First trip: Blistered and bruised (recovery)

The trip was amazing yet amazingly brutal. The desert appears the same but there is always something different…guess backpacking is a contradiction in a sense. We have all the comforts and amenities we could want at home… yet we stuff as much as we can carry on our backs, escape convenience and leave our worlds behind. We walk to nowhere really, find a place to camp, and lay on the ground. We try to become as close to one with nature as we are comfortable being. I learned a lot during this experience. The scenery and landscape is exceptional. Dirt brown with drops of green sprouting from as far as the eye can see. I’m inspired by the rocks and want to climb each and every rock face…the boulders are precariously placed on each other like a kid stacks dominoes. I’m fascinated beyond…I have more pictures of rocks than anything…except for pics of myself.

Food…and more food! That’s about all I cared about. I do not eat a lot usually but I couldn’t eat enough. Lesson learned. I’m still eating like crazy 4 days later.Β  And my pack….I sigh as I write this…was the worst part of the trip. Not quite sure what the problem was at first cuz once I think I figured it out, it was too late. I was in horrible pain…bruised. I kept having to push the pack up off my butt to sit higher in order for it not to hurt so much, but no matter how tight I make the hip belt, it would slide back down. The guy at REI says I’m scrawny, so I wonder if I will always have this issue. Although it hurt to carry, I trekked on through the pain…kept going and going. I love my pack but think the size is too long for me. My hips I guess did their job because they took the brunt of the abuse but i feel what I went through was beyond “normal”. I have read other people with similar issues, so I know there are ways to deal with my problem fairly easily. Will be reviewing my pack in another post to come.

Camp was welcoming to say the least. My sleeping pad, insanely comfortable. The shots of whiskey, warmed me. The food…what can I say…yum! Just 12 hours out and I cherished things I would complain about before. Doesn’t take long to realize what we take for granted.

The next day was tough but I loved every minute of it. Slimms took about 10 lbs of my weight to help with my hip issues. It worked. I was in some discomfort but not stabbing pain anymore. By the end though, my feet were done for. I wasn’t quite sure the extent of my issues but the toes on my right foot were a problem. My big toe on my right foot has some kind of blister underneath the nail that is still oozing. Swollen and a lot of pressure still but not a lot of pain. I love my TrekStas so I’m hoping a change of socks will alleviate this issue.

My muscles were worked but never got sore. The contact points between body and pack where my main issues but besides the mark I still have on my left hip, they do not hurt at all….can’t say they wouldn’t if I stuck a pack on right now though πŸ˜‰ Feet feel ok besides the swollen stupid toe 😦 Just would have never imagined how hard an overnight trip could be on my body. I think we pushed passed our limits the first day so that could be the cause to a few of my sore spots.

5 days in Yosemite…I’m gonna be an animal πŸ™‚

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9 thoughts on “First trip: Blistered and bruised (recovery)

  1. As usual, I’m totally enjoying getting your posts in my in-box. You know, I had the same problem with my packs years ago, until I got a a pack that’s specifically designed for women – it’s a Deuter, and I haven’t had unwarranted pain for years with it. But I assume yours is a woman’s pack, right? It may simply be that if you’re slight (or scrawny!) you shouldn’t carry more than a quarter of your weight. Or, try adjusting the top straps so that the weight is distributed differently. Probably you know all this, but shooting pains just sounds like no fun!

    Thanks for the wonderfully honest posts.

    • Hi! Thanks for the kind words πŸ™‚ We are glad you are here to visit us. I do have a woman’s pack. When looking at packs online I figured I needed the small but went to REI and the guy there recommended the medium. I’m tall but I’m more legs than anything but since I had no clued what I was doing, I went with his suggestion.

      The pack has an adjustable back, so I was able to shorten the length. This did help a lot but I was too far done already. I tried adjusting every strap I could for miles, and nothing was helping. I felt like the loser of the group because I was honestly pissed and complaining…that is not me at all though.

      We have decided I should carry less weight as well but I am not exactly happy about this. I don’t want to put my burden on someone else…but if Slimms is willing, I will relinquish what I can to him. πŸ™‚ I will be going back to REI and getting more help and maybe a smaller sized pack. πŸ™‚

  2. I’m really sorry about your pack! 😦 I do wonder if length is the issue. Or maybe westerner54 is right and the weight was too much. I hope you can get this resolved, though, because it’s hard to think about anything else in a situation like that! Good luck!

    • Hi and thanks! I am currently working on getting the issue resolved or at least make it a manageable thing. I do feel length was an issue and apparently the weight was as well. Not enough cushion to help with the contact points on the hips πŸ™‚ I swear I thought my bones would cut through my skin.

  3. “Doesn’t take long to realize what we take for granted.”

    That is one great thing about backpacking; it really impresses upon you how easy we have it in these modern times of convenience and abundance. It’s very easy to forget that or have it go unnoticed.

    In ancient times, say, for instance, in Greece, the inhospitable Mediterranean environment bred tough, tenacious people or as stated in the Hippocratic corpus, men β€œby nature keen and eager to work, headstrong, self-willed and prone to fierceness, rather than timidity.”

    It is a view of humanity which I can appreciate and to a minuscule degree relate to, as one that has spent many long hours alone under a searing sun or winter’s chill hiking rugged backcountry trails, straining beneath the weight of a loaded pack, and having relatively scant little to sustain me against the savage indifference of nature. The strenuous exertion, and the denial of plush comfort, convenience and the immediate availability of the tastiest foods impresses upon me my good fortune. Such experiences, as relatively easy as they are, really, breed a healthy respect for the plight of the vast bulk of humanity that throughout history have struggled against nature to merely survive.

    it is good to leave for a time the artificial bubble of civilization we are swaddled in and experience the natural world. It helps us remain grounded in reality, I think, and to not take all we have for granted.

    • Thanks for this reply…as a modern society, we are coddled…cushioned most of the time from the harshness of nature and the day to day life that a lot of the world still lives in. The “old lady” is beautiful but unforgiving. I sit here now…comfy office chair, sipping my coffee, replying to you from this lovely little invention that allows us to share pieces of our lives with others far and wide…getting away from it all, even if for a bit humbles me.

  4. First of all, very nicely stated, Jack. I think our temporary suffering on the trail links us to the past…….we really only have a smattering of what the pioneers went through.
    Fall Gal, I think I know your problem……the hip belt buckle is not holding. I have an Osprey also and mine does the same thing. The slipping causes everything to drift down on your butt, as you mentioned. Reducing total pack weight will help but it won’t cure the systemic problem. Do you also feel the shoulder straps digging into your shoulders over time? That, of course, is due to the load slipping below your hips, leaving your shoulders to do all of the work.
    When you get healed up, take your loaded pack back out for another test and focus on this area. REI or Osprey should make this right for you, if indeed it is the buckle.
    Good luck and thanks for posting about your adventures.
    Marty

    • Thank you for your input πŸ™‚ I will be doing just that..heading back to REI and getting another fitting…maybe have my hip belt molded. Hopefully it works because yes, I was cinching up every thing I could and the pressure points became inflamed beyond. I would use my shoulders to take the pressure off my hips and then vice versa…and constantly adjusting left a bruise and mark on my lower back. I was prepared for uncomfortable but not what was happening.

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