I’m up in the north woods of Wisconsin, which afforded a chance to take a nice walk in the woods.
This is a perfect time and place to acclimate the feet.
I’ve been asked quite a bit by folks who want to go barefoot more how to do it. They say that their feet are just way too tender, and they’d like to work them up a bit. But how?
To me, walking along well-established trails is perfect. They are usually not too rugged, but they still have plenty of stimulation. You’ll feel the surface quite a bit, but the irregularities and the twigs and the roots will encourage your soles to start building up skin, and to keratinize your existing skin.
Now, the walk I took yesterday was a bit more on the challenging side, for any newcomer. Here’s a bit of what the trail looked like.
The reason is that it’s not a well-maintained trail, just a back-lot trail that is barely marked. It’s fine for my well-conditioned feet, but I wouldn’t want a tenderfoot to start on it.
As you can see, we really haven’t done a very good job of removing fallen trees, so they have to be clambered over. Nonetheless, the texture of stepping on the bark is just another of the joys of barefooting.
Again, it takes just a bit more care to pick one’s way along the trail.
Bonus points if you can spot the blue blaze marking the trail.
Right on the edge of the property is a multi-trunked birch, which the next door neighbors have labeled “Birch Point”.
Actually, it’s more of a summit than a point, being a local high spot in the (mostly flat) terrain.
Here’s a view from the other side, with my son brandishing a “spear” he found there.
Yes, he’s shod. He hasn’t had a chance to do much barefoot hiking lately, and the old callus is peeling off, leaving very tender skin behind. And this trail was just a little beyond what a tenderfoot should attempt.
As always, there is a wonderful set of flora in the north woods, which I showed you before in Bog-Smacked.
Here’s a mushroom patch.
And to finish up, a close-up of some wintergreen.
I should also add that hikes are a great way to work on cold acclimatization, too. The temperature during this walk was about 50°, but my feet were getting so much exercise on the varied trail surface that they didn’t even think of feeling cold.