Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills man who went hiking in N.H.

“Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire — a 10-mile round trip — and blisters were no surprise.”-Source: Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills man who went hiking in N.H. – The Boston Globe

Blisters are not acceptable.  They are serious stuff.

I have hiked approximately 6,000 miles over the past decade without a blister.  In fact, my last blister was a decade ago back in 2007 when I ditched my expensive Goretex, “waterproof” Merrill Phaser Peaks somewhere in North Carolina and replaced them with much lighter ventilated trail runners.

Then, in 2010, I attended a foot and shoe workshop in California at the start of my 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail hike where the presenter guaranteed us hopeful thru-hikers that we’d all fall victim to blisters.  The presenter shall go unnamed, but she was wrong.

I’m giving a new workshop presentation on Aug. 6 at VIEWS FROM THE MAINE WOODS-THE 41st APPALACHIAN TRAIL CONSERVANCY CONFERENCE
AUGUST 4 – 11, 2017 AT COLBY COLLEGE | WATERVILLE, MAINE.  I’ll be speaking about mental and physical techniques to assist the aging hiker in  getting out of the rocking chair and staying on the trail and

One of the topics I’ll be covering is foot preparation and care.  One of the  best set of instructions for getting your feet ready for a hike is found in Colin Fletcher’s “The Complete Walker IV”- seven pages worth.  Dig it out if you have it.   The most obvious but little practiced (and least heeded) recommendation is to take a long day’s slog with a fully laden pack before the actual hike.

I will be going into more detail about feet during my presentation but the gist of it is to reduce moisture inside the shoe as well as in the sock, and purchase a shoe that allows for one’s foot to swell, by buying hiking footwear at least full size larger than usual. Properly trimming toenails, sock rotation, pre-treating for athlete’s foot, strengthening ankles to reduce turning them, and making a habit of airing out one’s feet and socks are all on that list.