[pct-l] Hiking Barefoot?

Eric Lee saintgimp at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 4 18:52:01 CDT 2011

Nathaniel wrote:
Does anyone know anyone who has hiked a majority of, or thru-hiked the PCT

I'd be really, really surprised if anyone managed to do this.

I could see someone hiking certain parts of the trail barefoot, or maybe
doing the whole trail in sections over several years, but a barefoot
thru-hike seems daunting.  In some areas you'd have to worry about cactus
needles and a trail bed maybe hot enough to burn you on some days.  In other
areas you'd have a lot snow where you'd probably struggle to avoid
frostbite, plus late spring snow can be abrasive.  There are also areas that
have a lot of volcanic rock which is extremely abrasive.

Remember, the question isn't just whether it's possible to physically hike
the PCT while barefoot (I expect it is, with varying levels of care
depending on the terrain) but whether it's possible to hike barefoot at the
kind of breakneck speeds that are required of thru-hikers.  Most people
struggle to keep their body holding together while doing a "normal"
thru-hike, and doing it barefoot just lays a whole new layer of challenge on
top of that.

If you're serious about trying it, you might take a bit of time in the next
couple of years to hike representative sections of the PCT to see what it's
like, then you'll know what you're up against.  Or you could just go for it
and see what happens.  Fortunately hiking barefoot is something that you can
easily abandon at most town stops (by buying shoes) if it's not working out
for you, assuming you haven't yet suffered any hike-ending injuries.


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