Dealing with Blisters and a New Trail Family
After having a wonderfully refreshing time with good friends in Boiling Springs, Pa., Chilli and I have been hiking with three other people – Sweet Pea, Flash, and Twigs – since Duncannon, Pa. These hikers are kind, thoughtful, generous, and just plain fun. We did 11 miles out of town and then an 18-mile day, and although I was able to complete the miles, I honestly thought my blisters would burn a hole in the bottom of my shoes.
I did a four-mile day and then shuttled with everyone’s pack and they did an 18 mile-day and then a 24-mile day. After they got into town the first thing that happened was food, in the form of $80 worth of Taco Bell. And they ate it all! For me, I did a few errands to Walmart and Cabela’s, then after having a good 36 hours with no hiking and getting new insoles, I think the blisters are finally on the mend.
Keeping our little trail family together is important to us and Twigs may continue with us all the way to Katahdin and then go home for her fall semester of school. So with that, the daily goals will change and the schedule I have planned out will no longer be as important. In all of my years of hiking on the AT adapting and changing becomes an everyday occurrence and keeping a group together is a huge lesson in compromise. When hiking, if you cannot change plans at the spur of the moment you can get into huge problems, so change happens nearly every day out here. But this change is so much for the better because our group is amazing.
I will be sending gear home so I can lighten my pack as much as possible. I must get rid of weight so I can hike and not have blisters. Chilli sent some things home today, so I added a few things to his box and will add a new tent at Delaware Water Gap and shed about four more pounds in switching back to my Nemo tent. I will definitely miss my hammock, but I will not miss the four pounds. I must take care of my body and my feet, and in doing so I must make a few sacrifices. But hiking is far more important. I know I will and can do this thru-hike. This dream will be reality.
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