Cooler temperatures make the final day on the Herbert Hoover Dike very pleasant. But a worsening blister on my right foot is becoming very unpleasant.
I pack up and leave well before anyone else in the park is even awake. It is late by my standards at nearly 7:30. But apparently early for the RV Resort crowd.
I have to hike nearly half a mile back to the trail. But this time there is far less traffic on the road. I can also take the time to see the things that I missed in the dark last night.
As I get back up to the trail, the wind picks up because I’m at the top of the dike now. The Dyke acts like a funnel making the wind much stronger than down on flat ground.
And it is more noticeable today because the temperature is much cooler. I knew what was going to be cooler but I decided to wear my shorts anyway. I do not regret the decision.
There isn’t a cloud in the sky so the sun will be strong. At some point soon I’m going to have to stop and apply sunscreen. But for now I just like a long basking in nature.
More Road Walks
Within just a few miles I can see construction up ahead. I start to get a thinking feeling that I’m going to be stopped and have to turn around and road walk.
I consult the app at the structure that is ahead of me. And indeed the dike is closed for construction at this point. But the good news is there is a bridge right nearby so I won’t have to backtrack.
It takes a while to find a place where I can descend from the dike down to the road. It is a very weedy slope, but there is a section that has been mowed for a pipe to go down the slope to the canal.
This road walk looks like it’s on a small road and not the highway. That would be very nice. The road winds through a series of RV parks and trailer parks. It ends at a convenience store right on the highway. Then a bridge on the highway takes me back to the trail.
I am already hungry by the time I reach the convenience store, so I stop and grab an egg salad sandwich and an ice cream cone sandwich. I doubled them both down while I’m walking.
More Dike Walking
The dike here is not paved on the top. He is just double track lime rock. But it is still easy hiking.
The area surrounding the dike here seems more remote than further south. There is far more marsh between the dike and the actual lake. And there seems to be far more land between the dike and the highway that I can see off into the distance but barely hear.
I stopped for a quick break to adjust things in the pack, and I noticed that there is a hiker about a mile behind me. Oh my goodness another hiker finally.
I keep going but I turn around frequently to make sure they are still there. Oddly, I seem to be pulling away from them instead of letting them catch up.
Within an hour I can no longer see them. Maybe they were just a local person out for a walk and not a hiker. What a letdown.
There are many boaters on the canal bass fishing. I can probably see one or two boats the entire time I am on this section of dykes. Just as one boat leaves, I can see another one approaching.
I definitely have a blister on my right foot. It is warm and hot and painful while I’m walking. It is on my right foot. And it hurts exactly where my foot hurt as I was exiting the Everglades heading to the rest area on I-75.
I think this blister started to form way back then. I can see a white section where I know the skin is delaminating. But it is very deep and not likely to burst the roof of the skin.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not painful and that doesn’t mean it’s not going to get worse. I have been using socks that I don’t normally hike in so I am guessing that is also one of the contributing factors. I switched to an older pair before setting out this morning hoping that will improve things.
I have been wearing thinner socks but I think I need to switch to a thicker sock tomorrow. I will give this older sock more time for the rest of today. But I do try and stop and dry my feet out at least every 2 hours.
Blister is right under the center of the ball of my foot. All of the blister treatments I have with me right now are ineffective for this kind of blister. It is also the first time I have ever gotten this type of blister. I am used to blisters on the toes and heel.
these shoes also have an odd opening. Instead of the really thick padding at the top of most shoes, this one is just thin stretchy material. They are comfortable but it also means they are a magnet for rocks. I really wish I had my gaiters now that I am walking on lime rock.
Head to Another Town
The campsite I was planning on staying at is only a mile from the end of this section of trail. When I get there, it is one of the best campsites I have seen on the dikes. It has a very large camping area about the size of a football field. A covered picnic table is at the edge.
I am beginning to worry about the blister so I think I need to go into town to see what I can get for treatment. It would be nice to get some alcohol to dry out my feet. And some padded insoles might actually help relieve the pressure.
The shoes I brought for this trip are also shoes that I do not normally hike in. These are slightly lighter in weight but also have less cushioning in the soles. At some point I might want to trade out shoes again. But the main reason I brought these shoes is that they are white. Gilligan wears white shoes.
I still have plenty of daylight so I go ahead and hike the extra mile to the boat ramp where I can call an Uber to get into Okeechobee. There are a dozen hotels in town so I should not have a hard time finding one.
The main stores in town are Walmart, Publix, and Winn-Dixie. The Best Western is right next to Publix so I decide to pick that one.
It is dark by the time the Uber driver arrived and she has a little bit of trouble finding me in the very large park. I found out after I start riding with her that she doesn’t use the Uber navigation but uses Google maps instead. The Uber navigation shows me as a blue dot and would have prevented her confusion.
I check in, take a shower, and immediately head out for dinner. I am actually going to check out the Publix deli first to see if I can grab something simple. But when I get there there’s a huge line in the deli.
Next up is a Mexican restaurant right next door. It looks good, so I go ahead and stop in there. I ordered fish tacos which actually smell like fish. They were not the best tacos I have had. The refried beans were also not very good. For me to not eat refried beans is a rare thing. The yellow rice was good, however.
The third option was a Chinese restaurant a few doors further down. I go ahead and peek at it just to see what I missed. It was one of those giant buffet places and actually looked pretty good. I wish I had eaten there instead. Oh well, at least I am full.
Emotion of the Day
Today I think I need to pick concern. This blister is not really slowing me down, but it is causing quite a bit of pain.
If I keep hiking on it without changing anything, it is not likely to get any better. I am concerned that it might actually get worse.
The next few days are in pretty remote country isolated from any major towns. If the blister gets worse fast enough, I may not be able to get any assistance. There will definitely be no Ubers where I am going. There aren’t even gas stations.
So I will spend the morning going to Publix or any other store in town to see if I can get something that might help. I will probably buy a combination of things, just so that I have options once I am out on the trail. That might alleviate my concern.
January 9, 2023 at 1:05 pm
Hang in there Jim! I know those blisters can be a real pain. Here’s hoping you find some relief soon!