After a shower and a night of sleep, my hair sticks straight up – all four inches. I look like a cartoon, and I miss my long hair. Short hair is easier – especially on this voyage – but I feel like I’m in someone else’s body. This isn’t what I look like.
Dad makes potatoes and scrambled eggs with kale for breakfast. I study maps and hiker notes for the next section of trail. Yikes. With multiple poodle dog bush warnings, a few recent burns, and a road walk around the Endangered Species Closure, the coming days may be a challenge.
I organize my resupply. Again, I seem to have way too much food. And again, all of it will probably be gone by the time I collect my next box. I eat a pint of chocolate coconut milk ice cream mixed with the last of my peanut butter. I take a nap. I order new shoes to be sent to our next town stop. My current shoes have covered over 400 miles (they had a few dozen miles on them before I started this trip). I’d like to replace them before they completely wear out and cause more trouble for my feet.
My feet. My feet are sore and tight. My right foot hasn’t recovered from our high mileage hike to Silverwood Lake. I lay on the couch and Google “arch pain.” Oh, no. Am I developing plantar fasciitis? My symptoms match many of those listed, including pain that’s worse upon rising in the morning and after periods of sitting. One day of rest has not been enough to relieve this pain. I’m afraid to make the issue – whatever it is – even worse by hiking on a painful foot.
I agonize about what to do tomorrow. Deciding whether or not to take another zero feels like a life or death decision. Maybe that’s because the life or death of my hike – and everything it represents – seems to rest on the fate of my foot. I want so badly to keep hiking. I feel like a failure for even considering taking two days off in a row. (That’ll be three days in one week! I’m already too slow!) How did my perspectives get so skewed? I hate that I’m becoming someone who feels like a failure for trying to take care of herself.
I know that the best choice I can make right now is to give my body more rest and time to heal, but it’s so hard to convince myself to stay off the trail for another day. Will one more day make any difference? What will I do if my foot still aches tomorrow night? Another day off? Hike on? I know that a pain-free PCT hike is impossible. This arch pain may nag me all the way to Canada. I’m prepared to accept that, as long as it doesn’t get any worse, and as long as no permanent damage is done. Deal?