June 30, 2013 by scratchtype1
Thanks to Friday and today, Sunday, as I write this part, my respect deepens towards the Barefoot Sisters and how they hiked its portion of the Appalachian Trail barefooted. I used the huaraches today, as well as Friday out at Pine Grove Furnace State Park. Because of that, I now have logged over 15 miles on the AT in huaraches. It’s an experience that maybe be can be described but only understood by those who attempt it. There are stony sections of the AT here in PA that require a sort of dance and mental focus, you have look where each step falls and how to do it with a minimum of discomfort. Some of that will get easier as the feet grow stronger and tougher, but it’s a sort of work. But even then, when sometimes it’s draining, there’s also a subtle pleasure when you realize you’re almost dancing along, that the feet are so much more nimble when they have gained freedom from the shoes and boots. I’m learning to dance almost and today I danced for about 9 miles on the AT and side trails.
And for much of the time, I was near the front of the group. There was just towards the end, where my feet were tiring some, and feeling a bit tender, that I drifted behind some and let the path open up visually some more so I could scan about and try to pick the most favorable path to my feet and the huaraches.
But it was awesome. As a sort of homage to reaching the Pinnacle this time in the sandals instead of the boots like last week, I picked up a small stone along the way and threw it onto the stonepile that has been built over time by other AT hikers at that location. The stone I threw was a totem, signifying the dance I had begun to learn and would continue to learn.
When I got home, my feet were pretty sore. I’ve taken care of them with some Vitamin I, a little bit of icing, and massage with both a tennis ball and golf ball. They’re feeling much better already.
Something that’s becoming quite visible is that the toes are flattening out. They don’t curl up anymore.
I saw an Amish or Mennonite family walking on the shoulder of Rt 322 when driving home. The 3 young girls were all walking barefoot on the asphalt shoulder.
It does attract attention hiking like this. A number of people at Pine Grove Furnace looked at my feet when I went dancing past them on the trail and some would comment. I would usually smile and say, “It’s a lot of fun actually.” I did at one point pull a pair of sneakers from my pack and hiked a few miles in them as I felt the feet growing tired. But I bet if I went back there again I wouldn’t need them anymore. The feet are growing stronger and tougher.
Saw the midpoint of the AT on Friday at Pine Grove Furnace.
It was a good day today, I’ll sleep well tonight.