Relieving ball-of-foot pain when hiking.

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Hiking requires the right gear and it’s imperative your feet be comfortable. For a four to six hour hike, I found myself taking Ibuprofen a few hours in to buy tolerable hiking time. After awhile that wasn’t enough, and I was ending my hike walking on the sides of my right boot just to avoid putting pressure on the ball of that foot. (Did you know that you lose fat in the fat pads of your feet as you age?) I tried a few over- the- counter, ball-of-foot cushions which didn’t quite do the trick. I went to a podiatrist which was, for me, the wrong turn. For about $500 (visit plus orthotics) I got orthotics for both feet which gave me no relief. They hurt, and I was told I had to “break them in.” That was not happening! The thing is my foot only bothered me after hiking a few hours. No other time. So I really didn’t think I needed orthotics seven days a week. I thought the podiatrist might have multiple products and solutions. What I experienced was that if you set foot in a podiatrist’s office with a foot compliant, you are likely going to be given expensive orthotics. I did know the intent of the orthotics was to support the arch of my foot, causing less pressure to transfer onto the ball of my foot. So when I saw the product above in Wal Mart for $9.99, I was eager to give it a try. IT WORKED! Immediately. And there was no “break in.” I promptly bought two more packages in case this product ever becomes unavailable. Though the package claims that it is for plantar fasciitis, which I do not have, it worked to relieve my ball-of-foot pain on long hikes. I hope this product can help someone else, too.

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A Four-Falls Trip: Crawford Notch

April 15, 2016

The lack of snow this winter makes early spring hiking easier than ever. About 20 minutes north of North Conway, NH,  along Rt 302 are parking lots taking you to these four falls: Ripley (upper right) and Arethusa (behind me) being the most powerful of the four. Coliseum Fall (middle right) and Bemis Brook Falls (bottom left) are a bonus. And who doesn’t like a bonus? Fawn Pool (lower right)  appears a safe spot for a mid-summer dip.

Here’s another nice thing about Fawn Pool. It’s one of those ahh . . . spots . A spot I could see myself reaching for a picnic when I’m 80. Just a short hike up the Bemis Brook Trail from the parking lot. It’s important to plan forward, take note of the spots that will always be doable if nature feeds your soul while your body weakens. Keep a journal of those places lest you forget.

Arethusa Ripley Falls trails

The black line is route 302 north of North Conway. Note the green P. That is the parking lot you want for Ripley Falls. It is a paved road 0.3 miles from the first parking lot–red P.  The Ripley Falls hike is just a mile round-trip.

To get to the next three falls, do something illegal like shove seven women in a five-passenger vehicle to get from one lot to the next. Drive to the first red P  you see on the bottom of this map. The easiest route to see all three falls is to go up the Arethusa Falls trail keeping right. Return via the same trail but take the Bemis Brook Trail back to see Coliseum and Bemis Brook Falls and Fawn Pool.  

Of course, there are other, loftier options–loops  or putting one car at the first red P and driving up to the green P. That was our original plan. Be prepared to change plans while hiking according to the conditions of the trails (snow, etc. . .) and the comfort level and ability of each member of your group. Have fun!

Mount Agamenticus: a coastal hike

Mount Agamenticus

A morning in York, Maine.

Oct 27, 2015

Okay, maybe Mt. Agamenticus in York, Maine, isn’t really a strenuous climb (elevation 692 ft.), and maybe Rico–having completed many a 50-mile-‘dash’ in California–isn’t really too-pooped-to-pop, still I highly recommend this hike for anyone in any shape, including toddlers and grandparents.

Once a ski area with a scenic view of the Atlantic Ocean, Mount A (as the locals call it), is now home to a conservation program and several miles of gentle trails open for hiking, biking and snowshoeing. Equestrians and ATV riders have access to specially-marked trails. If you are hungering for a view, but unable to climb, the top of Mount A can be reached by vehicle where, from the parking lot, you have access to a trail designed to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers or strollers. For trail maps, teacher information and directions, check their website: http://www.agamenticus.org/

After hiking, we stumbled across Anthony’s Food Shop on Route 1 in York. Don’t let the outer gas station/convenience store appearance fool you. Inside is a whole lot more. (Did someone say bakery items?) http://www.anthonysfoodshop.com/

You’ll want to take your booty to Nubble Lighthouse to feast on the view. Maine. The way life is.

Nubble Lighthouse

by Martin Rogers Photography