Forest Road Hike

Hike Distance: 10.2 miles      Yearly Hike Distance: 653.9 miles

Elevation Gain: 1163 feet      Yearly Elevation Gain: 85715 feet

Quite the preview of summer weather and dealing with thirst.  Although I really enjoy the warmer weather and sunny skies it is much easier to hike in the cooler weather.  I carried a couple liters of fluid with me but even that didn’t seem to quench my thirst.  The clothes I wear are a light tan, which is better than darker clothes.  I also make sure to cover most of my body to avoid sunburn.  Applying suntan lotion to my hands took care the main body part that gets burned in this weather!

It was a very delightful hike and predominantly in the shade, which was by design.  There weren’t any big views but I’m quite happy to walk along and enjoy the forest.

After about 7 miles my SI joint, in the lower back, started hurting quite a bit.  The pain was aggravated by sciatica and I was getting some rather painful spasms.  I toughed it out a bit, in hopes of it working out, but that didn’t occur.  I finally broke down and took an Aleve, and the pain was reduced significantly, and manageable.  I’m finding that getting older is bringing on many small issues in my joints, and they come and go on a regular basis.  I’m going to make an attempt at lowering the weight of my pack, again, which should help the stress put on my joints.  I’ve already been ramping up my stretching, and have been putting more effort into weightlifting.  From my previous physical therapy I learned that strengthening the muscles around my joints has a profound effect on the health of the joint and handling loads.  I’ve also found that glucosamine chondroitin works very well for lubricating joints, if your body doesn’t make enough, and works quite well, for me, on my knees!

Another solution that we’ve found for our back pain is going on trails that have a lot of elevation change.  Going uphill, in particular, gets rid of our back pain very effectively.  Trails that go primarily up in elevation, on the way out, and descend during the return can be brutal.  Rails-to-trails hikes are the most brutal for us as they are typically flat and have hard surfaces that yield the most pounding to the back and feet.

Last but not least, the shoes and socks we wear are instrumental in minimizing the shock to our body.  Our solution for cold weather are Lowa Renegade hiking boots with a green Superfeet insert.  The socks we wear consist of a double-layer Wrightsock with an REI expedition merino wool sock over it.  This combination works very well for cold weather but is incredibly hot in the warmer weather.  Truthfully, we tend to still use this combo in the warmer weather, and we pay for this with sore feet.  Lately, we are investigating warm weather alternatives as we need a long term solution.

For my PCT section hike this summer I have a pair of Saucony Peregrine trail running shoes, and will wear much thinner socks.  My only concern is that I’m used to high top boots with great ankle support, and these don’t fit the bill.  That said, the Saucony’s should be very comfortable in the warm weather.

A very nice day in spite of the issues!