When I woke up, my foot felt much better but was still very tender to walk on. I also noticed some swelling in my left Achilles tendon.
Shopping is a Pleasure
I can go get the hotel breakfast now, but I have to wait an hour for Publix to open to go shopping. I head out 10 minutes early so that I can get there right as they are opening their doors.
I only have a few items I need to buy other than first aid for the feet. I was supposed to resupply at a gas station about a day and a half in, but their deli is not open on Sunday and that’s when I will be there. Plus it is a road walk to get to it and I think I need to try and avoid as many road walks as possible with my foot.
In the foot department I can find soft insoles, some sheets of moleskin, and a tiny pair of scissors. This will have to do.
Back at the hotel, I cut two big sheets of moleskin for my foot. I am basically covering the entire ball of my foot except for the spot that is blistering. The hope is that by raising the pressure around the blister that it will relieve the pressure on the blister. Either that or it will make my entire foot blister up.
I put on the thickest socks I have which are wool and not my favorite material for socks. Wool tends to be hot and captures moisture. I don’t have a single pair of the Thorlo socks that I normally wear. Who planned this trip?
I am packed up and ready to roll by 8:00 so I call for an Uber. It takes over 10 minutes to confirm a driver and when I get the driver I find out it’s the same one I got last night.
Once she picks me up, she says I’m the third hiker of the morning. She had just dropped a couple off at the end of the road and they are going to be hiking to where I’m starting. That means they took the Eastern route around lake Okeechobee and they have six more miles to finish at the same park I’m being dropped off at.
It would be nice if they could catch up to me. And as slow as I’ll probably go today, they probably will. I still have not actually seen any other hikers.
The trail from the park is another double track dike along the Kissimmee River. It is crushed shells for most of the way, so hopefully this will be easier on my feet.
Right at noon I reach the lock where the trail moves away from the river. The lock tender is sitting outside in the lawn chair relaxing in the sun. Before I even have my pack off he is offering me a cold bottle of water.
We chat for a while and he encouraged me to eat my lunch in his office that has air conditioning and even better – shade. This is better than the back of the building where I was planning on earing. He even has a bathroom in his building. Luxury accommodations.
While I am eating, two boats approach and I get to watch him operate the lock. It’s basically open doors, let both enter, close doors, open other doors slowly to let the levels equalize, then open the other doors.
More Road Walking
I leave the lock at about 1:00 and begin an eight mile road walk. It is mostly on pavement but it is on a very low traffic back country road. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hot and hard on my feet.
Early on there is enough traffic that I have to find driveways to get off the road to find shade to rest. But the last two miles there are no driveways and I just pull off on the shoulder because there is much less traffic on this end.
The road eventually turns to dirt the last half mile. Then it is a half a mile to the campsite I have reserved.
The campsite has a pitcher pump but it is broken. There is a small pond right after the campsite, but it supposedly has giant alligators in it. I think the next reliable water is a church eight miles ahead.
After cooking, I will have about 1 liter left. It is probably not enough to get me to the church. The water situation will be interesting tomorrow.
The campsite itself has lots of oak trees. There are many good branches to hang a bear bag. There are also open views to the prairie all around. But most importantly, there are two good picnic tables.
I select my tent site as soon as I get there and immediately set up the tent. It is still early, only about 4:30, but I am not sure if and when the mosquitoes will arrive.
The next order of business is to take off the shoes and socks and inspect the damage. I took off my shoes many times during the day but left my socks on to help my body heat dry out the socks.
One of my fears is that I won’t be able to get the most skin off without damaging the blistered skin. I am relieved to find that it is still well adhered but very easy to pull off my skin. The blister looks a little more swollen and maybe it’s a tiny bit larger but it doesn’t look terribly bad. It is quite painful though.
I begin cooking dinner and then begin to do chores while I wait for it to rehydrate. As soon as the dinner and chores are done I plan to basically just hide out in the tent until I go to sleep.
My intentions were to catch up on blogging, but I am tired enough that I quickly fall asleep. It is going to be chilly tonight so I have more layers out ready to put on if I get cold.
Emotion of the day
I will choose pain as the emotion for today. While I think I might have a good handle on my blister treatment, that doesn’t mean it is not painful. Nearly every step today had some degree of pain associated with it.
And the sad part is when I actually got off the road and back on to the trail it seemed to be the worse. The uneven ground pressed the blister in unusual ways and caused pretty intense pain. It was also the end of the day when it was at it’s most tender. Let’s hope that starting out on the trail tomorrow, the pain is not as bad.
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