Sunday, August 21, 2011

A hike up the creek near Piedra Blanca

I brought my Invisible Shoes on a hike yesterday. I hiked up the trail wearing my Chacos. The hike was a short one, about 3 miles on a trail and then half a mile up a creek. The creek part took as long as the trail part. I am very sore now and all scratched up from the bouldering. I'll probably get some wicked poison oak.

At the end of the creek part was a huge blue-green swimming hole. We swam and jumped from rocks into the cold water. It was probably 20 feet deep. There were steelhead trout in the pool but we scared them into hiding. I learned yesterday that steelhead trout are the same species as rainbow trout. The difference between them is that steelhead spend some time living in the ocean. It's possible these had never been to sea but I think they still call them steelhead in this area because that is their normal behavior, to go to sea at some point and come back again.

Hiking in the creek was pretty difficult. I am not good at this kind of thing. I felt like I couldn't trust my footing. Some of the rocks were very slippery and some were not but you couldn't really tell which ones just by looking at them. Sometimes even the dry ones were slippery. So I pretty much did the whole half mile of creek hiking bent over holding on with my hands.

After the swim and after descending back to the trail, I decided to hike in the Invisible Shoes. They feel like you have thin little rubber mats that come up to meet your bare feet with every step. I don't really even feel the straps, just the mats under my feet. You have to watch where you walk because you can feel every rock. It felt like a total relief to take off the Chacos and walk in what felt pretty much like my bare feet. I wished I could have hiked in them in the creek. I think the rubber they are made of might have stuck to the rocks better than the rubber of the Chacos, but they are so thin the movement of your foot through the water just flaps the sandals right in half under your toes. So they are fine to swim in, if you want to wear them swimming, but you can't hardly walk through water in them.

After the hike we went to Deer Lodge which has really slow service but decent buffalo and other game meat burgers and beer and bikers. I saw a guy there who I really thought was Too Obtuse from the PCT. I finally had to ask him if he was Too Obtuse, which of course sounded like the stupidest thing to ask a person, so I quickly had to say, "I mean, is your name Too Obtuse." He wasn't Too Obtuse and thankfully he didn't beat me up or anything.

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