NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Teaching Myself to Walk

I've got PFS (patella-femoral syndrome) which occasionally leads to my left knee feeling inflamed and sometimes "locking up" due to the kneecap not gliding correctly.  The thing that aggravates it the most is sitting, such as lengthy drives or hours spent behind the desk at work.  The last few weeks my knee is acting up and before the end of a hike I end up with a stabbing/locked up feeling and have to start babying it.  Today it started towards the beginning of my hike so I decided it was time I taught myself another way to walk on those hills if I was going to be able to continue.

Grass can be pretty - 40mm lens + extension tube

I suspect I may walk incorrectly, being short with short legs has caused me to be in the habit of trying to lengthen my stride and walk more quickly to keep up (or pass!) everyone else.  Placing my leg too far in front may be causing it to be too straight, almost hyper-extended.  Not to mention the extra "toe-off" that results and then aggravates my sesamoiditis. (I'm a hot mess, throw in my high arches and it's a wonder I hike at all!)

So today I focused on shortening my stride, taking it a little slower.  When Wayne and I recently hiked at Lapham Peak he kept stopping because I was falling behind and now I'm trying to go even slower!  Today's hike started at County SS, just over the Sheboygan County line on the Parnell segment.

The first mile was mostly easy, but on those hills I kept my steps short and close together, focusing on straight posture and pushing off with my hips and thighs instead of leaning in to the hill and "digging in".

patches of violets just past Division Road

 At the first road crossing (Division Road) things start to get more strenuous.  This is true glacier country!

Kellings Lake from the top of the esker, just past Division Road

Hey, look what I found!  According to the WI DNR the portion of the segment I walked today was about 3.5 miles.  On my way back I tried to figure it out by timing my walk, but I was estimating 4 miles.  Guess I think my pace is faster than it really is, even accounting for the slower pace I was tying to set.  It took me an hour and a half, but those steep spots can really slow you down.

40mm lens with two extension tubes combined together, hand held

Kellings Lakes was my favorite spot on the trail today by far.  Even though those steep spots were a challenge the views were pretty special.

That esker was packed with Spring Beauty, Hepatica and Bellwort too.

I saw a large group of hikers heading out from Shelter #3 and going all the way to Greenbush with a dog wearing a pack in the lead.  It sounded impressive until I looked up the distance. It's probably in the range of 10 miles depending on where they are stopping and they were loaded up with gear to stay overnight by the looks of it.  What do you do with the rest of your day when you're in this kind of landscape after walking only 5 miles?  Maybe the dog was carrying beer in its pack.

I was on the trail a total of 4 hours myself with all the photography stops and since I got an early start at 7:30 I had the whole afternoon to fill.  I went to MOWA in West Bend since I already had that overpriced membership and they had a photography exhibit I wanted to see.  "There's a Place" was supposed to be about Wisconsin...but except for the pictures of the teenagers with their cows it seemed to me to be more about the artists dressed up weird and posing in rural locations.  I guess I just didn't get it.

The State Forest map is much more helpful than the IAT Guidebook one.
Your eyes aren't deceiving you, I got so sweaty I changed shirts on the trail.

When I approached Kellings Lake the first time I startled a few ducks in a side pond so I was ready for them on my return trip.  I had the zoom lens ready, the camera on and high continuous shooting mode set.

Good thing I wasn't shooting bullets because I think my aim was pretty good today.


After my five minute stop at the MOWA I had nothing else to do but go shopping at Boston Store and then head over to Starbucks to steal some wifi.  Girls in long, poofy taffeta prom dresses kept coming in, can you believe it?  Remember when we were young and we went to fancy restaurants before a dance?  I guess nowadays an iced mocha is all you need to make the day special!


  1. I sure hope you find the perfect way to walk. Imagine if we couldn't hike. That would be tragic.

  2. And, darn it, seems like every birthday means another ache or pain to interfere with our hiking! Hope you can find your ideal stride. My husband goes in for a total (L) knee replacement on Monday. No hiking for him for a while!

  3. What a neat hike! You find such interesting plant life along your way.

    Have you thought about using poles when you hike. I was always a firm beleiver in never using poles. However, when we were unable to complete the last 500 ft of Wheeler Peak in Great Basin NP because we didn't have poles and the trail was icy, narrow, and very step, we broke down and got some. I must say that both John and I were shocked at how much more energy we had at the end of a hike, and we were amazed at how much pressure they took off our knees. I have bad knees and spent two years prior to retirement in PT retraining my thigh muscle to do the work and take the pressure off my knees. The poles are so saving my knees now when we have rocky and/or steep climbs or deep sand. John was sure they would slow me down but it is just the opposite.

    Hope your knees hold out for more great spring hikes:)