A full day with Fuller

It’s already 44 minutes past my bedtime but I’m hoping to jot down at least a few notes from today’s activities as it felt like an eventful one (don’t they all?). My alarm went off at 4:30am and soon afterwards I heard clicking coming down the trail. It sounded like hiking poles with my bandana still covering my ears but when I looked up to see who was coming down the trail so early I saw something much larger than a person. As it was still mostly dark I couldn’t make out the shape until it got much closer, then soon realised the clicking was the hooves of a large deer. It didn’t even notice me lying there, and simply went about its morning stroll straight past my sleeping bag and over the other side of the hill. Deer are one of my favourite animals to see out here and definitely the ones I’ve had the fortune to see up close.

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After watching a spectacular sunrise whilst eating a pop tart for breakfast, I packed up my things and headed to the first water source a couple of miles down the trail. I had less than half a litre left and was looking forward to filling up and making my morning coffee. On the way to the lake I bumped into Fuller and another hiker named Matt who were camped close by. Fuller was about to make coffee, perfect, so I headed to get some extra water while the kettle boiled. The water in the lake was very unappealing, but luckily two women hikers I met heading into Sierra City were camped there and offered me some additional water they had already collected and treated. My timing was perfect!

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After a good hit of coffee Fuller and I hit the trail and actually hiked together for some time chatting about the early days of the trail, UB’s SoBo hike and life off trail. It was the first time I’ve hiked with anyone since UB and it was a nice to have someone to chat to while the miles ticked over in the background. There were a number of water sources just off trail today and a few long stretches in between so we had to pay close attention to what was coming up. The first of which was a spring just off the trail to the right where the two ladies who gave me water this morning were sitting. Fuller and I filled up a litre each. He made Gatorade and I made my new Carnation Breakfast and granola mix. When I told him the story about the deer this morning, saying I thought it was a hiker coming down the trail because of the clicking sound of hiking poles, he exclaimed ‘why was the deer using hiking poles?’ I was in fits of laughter so many time today.

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We hiked separately to the second spring where Fuller stopped for lunch and I continued on, hoping to find higher ground for my break with a view and preferably phone signal. As it often does, the trail provided me with a large climb straight from the A Tree spring to a nice shady spot over looking the valley with 4G! You little ripper! Here I made lunch and started my ‘Insights into thru hiking’ series. Then Fuller caught up and we watched one of the funniest YouTube videos Fuller had recommended after a conversation we had about my waning excitement for my resupply food. The clip was of a Norwegian called Alexandre Gamme digging out his final food cache on his unsupported expedition to the South Pole and back (he completed the first ever return trip alongside two Aussie boys!). It’s all in Norwegian (Vidar you can translate for us) but it’s absolutely hilarious!

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=vC8gJ0_9o4M

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I had to pop a blister on my heel at lunch, and once I started walking again, the pain of it rubbing on my shoe became unbearable. So much so, I had to strip off both shoes and wear my trusty purple Frocs for the next 3 miles until water. My mood turned into one of frustration as soon as I started walking again, as the memories of the first painful 700 miles came flooding back. I took a fall on a steep dusty slope about 15 minutes in and had numerous sharp rocks pierce the soles of my feet. When Bandleader past me I was super grumpy, and when he told me he was aiming to do 30 miles a day using the 10 by 10 method I simply responded ‘good luck with that’. Sorry Bandleader.

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When I did reach the next descent stream Fuller wasn’t far behind, so I called for a coffee break to regroup and lighten the mood. He accepted. It was during this break that we discussed an interesting psychological theory in which people perform better when they believe they are performing better than the average. This applies to thru hiking and the frustration I had felt the other day when being passed by a faster hiker when you think you’re hiking fast. It’s not a race out here, but it’s a constant battle to hike as efficiently as possible and maintain a steady pace. If ten hikers passed you in a day, you would definitely start to question your own methods and lose confidence in your ability. Whereas when you pass other hikers, it usually gives you an additional push to maintain the speed at which you are travelling. Bizarre hiking psychology.

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Before departing our coffee break Fuller and I discussed what to do with my blisters and decided using second skin with breathable tap over the top to keep it in place would do the trick. Sadly it did not, and during the next few miles it all became too painful again that I switched back to the Frocs. There were so many tree trunks over the trail and painful stones that I started to go a little nutty.

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Thankfully and the next break site as I was about to get out my tiny little pocket knife and take on the heels of my shoes, Fuller arrived. He knew from the change in my footprints exactly where I’d swapped to the Frocs and he insisted before I do damage to my shoes to give the tape he used on his blisters one last try. We needed to drain both heels again, then lathered on the tape. He then gave me a pair of his toe socks to wear as an additional layer to my regular socks. For the next three miles this actually worked!

