Benson Plateau (Post)

It has been a month since we hiked the trip that I’ve been describing this week. This was a more difficult trip than I had expected, so it was probably better that we didn’t go on the hike that I had planned that would have been about 40% longer. The 25 miles that we logged in three days was still a good distance for me, especially since this was my first time carrying a full pack while wearing FiveFingers. I definitely learned a few things about my physical limits and my gear.

The night that I got back, my feet were terribly swollen. My arches were particularly swollen from need to support the extra weight of my pack over the course of three days. It took days for my feet to start to feel normal again and I am still prone to tightness if I sit or lay down for any length of time. This has spurred my to further condition and strengthen my feet by running in FiveFingers regularly.

I bought a pair of Bikilas last weekend, and I’ve gone on a couple of short runs. I am taking Vibram’s advice and starting slowly, running just a mile and a half each time. I’m concentrating on adjusting my gait to a forefoot strike and stretching my calves. I’ll slowly increase my distances as my body adjusts. The goal is to have stronger feet that can more easily carry me and my pack over long days on the trail.

I also learned a lesson or two about rain. I am buying a poncho. I ripped a small section of seam on my sleeping bag on the first night and I wasn’t carrying a sewing kit. I also lacked a phillips head screwdriver to adjust my trekking pole, thus rendering it dead weight for the whole trip. I’ll need to bring needle and thread and possibly a multi-tool of some sort in the future.

On the hike down Eagle Creek, we spent a bit of time at Tunnel Falls. As we talked about it, I realized that they must have chipped the tunnel out by hand. This got me to thinking about the history of the trail. I’ve done some research since then, which has only made me more interested in the trail’s long history. I think that I might start trying to put together a history of the Eagle Creek trail and it’s associated camp grounds. It might be a bit of a project, but that’s good for me.

I’m thinking a lot about my next trip. I’m still hoping to hike the Timberline around Mount Hood later this year. I’ll see what I can make happen.