By the time you read this, I’ll be in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. We go there every year and challenge ourselves in those spectacular mountains.
The Whites strike fear in the hearts of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers for good reason.
Nowhere I’ve hiked are the climbs so relentless.
Nowhere I’ve hiked does it seem like a single descent will take you clear in to next week.
Nowhere have I done so much “ass-hiking”—you know, where most of your downward progress is made on your ass.
And, nowhere have I had so much trouble with my feet.
(Except that time in the Cabinet Mountains in Montana when I duct-taped my blisters and ended up with the blistery-bubbly rash from hell reaction to the duct tape. Do not try this. EVER!)
Last week, on a training hike that was perfect preparation for a thru-hike, I passed the miles by cultivating my bad-ass trail persona, Ruby Throat.
Ruby Throat is small, but mighty, and she has the grit and grace needed to cover some miles, day after day.
One thing that keeps her going (when the going gets tough), is gratitude and appreciation.
So, the minute my inner black cloud starts complaining about various aches and pains, rather than indulge that voice (whom I call “Dick”), I shift my attention to what’s working.
Like my feet.
My feet are miracles! (Woo alert.)
Miracle that they are, tiny 4 inch x 8 inch blocks down there at the ends of my legs that keep me upright and moving forward. It’s quite amazing when you think about it.
While I’m walking and whiling away the miles, I pour out the gratitude onto my feet, sending them love and appreciation.
(Did I mention I’m from Asheville. We do woo, here. With gusto!)
And they respond to the love with a little more spring. A little more willingness to go the distance.
A special treat for the little miracles at the ends of my legs.
So when the day is done, I like to give them a special treat.
I like to massage them with my special Thru-Hiker Foot Balm.
I wanted to share my special Foot Balm recipe with you because I want your feet to be pampered and appreciated, too.
Here’s what your feet can look forward to at the end of a twenty mile day. The foot balm is:
- Pain relieving
I plan to carry a small vial with me on my thru-hike.
It may seem like it goes under the list of “luxury items,” like a pillow. Or a chair.
But I think of it more as an essential item that can also do double duty as a salve for bites and scratches and, even, deodorant in a pinch, though that’s probably a battle best not fought.
How to make your own Thru-Hiker Foot Balm.
Here’s what you need and how to make it. For a printable recipe, click here. Scroll down for information about the essential oils I use, their properties and where to get them.
1. Melt the beeswax in a double boiler, or a pyrex measuring cup set in a pan of hot water.
2. Add the shea butter and coconut oil to the beeswax. Heat to melt and stir it all together.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the nourishing oil.
4. Stir in the essential oils.
5. Store in a container that lets you get your fingers in there to scoop it out.
Here are some containers I’ve used. Be sure to let the mixture cool a bit before pouring it into the plastic containers.
I’m a mason jar aficionada, so my home-girl batch is in a small mason jar by my bed and my travel batch went into the 2-ounce container that once housed a stuff sack.
This recipe will make about 6 ounces. Depending on your resupply schedule, you can divvy it up into smaller containers and tuck them into your resupply boxes. Count on using about an ounce a week if you use it every night.
The Best Essential Oils for Aching Feet
Feel free to mix and match your essential oils and use what works for you. I’ve chosen these specifically for the following reasons*:
- to help relieve pain: Lavender, Eucalyptus, Helichrysum, Rosemary
- to give a cooling effect: Peppermint
- to soothe any bruising: Helichrysum
- to help with inflammation: Lavender, Melaleuca
- to cut down on foot stink caused by bacteria, fungus or whatever: Peppermint, Lavender, Melaleuca, Eucalyptus
- to minimize risk of infection due to open blisters or abrasions: Melaleuca, Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus
- to minimize muscle fatigue: Peppermint
If you want to skip the mixing and matching and cut right to the chase, use 20-30 drops of Young Living PanAway. It will cover most of the bases described above.
You’re going to want to store your balm in your bear bag at night.
Okay, Sunshine…enjoy your silky, smooth, smell-good feet and let me know how happy they are on a scale of 1-10.
Hike happy, y’all.
And celebrate your Woo.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.