I like weekends, and if I plan them right, I can go an entire 3 days without touching shoes. I already spend 23 hours a day barefoot, but the weekends offer a nice challenge to bump that time up to 24. I like to make the most of my weekends, and this past weekend I went camping at Tripoli Road Campground in the White Mountains.
The sites at Tripoli Road are first come first serve, and we found ourselves a great site. We had expected rain based on the weather forecast, so we got busy and collected down branches for firewood, enough to last the weekend. There was a leftover tarp at the site, which we used to keep the wood nice and dry.
We were in and out of the woods, and I had to be somewhat careful because there were old rusted car parts laying around. Though I didn’t step on anything sharp, I did end up stepping in feces (probably human, from prior campers). I’ll admit, it wasn’t the first time I’ve stepped in feces barefoot. But no biggie, it washes off.
After setting up my hammock, which I love sleeping in, we had some nice steak over some charcoal and I went to bed.
In the morning, we had breakfast, took care of chores, and headed off to Mt. Osceola (4,315ft/1,315m). The terrain was rocky and it wasn’t that fun of a trail. While we had nearly reached the peak, we had felt a front come in. We knew that being on the mountain unprepared was dangerous. Do we turn around or press on? We took assessment of our gear, and decided to press on.
While we were were leaving the peak, it started to rain. I immediately put on my stasher rain jacket, which I soon discovered did not adequately keep water out. It was fun at first to hike in the rain, and it was pleasant on my feet. Soon after however, the joy died down as my body tried to keep warm while wet. After about an hour, the rain had stopped. We were quite lucky the rain wasn’t colder and didn’t stop.
That night after descending the mountain (6.4mi/10.3km round trip) we drove back to camp, started a fire, and had some good eating. It was nice to have gone barefoot in the rain, while others ended up with wet boots.
In the morning, I had realized I had a few minor cuts on the bottom of my foot, which is unusual for me. Having cuts and sore feet, I started to adopt a forefoot strike to help minimize pain. I had heard of other experienced barefooters adopting a similar foot strike, and it does make sense, thought it does require more strength.
My weekend adventures without shoes was enjoyable. The hike wasn’t too enjoyable with the sore feet and cold rain, but I had learned an important lesson of being prepared.