I come from a family with a lot of women. I have three sisters. And my mom has three sisters. My older sister has a daughter and a son…and when he was younger, she used to put pigtails in his hair (ya know, because it’s funny). The poor kid never stood a chance. And one thing that is standard with all the women floating around is that nothing is sacred. It doesn’t matter whether I tell someone that I’m buying a house or that I just ate a cheese sandwich for lunch; by the time I talk to another member of the family, she already knows. “Your mom told me it was cheese and tomato.” And my response is inevitably, “She already told you? But I wanted to tell you about the tomato.”
When I mentioned to my youngest sister about hiking the A.T., she said, “Sounds pretty awesome,” but not before my mom spilled the beans. And apparently the conversation had gone something like this:
Mom: Jor’s planning on thru-hiking the A.T.
Sis: What is up with everyone wanting to all of a sudden? My friend and her fiance are also planning to this Spring before they get married next year. Why would anybody? I’m sure there’s nowhere on the A.T. to get a pedicure.
My baby sis has a thing for getting her toes did. In fact, so do my other sisters and my mom. I, on the other hand, am not a fan. Now that I think of it, I’m one of the few women I know that doesn’t like it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy getting my feet massaged and cleaned up. It’s the fact that I work hard for my calluses, and a day at the spa leads to a week of blisters. Blargh!
I didn’t think much about my feet (so many more interesting things to think about generally like Life, the Universe, and Everything or why hot dogs come in a 10-pack but hot dog buns come in an 8-pack) until last Sunday when I was out hiking at Thompson WMA (see previous post). To give you a fun visual, let’s just say I have hobbit feet – wide, leathery-soled, and hairy. OK, they’re not really hairy, but that was a fun visual, right? After 11 miles of hiking, my bunion was making its presence known and my delightfully mis-shapen toenails were digging into the sides of my toes by the nail beds. Yummy, I know. (I apologize if you have “feet issues.” If you’re not sure if I’m talking to you, assess whether this conversation is giving you the heebie jeebies. If so, then you have feet issues.)
The next day I decided I didn’t care if people stared, and I wore my toe shoes (i.e. Vibram Five Fingers) on the metro to work to give my feet a break. Hey, where are you going? Oh no, I lost you with the toe shoes, didn’t I? Before I said anything, you were thinking to yourself that I’m a semi-normal adventurous person. Now you’ve written me off as a lunatic who wears gloves on her feet. Please come back! I promise they’re not as weird as they look. They’re the comfiest shoes I own and bring me back to my childhood when I used to spend summers running around outside barefoot.
And, in fact, I will be hiking (or alternately frolicking, dragging, and lollygagging) around outside for the better part of six months. Last week I was looking at a 2012 thru-hiker’s blog post and caught sight of a picture of highly bandaged toes and heels. I spent a few days in the “denial phase,” but I now accept that the hike’s going to put a strain on my feet. Between the bunion, a silly little case of Raynaud’s (really, it’s no big deal; looks and feels kinda cool when my toesies turn white), and my ogre-like toenails, I am going to need to take care. So, I’ll do what I do best and plan, plan, plan an all-around foot care regimen.
I’ll certainly bring along a pair of nail clippers and likely some moleskin and bandaids too. I may end up wearing two pairs of socks at a time during the colder winter months. And I have to decide what shoes I’ll bring in addition to my hiking boots. I read that a lot of people prefer Crocs as a second pair to wear when settled into camp each night since they’re light and let one’s feet breathe. I’m not yet sure what shoes to bring and am open for suggestions. I do love my toe shoes, but I’m probably going to try to make friends on the trail. So I may not want to bring them along, or I might scare people away.