Day 34: So Much Poodle Dog Bush

April 24, 2018


I woke up at 4:25am and shut off my alarm so it wouldn’t wake anyone. I decided to lay there another 5 minutes to let my brain wake up, and then it was 5:20 and I immediately let the air out of my pad and started throwing things together and making coffee. No time for stretching (rookie mistake). In my haste, I accidentally zipped my tent zipper right over a corner of my quilt and put a little hole in it, grrrr!!! Fortunately, Alias has some quilt repair stuff he’s gonna let me use when we get to our next stopping point. 

We were all ready to hike by 7am, but I let them all push on ahead of me. It was a mosey kind of morning for me while I tried to focus on my feet, on the path, and not be stressed about catching up. 

At our break, Sparky said that without trying or pushing too hard (ha) we were averaging 3.3 miles an hour!! He’s a big one for doing the math when it comes to mileage, estimating grades for upcoming climbs, and the like. 

Poodle Dog Bush. You’ll smell it before you see it.

Cut straight to that evening. I don’t know how many miles we did (except that I figured it out later and it’s recorded above). Actually, there are several days I spent on trail that are a complete blur to me and I have to rely on photos to tell me where I was and anything interesting I saw. Those were the days when the trail was its hottest, and dry, intermittently sandy and rocky, and I just sort of fell into a trance of pain and concentration and trying not to concentrate on the pain. I know we hiked through a couple of burned areas and there was a ton of Poodle Dog Bush leaning into the trail. So that was fun.

I started taking after Ghosthiker and actually washing my feet in the evening instead of just wiping them with a wet bandana or baby wipes. I designated a gallon-sized Ziploc bag for this, filling it with about a cup of water and carefully inserting one foot, washing it and the attached leg thoroughly with a bandana, then repeated the process with my other foot. Always, the water was completely brown after washing just one leg. Out here in the desert, there is no spare water to refill the cleaning bag. 

One (mostly) clean leg.
The little gash on the left side of my foot was healing well, but you can see the blister forming underneath.

I took the Leukotape off my foot for washing and could see the hot spot turning into an enormous blister, but it was too far under the surface of my skin and I couldn’t lance it. Just touching it lightly with my finger sent pain shooting through my foot. I sat there in my tent crying silently for a few moments. I didn’t know what to do. I’d done everything I could and the blisters still kept coming. I was going to need to find a way to get some new shoes when we arrived in Agua Dulce. I couldn’t keep walking like this. Honestly, at that moment, I wanted to go home. My new hotspot was literally the size of a dime. I randomly had one bar of service so I Googled the issue and found that I may have something called metatarsalgia, where pressure on the sides of your feet results in blisters underneath, which might be helped by new shoes. Either that, or it was cancer, according to WebMD. Either way, I guess I’m probably gonna die.

Day 35: Hiker Haven at Last!

Published by rogerssj23

I'm a long-distance hiker, an audiobook producer, and an amateur writer. I live in the woods in a renovated 1972 Airstream with my Golden Retriever Zoe. Read more about my hiking adventures at

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