I’ve been asked many times along my journey what it is like to walk mile after mile, day after day while pulling 85+ pounds behind me. Well, the truth is, when the roads are flat I can walk for miles without it bothering me a great deal. On those types of roads the hot sun constantly beating down on me is really my only problem. I just have to make sure I carry and drink plenty of water. The hills of Arkansas and Missouri are a totally different matter. Nothing can totally prepare you for walking up and down these kinds of mountains.
The stress on your body and the pain that comes with pulling that kind of a load up these mountains is hard to describe. Muscles hurt that I didn’t even know I had. My upper back muscles literally scream at me to stop about two hours after I start each day. While most big rig drivers do their best to move to the other side of the road when they see me, often times they can’t and walking into their wind draft makes things even more challenging. By law I’m required to walk into ongoing traffic so naturally you are going to experience wind draft on a continual basis. I just focus on putting one foot in front of the other, step after step, mile after mile. When the pain becomes overwhelming I simply stop and rest until I feel I can go on. I pretty sure I am going to lose the big toenail on my right foot after I stubbed it a couple of days ago. We’ll see.
Small or no road shoulders can also be a huge concern. Dead creatures on the side of the road are a constant reminder of the need to be constantly alert. Many times I just get as far off of the road as I can and allow the traffic to pass, then I’ll continue on. When I come to bridges with no shoulder I simple gather whatever energy I have left and run across the bridge, praying I can make it across before I run into any more traffic. So far so good.
I’ve always thought going downhill would give me a breather, but not on these hills. If you have any slip room in your shoes going downhill can be really painful. As your feet slide forward in your shoes or boots (by the way I’m wearing Merrell boots and I highly recommend them) your toes jam into the front of your boot and the pain can be terrible. Keeping your toenails clipped perfectly becomes a very important task, and lacing your boots so you experience as little slippage as possible becomes paramount.
So far I’ve not experienced a single blister of any kind. Merrell boots, along with industrial insoles and Darn Tough wool socks seem to be doing the trick. The wool socks are wonderful, and keep my feet dry and odor free mile after mile after mile. A trip like this can be incredibly hard on your feet, but so far mine are holding up remarkably well.
I’ll cover the food I’m eating in another blog, but for now it’s time to cook up a little lunch. To all who have supported and encouraged me along the way, Thank You! For all of you who are praying for me on a daily basis Thank You Even More… Know that your prayers are being answered in so many ways….
Always Onward I Walk,