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It was already 8pm when we began these last few miles to Whiskey Spring where the dribble of water was enough to cook dinner and camp with. We bumped in Otter there too and camped in the first flat spot near the spring as the light of the day quickly slipped away. It’s around 11pm and once again way past my bedtime, but a descent 23 mile day competed none the less.

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19 thoughts on “A full day with Fuller

  1. Hi Rozanne,

    Sorry to hear about your recurrent blisters. After the mosquitoes I’m beginning to think that ‘if it is not one thing it is another’ and that the blisters are the ‘clouds in the silver lining’ on the PCT trail. Sunrise was fabulous and the deer precious. Sounds like some interesting company as well. Overall, much more + than -.

    Donna

  2. Blisters – very sad news. Now I wonder if my feet will hold up on the long haul. There’s a solution awaiting you to get happy feet. FYI: I get a domain error message when accessing UB’s site. What’s up?

  3. Muky I had seen that video before, my God that guy is so Happy about the Food! Even if most of us don’t understand it, it is still very funny!

    Sucks about the blisters. Only thing I know is to just duct tape your heals up. Yea this really sucks when you already have blisters, but after the initial pain, you should be able to walk with them taped. I would not pull it off though, just leave it until it falls off. Put a little neosporn or something like that and a small piece of gauze and it should be OK.

  4. See if you can find someone with Leukatape or with Benzoin Tincture. Apply an oversize piece of moleskin or second skin and then secure in place with either Leukatape or another tape adhered with the Benzoin Tincture. Heals are such a hard place to keep bandages and tape in place. Try crossing the tape from the back of your ankle to the top of your forefoot. Good luck, blisters like these suck! Also, you need to be extremely careful to avoid infection which if you can apply neosporin first and then keep tightly bandaged should help in that regard.

    P.S. Glad you have had company to share your woes and have found some moments to smile.

    Also, you must be getting really close to Belden? Chester? the 1/2 way point?

      • Glad to hear it! By the way, I am taking off early tomorrow morning (Thursday) for my section hikes. I will miss you posts, but I will catch up when I am back in about 3 weeks. Just in time for you and UB to meet up at Crater Lake! 🙂
        Keep Hiking!

  5. Ha ha Rozanne the video clip of Alexander G is funny. He is so hungry arriving at the depot, not remembering what food he put there, just hoping there are some sweets and goodies.
    Then he discovers cheese doodles, your favourite Norwegian milk chocolate, some cheese and more sweets. Heaven and he is going crazy with happiness….
    Strange guys these Norwegians…
    Keep up your positive spirit dear friend!
    You are moving!
    V

  6. One thought on the Frocs and the pointy rocks, maybe try putting your shoe insoles into the Frocs for more sole thickness. Maybe a short term solution for a small part of the problem???
    Hope you feel better!
    Reno Dave

  7. (Still) just saying…you are awesome ! Rain snow sleet hail and blisters. Best thoughts and wishes and SO impressed with your ( all of your, including trail friends and compatriots ) continuing journey. Meanwhile city folks contine the daily dreary driving, so despite elements and unpleasantry the trail seems like nirvana (grass is greener). We find ourselves often thinking of how you are doing and sending good karma your way.

    All the best
    Chris.

  8. I just love reading your updates, but I’m so sorry about the blisters 😦 …You are a really tough lady and a great inspiration. I hope your other readers blister advice works! Best of luck. I’ll be thinking of you out there. 🙂

  9. Ugh, so sorry about the blisters. 😦 What kind of socks are you using? I’ve had much better luck with smooth, thin, synthetic socks than wool ones.

    • I’m using thin Dry Max running socks which are awesome so it’s definitely the shoes! BUT I’m getting new ones very soon 🙂

  10. Rozanne,

    Lots of great feedback on your blisters (Beekeeper). If you need anything that you might not be able to purchase in the next town for your feet, let me know I could FedEx it and have it waiting for you. I’ve tried a lot of things including the toe socks and sometimes different things work at different times and everyone is different. Keep trying various options until you find one that helps for that moment.

    Even new shoes the same as your original ones could cause problems, so you need to experiment to find some comfort. If you’re out of ideas let me know. You’re developing quite a following so you will probably get a lot of feedback.

    Sorry you’re having problems, it’s hard enough on the trail but you are doing great!

    Tim

  11. Hi darling, such great photos of the sun rise and how lovely to meet up with a deer. The U tube video is hilarious, I have never seen any body so excited about food. So sorry to hear about your blisters. Which shoes did you wear before? What would happen if you don’t drain the blister. Maybe wrap it up and it will become cushioned and won’t open and rub. I hope that you will find a solution. Your feet are so important. I wish you strength, success and health. Love you, Mutti xxoo

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