I have fallen behind in my posts and I apologize. However, I have so much to talk about it will probably take at least a couple of posts to catch up, so am I forgiven for first the drought followed by a flood of posts?
I would like to thank Zach Davis (The Good Badger) once again for his 2012 thru-hiker sponsorship contest. I was able to make my video and explain what I’m doing and get some publicity for my fundraiser for the animals at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. I’ve somehow already raised money even though I haven’t even started hiking yet! You people are awesome! Also, thanks to you I won third place in the contest and was thrilled to receive the dry bags, e-book of Zach’s book Appalachian Trials, and a special note from the Good Luck Turtle. With good wishes of luck from the Good Luck Turtle I know I can complete my thru-hike, now!
I drove up north and took a few days off to spend with family at the end of February. My Dad had another medical procedure on his heart and this time it was successful! What a relief. Now that he’s recovering so well I feel a little easier about leaving for six months. While I was in Salt Lake I went to REI and bought those Keen Voyageurs I had been eyeing. Sadly, they make my feet hurt and I will have to return those as well. Sigh. I have almost everything else figured out, but not the most important piece of gear, my footgear.
I visited a local outfitter called Willow Canyon, run by Charlie and Susan, and they may have an answer for me. Susan measured my feet with a Brannock (spelling?) device and found something surprising. My arch lengths are different. Now, I have had my feet measured many times and they always come out as an 8.5 in length. Typically this is the shoe size that the employee then tells me I should wear. However, I have been wearing size 10.5 and sometimes even size 11 shoes for years, so I always have to convince people to bring me the larger shoes. I assumed this was because I have wide feet, although nobody ever measured until Susan did. Yes, they are D widths, so they are wide, but I had never even heard of an arch length or had mine measured until Susan measured me. My left foot had an arch length of 10.5 (which explains why I always buy that size) but what is unusual for her to see is that my right foot arch length is about 9. So I guess the surprise is that they are so different. I’m not really sure how this will help me find the right shoes, unless it means I have to buy two pairs of shoes, in a 10.5 and a 9 and then take a shoe from each pair? Or maybe get the 10.5 shoes and put a size 9 insole into the right one, but then wouldn’t it slide around? Well, I may have to do some experimenting, but now at least I know why I have difficulty finding shoes that work for me and why it’s always my right sole that gets hot spots and my right knee that hurts unless I’m in my Vibram Five Fingers. The arch of a 10.5 shoe fits my left foot perfectly but hits in the wrong spot on my right foot. Susan recommended a brand of shoe called Treksta, and she ordered me a pair in my size (that would be a 10.5 for now). I’ll keep my fingers crossed and I’ll let you know how they work out.