26 days out … Knees, Feet, Moleskin, and Duct Tape

by Jean on May 4, 2013

26 days until you all arrive in Arizona – I am getting great questions from the hikers!

1.  Knees issues?  My knees are fine/injury free in everyday life, but I have found that the hike can aggravate the best of knees.  The first 6 downhill miles are steep, 20% + grade.  We put trucks in low gear for a 6% grade on the highway, so keep in mind what this can do to your legs.

I wear compression-type, pull on, knee bandages, $20 at a grocery store.  They remind me to be  cautious at the beginning when we are moving so fast and downhill seems so easy because gravity is our friend.  If you strain your knees on the downhill you will feel it 6 hours later when you begin to climb up.

2.  Feet issues?  Now is the time to fish or cut bait with your shoes.  Several  people have shoe issues and if your shoes are giving you blisters, killing your arches, etc then you have been given a second chance to get better shoes.

Shoes that hurt your feet in training will likely destroy your feet in the Canyon.  Add in the swelling, heat, dirt, and intensity of the hike and a small issue now will turn into a disaster  on the trail.   This is exactly why you train in your gear, to find out problems when there is still time to fix them.

3.  What is the first sign of a blister and what is “Moleskin”?   While hiking if your foot feels “warm”, if you think your sock might be bunched up, if you might have a rock in your shoe, anything at all – STOP, look, and apply Moleskin.  Moleskin is sold in grocery stores in big squares, you will need to cut it into shapes with scissors at home, and then take it with you on the hike.   It is adhesive padding that you should apply to your feet at the first sign of a foot issue.

It is far better to stop and do preventative things on the trail than “wait and see” or wait to “check it at the next stop”.  Your only chance to stop injury is to listen to your feet, tell your friends to stop, take off your shoes and wrap up the sore areas.

4.  Duct tape:  We learned in 2011 that a little duct tape can fix a lot of issues on the trail.  Whigm’ had strips of duct tape wrapped on his poles.  That stuff is amazing, he could unravel it and he fixed poles, shoes, etc for our group and other hikers all day long.  It takes up no room in your pack, and you never know when you might need it.

5.  Equipment Checklist – Read it again.  Lay out your gear, and make sure you have everything on this list.  There are reasons why each thing is mandatory, truly.  If you don’t have the things on the list, you will not hike for your own safety and you are going to spend 10 hours riding in a luggage van instead of hiking 2 days in the Grand Canyon!

Keep sending me your questions, problems, and concerns!


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