PCT Day 9
Miles: 109.0 - 109.4
Photo: @blazephysio and the gang
I woke up this morning, slipped my shoes on to walk around, and felt a sharp pain in my step every time I walked on my left foot. I immediately realized that I was NOT going to be able to hike and that I NEEDED to get off trail for a few days. I slowly packed up camp, mentally accepting that the hike will now be slightly harder due to continuing a few days later in the season, that I will need to ramp up my miles slowly next time, and the saddest was that nearly all the people I had hiked with the last week or so will forever be ahead of me. I’m sure the trail will provide in the end.
With my injured foot, I hobbled my way up to the Warner Springs post office where my resupply package was. I was planning to just go into town to see a podiatrist, but out of curiosity, I asked another hiker I met the day before about the pain I was having. He told me to contact @blazephysio since she was doing rounds around the exact area I was in. I texted her, and 20 minutes later Dr. Morgan was there along with her golden retriever, Honey.
Within a few minutes, she noticed that I overpronate when I walk by feeling the pain points on my foot, observing me walk with my pack on, and by the way, my shoes were worn out. The consensus was that my current shoes were a bad choice for my walking style, and some of my foot muscles were weak because of it. The fact that they took me this far meant that my feet were working WAY harder than they were meant to.
She recommended several things. The first is that I put out the fire. Take a few days off and heal. The second, get new shoes that are a better fit for my gait. Third, exercise my weak foot muscles. She gave me shoe recommendations and showed me the appropriate exercises. She also taped my foot and gave me some heel inserts for my current shoes and I was able to walk properly again! At least further than 10 feet without having to stop. It felt like magic! I was very happy that the injury seemed like a simple fix and not something that will end my hike.
Afterward, Dr. Morgan was able to hitch me and others into Idyllwild. On the ride over, we stopped by Paradise Valley Cafe where I was able to grab another package that literally arrived while we were there. It was very surreal seeing a new bubble of hikers that were only 2-3 days ahead of me in a place I wasn’t supposed to be in yet. Trail spoilers!
I could’ve stayed in Idyllwild to wait out the storm, but I’m very fortunate that my Dad and sister both live in California. The tricky part should’ve been getting back to them, but coincidentally my sister @ash4est was in the area due to driving back from Coachella. She was able to pick me up in Idyllwild. Very lucky! We drove to Santa Barbara where my Dad met us, and he drove us back home. I’m gonna rest up for a little bit, go get new shoes, go back on trail as soon as I feel confident enough to hike again, and then ramp up the mileage slowly. Hoping I’ll be out for only a few days since I definitely got the itch for more once I passed mile 💯