PCT Stats: Day 105 – 111

  • Daily Mileage: 12.96
  • Starting Mile Marker: 893.67
  • Ending Mile Marker: 906.63
  • Pack Weight: ?
  • Weather: Warm but beautiful!
  • Health: Right heal / arch seem to fit classic plantar fasciitis symptoms. Rest is necessary…. also destroyed from last few weeks.

The Sierra Nevadas: You Ruthless and Beautiful Bitch!

I came into Mammoth Lakes via Red’s Meadow tired, dirty and injured. My right heal bruising / plantar fasciitis has become a real issue. The first few days at the hostel I laid in bed all day and rested and caught up on season 6 of Game of Thrones …. my body needed the rest!

This is the most tired I’ve been on the trail, period. The Sierra Nevadas are exhausting emotionally, spiritually and physically due to elevation, big climbs and descents and extra weight carried with a bear can and more food than usual. I frequently spoke with others that were not only getting destroyed physically, but that had emotional ups and downs to match their physical exhaustion. I know I did.

Quilt Change, Finally!

Apart from the shoe change below, I hope the final and last big gear change out of my trip will be ditching my Enlightened Equipment Revelation 20° quilt for a Katabatic Equipment Sawatch 15°F Quilt. The Revelation has been the single biggest failure in terms of gear for me for the PCT. A very strong statement, but dozens of cold nights engender a special kind of hate!

The vertical baffles (marketed as “Shiftless Baffles”) made every day a struggle to redistribute the down that migrated away from my torso every night. Some days I could get the down to stay, but most nights I had cold spots, cold nights and woke up frequently because of down shifting …. and this was with temps in the 40s, thankfully I didn’t actually have any real cold weather. Good riddance!

Plantar Fasciitis Represent!

I’ve ordered a Strassburg Sock and new Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoes to see if they help with the plantar fasciitis (arch and heal pain / bruising) I’ve been battling for the better part of 900 miles in one shape or another. I started the trail with Salomon XA Pro 3D trail runners, a very stiff shoe as everything I read indicated that plantar is best treated with stiff shoes.

I also started with three insoles I was experimenting with: Montrail Insoles (least rigid / supportive), Green Superfeet Insoles (medium rigidity / support) and Sole Thin Sport Custom Insoles (seemed more rigid / supportive than others). The Green Superfeet were giving me issues, so I tried the more supportive Soles, which immediately made my issues worse, so went back to the Superfeet. I was hesitant to try to Montrails as everything I read called for MORE support for the issues I was having, not less. With nothing to lose, I eventually tried the Montrails and my foot pain was gone in hours….. or so I thought.

When my Salomon’s wore out around mile 500, REI didn’t have that model in my size, so I went with Brooks Cascadia 11s, a less rigid shoe. While the shoe was super narrow and had questionable quality, they gave me no issues for 250 miles apart from heal bruising in right heal when I attempted to use Green Superfeet. Simply using the default insoles solved the problem immediately.

For the last 200 miles I’ve been back in Salomon’s and have continued to have right heal pain. I even went with no insoles up Whitney, but descending became so painful, I began using the Montrail insoles again, which immediately relieved the pain. I thought I had found the perfect combo and sent the other two insoles home, but the pain persisted.

Will the Altra Lone Peak 3.0s Do the Trick?

My conclusion is that it’s time for a shoe change as the Salomon’s may be too rigid for my feet, especially now that my feet are much stronger than when I started the trail. I’ve also noticed that if I try tying the laces tighter than normal for a more snug fit seems to aggravate symptoms as well … so maybe my foot is not being given enough freedom to move, the Lone Peak 3.0s will help me test this theory!

As usual, I’m going to be focusing on my body mechanics, gait, walking gently and my hope is that I can manage and overcome plantar. I think I will be fine, but I’m nervous once again that my thru my be in jeopardy….