Learning to Walk Again

Discussion in 'Hunting Lounge' started by m gardner, May 14, 2007.

  1. I've been here since the middle of february and have found that I really don't know how to negotiate the terrain yet. I've hunted all over but this stuff is hard. The area in unit 6A is like walking on baseballs in sand and was a challenge. The desert is different yet. I am starting to realize how the soil and rock reacts to my footfalls and getting better but it's all new to me. Last saturday I stepped out onto a ledge that seemed solid but gave way just as I stood erect and relaxed. Bad mistake. I fell on my shoulders and back and Doreen said my head actually bounced when it hit the rocks! I knew I was hurt just by the look on her face. She usually laughs herself sick when I get cactus in me or fall down. I got up shook it off and the headache is just starting to go away today. Guess even at my age I can still take some punishment. I've hit my head many times over the years. That probably explains alot!
    Mark
    Here's some photos of us resting near Payson. You'll notice the expert woodsman is resting comfortably near a recently lightning struck tree. Pretty sharp guy!
     

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  2. AZ~ThunderDan

    AZ~ThunderDan Site Administrator Staff Member Super Mod Mod Premium Member

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    Mark, sorry to hear of your unfortunate fall. A blow like you took would probably put me out for the count.

    I don't mean to laugh either, but that tree you say is a recent lightning struck tree is an alligator juniper. The bark looks a lot like alligator scales and can also look a lot like burnt charcoal. I can't be certain from your picture, but I'm a thinking that what's you got there. If it is totally dead and standing, I can see how you would mistake it for being struck by lightning and burned. Welcome to the diverse flora and bad-footing of Arizona.
     

  3. I had an elk tag in 6A a couple of years ago. It was, as you say, like walking on softballs. My ankles were wrecked....
     
  4. rk

    rk Staff Member Super Mod Mod Premium Member

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    Just since February? Well, welcome to Arizona!

    TD, like you said, it is hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like there might be a fresh split on the left side of the trunk.

    Anyway, as someone who has spent countless miles/hours hiking in 6A and many other places in this state, the best advice I can offer is:

    1) Spare no expense on boots. And instead of shopping at Cabela's or Sportsman's WH, I would suggest going to someplace like REI, or even better, the Summit Hut in Tucson. Places that specialize in hiking stuff tend to hire people for their footwear dept's that actually know about hiking boots. The Summit Hut actually keeps records of customers' foot measurements, and has a little room where a guy works on boots. You might even call ahead and find out when their most experienced footwear expert will be on duty.

    2) Boots with a stiff shank and good ankle support will go a long way in protecting your feet from the stresses of hiking in rocky terrain. Good boots like that aren't cheap.

    3) Nothing gets your feet, ankles, knees, etc., in shape for hiking better than hiking. Start slow, work your way up, and HIKE OFTEN! It helps to be a bit of a masochist, as long as you don't injure yourself. If you have to stop hiking for months to recover from an injury, you will have to start the whole process all over again. You have to know the difference between "good pain" and "bad pain", and unfortunately, that only comes from experience.

    Good luck, and have fun exploring...
     
  5. I do what I call "rock dancing'. Basically you are stepping on top of the stones like crossing a creek. You can go as fast or slow as you want. When stalking in that type country I look down and plot my next 2 or 3 steps, then look up and scan for game while taking them. Then it is just a matter of stop and plot, move and scan. If you are in a hurry then I just keep plotting my next steps and never look up. Once you get the hang of it you can cover terrain fairly quickly and quietly and still keep your eyeballs peeled for game.
     
  6. I've got Danner boots in several different flavors. I'm wearing the Desert Arcadia's here. The 30 pound pack I carry probably doesn't help either, but keeps me in some sort of shape for fall and slows me down to the point that Doreen can keep up. We'll get used to it by fall.
    Mark