This is not for the faint of heart.This was overall a great hike and experience. I was carrying more food than I needed and a few items of cloths I didn't need, about 2 lbs I could have shed, but of all the things I planned and anticipated the one thing I hoped that would not happen were continuing problems with my feet. I have a hereditary ( thanks Mom) callous issue and those callouses can turn easily into blisters.
My heart and desire, knee, hip, even my stamina was fine, but my feet did cause issues.
The 13.5 miles of day one with a 20lbs pack started the issue, but it was the rain of the second day that really started the more serious issues
When I arrived in Split Rock State Park and decided to stop and soak in the river. Afterward I redressed my feet for the rest of the day using the supplies I had received from the nice couple I met earlier that day.
It helped the pain and in fact is was so much less that I hardly noticed it, however it still would have been enough to make most people quit.
Finally at the end of Day 4 the issues comes to a head and the full damage is revealed as I try to dry my feet by the fire and get ready for the last 7.5 miles the last day.
left outside heel area ( above) right heel area ( below)
This could spell the end of my hiking career. I can't plan any extended hikes with the prospect that my feet will turn into this after just a few days. I can not commit to the 160 mile GSMNP hike in September with the knowledge that I will be in pain after the first few days. With one exception ( I promised Christine that I would do the Maah Daah Hey trail, with her) I might be left to viewing the world from the scenic parking lots in the future. I am seeing a Podiatrist and we will see what happens.