Today’s plan was to make it to SR 71. But initially, I feared I’d have to take a zero day. That’s because both of my heels are sporting huge blisters from those newer running shoes of mine. The shoes just don’t work well with my orthotics. Well, at least they don’t work well when it comes to walking 20 miles at a time. A little slipping in the heels is one thing when you’re casually walking around the house, but quite another when you’re hiking all day. In addition, my hiking boots, which felt fine on my feet yesterday, were killing me this morning.

So first, I considered hiking barefoot – for about one second. Then I tried wearing my running shoes without my orthotics. That actually felt pretty great because the shoes weren’t slipping almost at all. But I’d left the shoes’ normal (and removable) bottoms back home. After all, I always had my orthotics in them. So why would I need to pack those little foam bottoms, too?

In the end, I decided to go for it. I knew I was taking a risk trying to hike 20 miles in running shoes sans foam bottoms. Because without those little foam bottoms, there is exposed stitching that is also likely to cause blisters. But really, I had little choice.

Gimping Toward SR 71

So I headed out and hiked on the connecting road route today. I did end up getting one big blister on the bottom of one foot due to the exposed stitching. But I think it will be okay once I bandage it up tomorrow. And I went to Walmart and picked up some cushy inserts that I’m hoping will be thinner than my orthotics and be just what I need going forward.

One bright spot of the day was meeting Eric Lewis, chapter chair of the next trail chapter I’m entering (the Econfina area). What a nice guy! I also enjoyed hiking across the two-mile-plus bridge over the Apalachicola River and along the bike path through Blountstown.

Tonight my good friend Judy, aka Ten-Miler, drove up from Punta Gorda to be my shuttler and hiker pal for the next few days.


©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved

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