Get me to PINE!

Having a foot injury really made me question the continuation of my journey. One one hand, I could quit this hike and return home to heal, hopefully before any long term damage took place. On the other, I knew that failing to complete the AZT would drive me insane and I would regret it. I Googled “stress fracture” and seemed to be showing all the signs and symptoms, but an injury like that is so vague, it takes X-ray images to positively diagnose. I decided to continue my forward progress and evaluate my foot pain as I went.

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The Mazatzal Wilderness stood before me, and 115 miles would put me in Pine, AZ. Setting off with enough food to allow 20 mile days, I began hiking this notoriously overgrown section. Catclaw shrubs tore at my legs, and the scrub oak cloaked the trail into obscurity, but I was determined to push on. Pine AZ marked the end of the low desert, and would put me into higher elevations away from the excessive cactus country I had been walking through. By starting my day earlier and hiking into the evening, my mileage actually increased, and those 20 mile days I expected to hike turned into 30s. The Altra Lone Peak shoes kept my injured foot enveloped in a protective layer of cushioning, and was a vast improvement over the shoes I started in. My foot pain had subsided! Arriving in Pine a full day earlier than expected, I was grateful for the comforts of a cheap cabin.

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2 Replies to “Get me to PINE!”

  1. I live in Phoenix. I have hiked in Altras for a while, and have the exact same problem! They are SO comfortable. But after some time, I have started to have pain in one of my feet. It is exactly the pain that you describe. It is exacerbated when stepping on sharp rocks, of which AZ has plenty. I have also thought it might be a stress fracture. I haven’t got it checked out yet, but it spooked me. I’ve gone back to a mid weight Solomon boot, which provides more protection from all of those rocks.
    Anyway, thanks for posting your adventures. Love that story about the Border Patrol! Fantastic.

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