A 30th birthday, a volcano eruption in Iceland that shut down most international air travel, a healthy check-up and an understaffed couple weeks at work.
Yes, plenty has happened in the world at home and abroad during the past three weeks, and with it my departure day has inched ever closer.
With just a few weeks between now and departing for Kilimanjaro, so much has happened but so much is falling into place. My spot on the trek is reserved and paid for, my flights are booked, my Tanzania visa is on the way, my vaccinations are scheduled for this week and I made the last of my major gear purchases on Friday: an Osprey Talon 33 daypack that I will wear and an Osprey Transporter 75 for the porters to carry.
All I’m really missing right now is a well-broken-in pair of boots. I’ve owned a pair of Asolos for a year and wore them last summer in Switzerland. They’re durable, waterproof and provide ankle support, but they gave me blisters then and they’re giving me blisters now.
I’ve worn them on and off during the past year, but even now they’re still rubbing my lower right heel. Whether pounding out a few miles on a training hike or sweating in them on the treadmill or Stairmaster at the gym, a warm spot turned into a full-blown blister on the heel.
The solution? Duct tape.
If there are two must-haves for any hiker, energy bars and plenty of water are them. If there’s a third must-have, it should be duct tape. Good for patching holes in rain gear or repairing a damaged boot, duct tape also has been suggested as a possible deterrent or cure for blisters.
I’ve met a few hikers who swear by duct tape and others who laugh at the idea that the old fix-all around the house could also fix your feet. During the past week, however, it has done the trick. Two pieces about six inches long, wrapped around the heel and secured to the sides of each foot have done the trick. The left heel remains as healthy as always, while the right one is quickly returning to normal despite continued workouts on inclined surfaces.
If the tape holds and my feet are fixed, then these final few weeks of preparation should be stress free — as long as that volcano in Iceland behaves itself.