PCT: When Feet Rebel

Rolling into Hiker Heaven first thing on Saturday morning and fresh off eating an incredible breakfast, I was stoked to be able to take my shoes off, especially considering I knew today was a Nero and tomorrow was my very first full blown zero day. I was so excited for my feet to finally be able to take an entire day and not have to wear shoes, to be able to relax a little, & to finally soak them in a very well deserved Epsom Salt Bath. I knew I had errands to run on Sunday, needing to get a full resupply to get into Hikertown 65 miles away (3-4 days of food depending on how many zeros we take between here and there) and wanting to go into REI to look at new I soles. Again, you gotta take care of those feet of yours if you expect them to get you to Canada!

Natalie and I scoped out the perfect little tent spot under a tree and since she was spending the evening and most of the next day with her boyfriend, she just laid her stuff with mine and started doing some painting that she’s been talking about needing to do more of. I went to put my name on the shower list, grabbed a clean cotton shirt to change into to get out of my hiking clothes and went to change so I could put my clothes in the laundry. As I was sitting under the tree taking my shoes off, my feet were indeed downright elated to be able to air out and not have dirty, sweaty socks on them anymore. 

I proceeded to throw on my tevas and started running around doing my little chores around the house and soon realized my feet had actually started to swell… 

That’s so weird, my feet haven’t swollen this entire time, only my ankle in Big Bear which had gone down within two days after icing it for an evening; I figured maybe it was the heat that was causing them to swell so I just went about my day as usual.

That evening I wound up going for a Walmart run with Heather & Shire and noticed they weren’t just swollen now, they looked like I should have been in my third pregnancy trimester! My feet have literally never been so fat in my entire life. I grabbed some rash cream to help with the little bumps my feet have acquired since starting the trail nearly a month ago and hoped the swelling would go down overnight with not being on them all day. Fingers crossed!

I woke up on Sunday morning, my full blown zero day so excited to do NOTHING all day!! Well, my feet were still swollen as ever and I could barely keep my teva straps lose enough! Whenever I’d take them off, they would have swollen even further, so much so I’d have imprints on my feet of where my straps would go.

This went on all day Sunday and then again on Monday. After having a chance to talk to my mom, I ended up taking some Benadryl to see if maybe they were swelling due to some kind of an allergic reaction to something. So Sunday afternoon after getting back from our all-too-filling Mexican food run, I took a few Benadryl and a few ibuprofen, repeating this again as I was crawling into my sleeping bag for the evening.

When I woke up the next morning, the swelling had gone down but only slightly. I then vowed to myself I was going to elevate them all morning, soak them in an Epsom salt bath as soon as the weather warmed up and was going to stay off them as much as humanly possible. 

I laid in the guest house with Adam all morning with my feet propped up on far too many pillows but there was nobody else on there so it didn’t really matter. 

As soon as I’d had as much rest as my legs could possibly take, I walked a lap around the property to stretch out my muscles and then plopped myself on the deck for a bit, chatting with Overstock and a few other hikers as my feet sat in an Epsom salt bath. Thank God my feet didn’t hurt because if they did I’d be seriously concerned about the swelling not going down! I did end up taking another dose or two of Benadryl and by early afternoon, I was starting to get my toes back which I was thrilled about!

Overall, my feet were still swollen but it was starting to recede so I was calming down a little. I spent the rest of the day on Monday keeping my feet up or even with my knees as much as possible and would reevaluate again come the evening since Natalie and I took another Nero on Monday so that Overstock would have a chance to run to REI herself and could then hike out with us once the worst of the day’s heat passed.

I soaked my feet in another 2 Epsom salt baths throughout the day on Monday but my muscles were getting restless for the trail so I couldn’t spent another day lounging around, it was just too much of a change for my legs to hike hardly anything for 4 days!!! A total of less than 20 miles for 4 day! That’s normally less than what I do in ONE day on the trail. 

When 430pm FINALLY rolled around, my legs were all too thrilled to finally be doing something worthwhile! We took it slow, only shooting for a few miles before setting up camp for the night, 5.3 miles actually. I was terrified to see my feet after going up hills for a few miles and slowly pulled my shoes off and then my shoes.

MY FEET WERE BACK TO NORMAL! I could see my blood veins popping again, I had all 10 distinct toes again.

‘You guys, my feet are back! I can see my blood veins again!’ I exclaimed to Overstock, Adam, & Natalie, so happy to have my feet back & to see there wasn’t anything to worry about. 

‘Maybe it was just circulation that your feet were needing, you’ve been off them for a while maybe they just didn’t have the proper circulation while we were there,’ explained Natalie. And it makes total sense & it’s probably exactly what it was. 

But seriously, my feet freak out when I take a few days to relax a little, giving them a chance to breathe and air out and enjoy being clean, and they rebel and swell like nobody’s business.

Low and behold, the next day we rolled into Casa de Luna and they were great after walking another 16ish miles and as soon as I woke up on Wednesday, sure enough, they were back to being swollen which means I get fat feet all day today, too! But I will end up walking on them more today so I’m hoping the circulation will help keep some swelling down. 

When feet rebel against taking time to relax, you end up looking like a woman in her third trimester about to pop. My body doesn’t like not being on the trail, and I’m so happy about it. It just goes to show it’s not only my heart that’s on the trail, but my physical being as well. I can’t ask for anything more than a body that wants to work for this life as much as my heart wants to travel via my feet.

I’m so thankful for swollen feet that un-swell as soon as they’re back in their trail runners doing what they do best, taking my through some downright beautiful places, and the best is yet to come! 

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