Posted by: GeekHiker | May 6, 2010

Off The Trail

First of all, let me just say: life ain’t all bad.

I’m still working.  Still going out and doing stuff.  Still meeting new and interesting people.  Still have a roof over my head and food on the table.

Whatever little complaints I may have from day to day (including this week at work, which proved to be exceptionally annoying) life, on the balance, is pretty good.

On the other side of that balance, though, sits one very heavy weight: I haven’t been on the trail in over a month.

In April, I did a loop trail up in the Angeles.  It was a good hike, something like ten miles, through varied terrain and fauna.  I started a post and started going through the photos, but haven’t finished.  Every time I work on it, I’m reminded of how that hike ended: with a remarkable amount of pain in my feet.

Of course, sore feet at the end of a long day on the trail is nothing new for hikers.  Goes with the territory.  The difference here was when I woke up the next day and found that, instead of having that sore-but-good post-hike feeling, I could barely walk.

Which was certainly different.

The symptoms have abated somewhat over the past few weeks, but most mornings I still wake up and find that first walk to the bathroom to be sore.  It gets better during the day, then comes back at night.  Being the cautious type of guy that I am, particularly after my bout with plica syndrome, I’ve been laying low and avoiding the trail.

Today I made an appointment to see the doctor.  I’m sure some will say I waited too long but, lest I remind you: I’m a guy.  The fact that I made an appointment at all is significant.

Truthfully, though, based on the symptoms I’ve experienced so far, I don’t think it’s going to make a lot of difference.  I’m fairly sure I have (in my left foot and, to a lesser degree, in my right) a case of plantar fasciitis and, like most inflammatory conditions, the recommended treatment usually involves the passage of time.

Even recognizing all that, though, the idea of staying off the trail for an extended period of time.  As I’m sure we all know by now, being on the trail on a regular basis is pretty central to my being.  Hell, sometimes I think it’s what keeps me sane in this insane town.

Even though I’ve tried to at least get outdoors doing things like reading in the park or lunching in the Santa Monicas, it’s not quite the same.  There’s something missing.  That feeling of “getting away from it all,” even for a short while.  The exhilaration of walking past the sign at the trailhead that says something like “Cool Destination, 4.2 miles.”

I’ll also admit that I’m frustrated, since after years of being reasonably healthy, it seems that suddenly I’m afflicted with one condition after another: falling on my right knee, plica syndrome, plantar fasciitis, broken toes, etc.  It’s as though, rather than gradually finding my body getting older (which is inevitable anyway), it’s all happening at the same time.

Particularly annoying is the fact that, not only am I not a couch potato, all the conditions I’m getting are an impediment to my continuing to not be a couch potato.


So, I’ll stay off the trail.  Bide my time until I can go out and not re-inflame the tissues.  It’s the best course towards a quicker recovery.

But in my windowless office today, in the middle of a particularly annoying week at work, I looked through my co-worker’s window at the blue sky outside, and yearned.  Yearned to put on my hat, apply liberal amounts of sunscreen, strap my pack on my back, put fresh batteries in the camera, and lace up my boots.

I yearned for the trail.



  1. I get your frustration and yearning! Time is the best medicine. You will recover and be back on the trail before you know it!

  2. Sigh. I get it.

  3. I have plantar fasciitis from time to time. It helps to rub your feet in the morning and stretch ’em out before you hop out of bed.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling penned in, buddy.

  4. Age creeps up slowly and then, when you least expect, it pounces.

    My issue has been tendonitis. Stretching, like Miss McC suggests should help to speed things along.

  5. You have to rest! Because you are old and that’s what old people need.

    The voice of experience tells you! xoD

    Seriously, you can manage to enjoy a a couple of weeks of rest, I’m sure.

  6. Are you able to bike? If so, maybe a little mountain biking; at least you’d be on a trail. . . .

  7. wait, we’re supposed to stretch before we get up? Dang, that’s what I’m doing wrong!!!

  8. HD – Hope things go well at the Doc!

    • Er, I mean GH – is it possible to stretch the brain also??

      • Ha! I wondered if I’d forgotten an appointment.

  9. GH~ I must be a guy, too, I hate going to the doctor and unless I am bleeding profusely, I won’t be bothered to go. Perhaps doing yoga might help? Hatha is really good for balance and strengthening, things that will you help you while you’re off the trail for a bit.

  10. I’m sure there is a Wii Hiker. Or you could invent one, be rich, and buy new feet. Just trying to help a brother out….

  11. sorry to her. just reading this made my feet hurt. but i think tcd has a great idea. and if you’re getting new feet you should opt for the bionic ones.

  12. Oh no, I’m so sorry you’re dealing with soreness and not feeling physically at your best. That’s enough to kill my “out & about” mood too. I hope you feel better soon. Does stretching help?

  13. That stinks, GH. I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re super antsy…I understand how that goes.

    No idea whether these might help, but Mr. W recently bought some Vibram toe shoes – they’re supposed to be better for your whole body when it comes to hiking and running. Maybe look into them. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  14. K – I certainly hope so!

    Char – Figured you might

    MissMcCracken – Heh, I usually crawl out of bed so late, I never have time to stretch…

    Homer-Dog – Thanks, man. Will try the stretching, I ‘spose…

    Narami – Ouch! LOL Unfortunately, it could last much longer than a couple of weeks…

    AbsurdBeats – Yeah, I’ve been biking at the gym, and hopefully will get back out on the trail… or at least the beach path…

    Dobegil – I know!

    Dobegil/Dobegil/HD – LOL, I was wondering where that conversation was going to go…

    Ruth – Never tried yoga, might be worth a shot…

    TheCoconutDiaries – So, what’s the get rich quick plan?

    BlakSpring – Sorry ‘bout the feet hurting. I like the bionic idea, though. Especially if they make that cool duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh sound…

    Spleeness – Thanks. I miss the trail!

    MelHeth – Very, VERY antsy! I’ve heard of them, but I suspect I need arch support…

  15. *blergh*
    Try something rolly under your feet while watching the tube (rolling pin would work). I have older person foot shuffle when I get up but haven’t gone to the doc; you are way ahead of me!

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