Pacific Crest Trail logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Blister on foot three days after treatment with tincture of benzoin. It does not and never did hurt (with a bandage, this person walked miles (0 km) that day). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most long-distance hikers, at some point, will get blisters on their feet. The usual precautions are: break in new footwear, start slowly and build up to bigger mileage, wear a liner sock, or don’t wear a liner sock, keep band-aids and bandages handy. All well and good; do whatever works. But if you really want to head off blister problems, practice the tip below.
Tip: Air out your feet. Yep, that’s the best advice I was ever given on avoiding blisters, and I learned it at a seminar in New Hampshire that prepared AT thru-hikers. The advice has served me well. In the photo above, I’m at Kearsarge Pass in the Sierras on the Pacific Crest Trail. My boots and socks are airing out; my feet are absorbing air and sunlight. After break, I will put what was my left sock on my right foot and reverse the process during my next break. I will also wear my socks inside out after the first break and reverse this several times a day.
This may seem like overkill, but I’ve never gotten a raw blister on my feet. Bacteria thrive in moist, stinky, air-deprived spots. And these are the spots that chafe and turn into blisters. The trick is to air out your feet, and keep your socks dry. I probably carry too many socks, but I change out of wet socks, hang the wet ones on my pack straps, and put on new socks. Like you, I hate blisters.
This blog is for all hikers, backpackers, and campers. Most of my subscribers are male and most comments I’ve received have been from men. Judging by the increased numbers of females on trails, I would have expected more readership and feedback from women. Every year I see more of the fair sex, and that’s a positive development for the hiking community.
Now and then, I see something referring to women hikers. There is a group called Trail Dames at www.traildames.com. I don’t know much about this group or how active they are, but their site looks interesting. They have eleven chapters, all in the east except for a chapter in Michigan. I suspect this is because of the increasing popularity of women, young and old, hiking the Appalachian Trail. Trail Dames held their own conference last year in Virginia.
Another blogger mentioned the Women’s Adventure Club of Centre County PA, which ran an Appalachian Hiking Series For Women. When I thru-hiked the A.T. some years ago, I remember how grateful I was to a young lady who had—all day—hauled my sack of soaked and dirty laundry I’d left at the shelter.
Of course, the big hiking news is still Jennifer Pharr Davis, who in 2011 broke the speed record for thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. She trimmed 26 hours off the previous record set by a man! Click above and you’ll see the stunning article from Men’s Journal. That she hiked the entire length of the A.T. in 46 days, 11 hours, and 26 minutes is incomprehensible to me. She was chosen as one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year.
Most of the women I see on trails are fit and tough. Welcome.
On the A.T.