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Foot Care in the Desert

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    • Foot Care in the Desert

      So on this years PCT section hike I had severe foot problems. Not blisters really, more like whole sections of skin rubbing off. It wasn't my shoes and I do not normally have foot problems. The issue I am afraid was lack of cleanliness.

      The trail is dusty, needless to say, and the grit gets ground into your socks turning them into #220 sandpaper. The arches of my feet, bottom and tops of my toes were flayed.

      Normally on my hikes I work with two pair of Darn Tough socks. The ones I am wearing that day, and a pair that gets washed and dried on the back of my pack. In the desert there were few opportunities to wash because of the lack of water, so the grit just built up. In addition the salt build up on my feet grew to toxic proportions. The skin between my toes was sloughing off too. Again, no water to wash with. My feet became a bloody mess which hobbled me considerably.

      My proposed solutions for next year's desert hike:
      1) I plan on bringing some moisturizer for my feet. This should help the skin and protect against the salt buildup. I talked with another hiker who did this with good results.
      2) I plan on bringing seven pairs of socks. This should give me a fresh pair every day until I get to the next town stop. I love my Darn Tough, but I plan to switch to 'diabetic socks' next trip. I don't know if everyone is familiar with these. They are cheap, lightweight, and seamless. If I cannot wash them frequently enough, I should be able to buy more along the way.

      Let me know your thoughts on his plan.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Wow, that sounds painful.

      Did you use gaiters? On my couple of short, PCT hikes, my thought was that dirty girl gaiters were a must due to the sand/dust. They don’t totally cover the toe-end of my shoes but they do a good job of keeping out a lot of debris.
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis
    • i'm not a desert hiker -- i hate hiking in the desert -- so what do i know?

      back in the day we wore light liner socks under our ragg wool socks. i'd try a liner under your darn toughs to add another layer of protection.

      and at breaks i'd use a bandana to dust off my feet.

      anyway, that's what i'd try if google didn't exist. but since it does -- i'd be googling "socks to wear when hiking in the desert" and variations on that from now til i left.
      2,000 miler
    • Traffic Jam wrote:

      Wow, that sounds painful.

      Did you use gaiters? On my couple of short, PCT hikes, my thought was that dirty girl gaiters were a must due to the sand/dust. They don’t totally cover the toe-end of my shoes but they do a good job of keeping out a lot of debris.
      I don't wear gators. I noticed that some hikers did, some didn't. I'm not sure the hikers that didn't were any worse off, but it is something I should try.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • jimmyjam wrote:

      Wise Old Owl wrote:

      Uh no socks keep your feet dry and in sandals....

      I remember a crappy hike across the Australian desert. The winner was close to bear foot as possible.
      what about sand Spurs and cactus?
      Oh well watch this recreation and understand when they recreated it - they used boots. She was clearly in sandals. I hiked some 80 miles in Canada in Sandals.
      Only you can control your narcissism.