Feet Don't Fail Me Now
Let's face it... your feet are one of your lifelines. If you can't walk, your ability to survive many situations is severely compromised. A character in Rawles' book Patriots describes using his "Shank's Mare" to hike home after he runs out of gas leaving the collapse.
My feet have been jacked up ever since Desert Storm some 20 years ago. In the Marine Corps, we were issued some awful green wool socks that were rough and uncomfortable, so I took to wearing cotton socks. For the ground war, we were in MOPP level 2 (charcoal suit and rubber overboots) for 5 or 6 straight days. Not removing those overboots, combined with cotton socks, lead to rotten feet. Fast forward a year, and I was a cop, wearing "tactical" boots, again with cotton socks, much of the time on hot summer asphalt. For the past five years, I've been a suit guy, wearing dress shoes with polyester dress socks. My feet have never really had time to heal, and I've been pretty lazy about taking care of them.
Before going to Pathfinder School the other week, I bought some Smartwool lightweight outdoor socks. This new breed of wool kept my feet cool, dry (due to the wicking action) and comfortable, despite tromping though the creek and 90+ degree days. When I got home, my feet were actually in better shape than when I left. I am a convert.
The other day, I went to REI and bought some store brand 65% wool dress socks, a pair in khaki and a pair in black, to wear to work. They really work. I'm going back this weekend to buy some more outdoor socks and a few more pair of each color dress socks. I'm getting rid of all my cotton, polyester, and other socks.
About a year ago, I started hearing the phrase, "cotton kills." I thought it was just hype, but I think it is really the truth, especially with socks. You only get two feet, take care of them with the best materials that you can afford.
Poison Ivy Prevention
I've always been very sensitive to poison ivy. It seemed to jump out at me and spread everywhere if I just walked close to it. I broke my arm in the cleanup from Hurricane Isabel and ended up with poison ivy under my temporary cast... not fun! The past couple years, it hasn't seemed to really affect me much. Maybe just a spot of it here and there. I was pretty much expecting to get eaten up with it at Pathfinder school. Dave's property has it everywhere. But I only ended up with one tiny blister of it on one finger. I got to thinking about what could be the cause of my new found immunity.
I think I've found it. For the past few years, I've been taking Loratadine tablets for hay fever, and to help keep my nasal passages open while I sleep with my CPAP machine. It is a non-drowsy antihistamine. I've done a little research, and I've seen references to it as easing and shortening the effects of poison ivy, but I think that I've got a high level of it in my blood, and it has had a prophylactic affect. It's the only rational thing I can come up with. This is not medical advice, just my inexpert observations. But if you are sensitive to poison ivy, it might be good to talk to your doctor about going on a Loratadine regimen, at least during the spring and summer if you will be out in the woods a lot.