stocking feet. I could easily see that I was now more firmly anchored to the ground so that with the same amount of effort he was not able to move me.

Due to my higher than normal arch I guess I tend to place most of my weight on my toes and heels. By looking at the wear pattern on my Keen’s I could also tell that I do not wear my shoes as most people do.

My mother used to remark that I could sleep standing up by the size of my large feet. Now I also know that besides them being wide they are also high in arch.

The foot supports that I bought are meant to realign my foot to a “neutral” position. As instructed the first day I wore them for two hours and my feet hurt. The next day I doubled the time and they still hurt. The third and fourth day I increased the wearing time and by the fifth day I forgot I was wearing them.

As of today I am completely sold as I’ve had about three weeks to note the difference – no more foot fatigue after a long hike.

“Trying to make a living and doing the best I can”

Just passing on what worked for me – you HYOH (hike your own hike) and if the shoe fits wear it! According to the literature I received, you definitely need orthotics:

1.        If you participate in any activity that places stress on your feet. (hiking upwards of 20 miles per day with a 35 pound pack should qualify)

2.        If you have an obvious imbalance that causes such symptoms as flat or high arched feet. (I tend to wear my shoes out at the outer edge of the heel)

3.        If you’ve already developed chronic foot problems, ranging from arch pain to heel spur pain. (Yes, I was stretching to alleviate some plantar fasciitis pain after a few strenuous hikes) 

A second product that will also accompany me on the trail is this stuff called HikeGoo. I used this product to toughen up my feet. For almost the last month I wore my Keen’s with wool socks while hanging out in Miami and the Florida keys and my feet felt great.

Even wore them on the St. Patrick’s bar stroll while we drank and hiked through something like 20 bars from around 10:00 A.M. till about 9:00 PM. (And all for charity!)

Like the product says – HikeGoo No More Blisters! Thanks Kevin

Holy cow! I hate to see how much I’ve spent $$ on this thru-hike so far but one good guess is the large dividend check from REI.

Today it was spent on a back up pair of hiking pants, the new Mountain House Pro-pack and the new Petzl Tikka XP2 charging light with a lithium ion core battery that can be charged via my Brunton solar charger.

The head is now shaved. With a few good strategically placed tattoo’s I could qualify for a really bad looking bad ass.

Wait till the Logistician sees me tonight – will she be in for a shock.

“And when it’s time for leaving on the PCT I hope you’ll understand, that I was born a rambling man!”

See you on the trail!


P.S. The orthotics never made it onto the PCT trail. Once I found a good set of wide shoes- problem solved. That seems to be most people’s problem. I’ll fitting shoes.

As of today (2020) I wear nothing but Solomons. Currently own three of the same pair. Hiked the Camino de Santiago and Costa Rican Caminos in the same trail shoes before I threw them out not on account of them breaking down but, on account that they stunk so bad I couldn’t stand them anymore.

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