You may recall that I May Be Stupid After All. While testing my limits I overdid it and ended up losing about 2.5mm of the well-conditioned skin on the ball of my foot.
Yesterday was my first hike since then.
It’s been about 2½ weeks. Early on during that time I wore a bandage, but it didn’t take too long before I was able to resume my normal day-to-day activities like food or other shopping (or even my not-so-normal activities like testifying at the Statehouse). I was fine on smooth surfaces.
I even occasionally walked on our (pretty) rough driveway, but again carefully. The skin was quite thin and pretty brittle.
I’d forgotten just how things must feel to those who do not regularly go barefoot. They really are tenderfeet.
By yesterday I thought I was ready for another hike. The place I went to was Shallenberger State Nature Preserve. This is the place I always recommend for anybody just wanting to start barefoot hiking. The trails themselves are almost perfect: they have mostly dirt, with leaf litter and a bit of twiggery and the occasionally pebble mixed in. That kind of trail is pretty easy to walk on, even with untrained feet, but it also provides just enough of a challenge to provide the stimulus that the sole needs to develop (or in my case, re-develop). And besides, Shallenberger has interesting terrain.
Shallenberger sits on two of the Three Knobs. Those two are the ones on the right in this picture:
While yesterday wasn’t as nice as it was the day I took that picture, it was still an ideal 45°, though cloudy. Wonderful hiking weather, and perfect for rehabbing the ball of my sole.
All I really had to do was take it carefully. What I did was walk more slowly that usual, and make sure I placed my foot straight down and lifted it straight up. It is scraping or sliding the foot that has the greatest chance of tearing the skin. Normally, I don’t worry about that, but with the new skin, doing it right was of prime importance.
The trails there allow a pretty short ¾ mile loop, or somewhat longer loops and side-trails. I let my feet tell me how far I should go.
I needn’t have worried. Everything felt great.
Right inside the park is Allen Knob:
The trail skirts around it, and then I continued on to Ruple Knob. From there I caught a nice view back at both Allen Knob and the knob that’s not part of the park, Beck’s Knob. Here’s a panoramic (stitched) shot of that:
One nice thing about this time of year is that you can see through the trees to see the lay of the land (mostly).
From atop Ruple Knob, you can also see U.S. Route 22:
That is the old Zane’s Trace, built in the late 1700s by Ebenezer Zane. They’ve improved it a bit since then. The city of Lancaster, hidden in the distance to the left, was founded where Zane’s Trace crossed the Hocking River.
From here I headed back to Allen Knob, which has a path up the back to the top. From here, one has a better view of Beck’s Knob:
Finally, here’s another view of the top of Allen Knob:
If you go back to the first picture, this is the close-up of the outcropping on the right. (I’m standing on the outcropping to the left.)
All in all, it was a nice hike. The new skin held up well over about 2 miles, which was just about the right distance to go. It’s still a little sensitive, but it is well on it’s way to being restored to its former glory.
This afternoon we’ll see how it does with tennis. I will need to keep in mind not to overdo it; I am trying to rehab it, after all.