With this paycheck I had planned to purchase my tent, a Lightheart Solo Wedge that uses my trekking poles to set up and so it only weighs 28.5 ounces. However, that was overly ambitious of me considering that it's the holidays and I'll be traveling. I almost did it anyway, because the tent is on sale until Christmas, but I emailed Judy from Lightheart and she said the sale would extend to the end of the year. Yay! I get the tent I want and I still get it on sale and now I don't have to worry as much about finances until next payday. It really doesn't help that I'm paying to prepare my photos for the photography show, but they do look great and are high quality. After the show, the AT is my only focus. Fingers crossed that they all sell....
The concert was last night and my solo and quartet went well. It was also my birthday and it was a good one. I wore the wrong shoes last night, though. I swear they didn't used to be so narrow, and I never wear heels, so that didn't help. The soles of my feet feel like the bones were crushed and ground together and they still hurt quite a bit. Thank goodness for Crocs. Some people don't bring camp shoes, or don't bring cushy camp shoes on their thru-hikes, but I have to say that after this experience and how much better my feet feel in the Crocs, I consider them a necessity. I'm sure my feet will hurt even worse when I'm thru-hiking and so the Crocs (or equivalent) are coming. And I'll never wear those shoes again! To the thrift store they will go.
I think that maybe my barefoot walking and jumping are actually helping to spread out my feet, because I've worn those heels before with nothing like this reaction. I've read that thru-hikers get flat feet and their feet grow, sometimes up to two sizes. I'm trying to help that process ahead of time so the shoes I end up hiking in will fit me longer and not cause me problems by being too small. Maybe it's working.
Speaking of shoes.....sigh. I am at a loss. I can't decide what to do. I get so much advice telling me the idea of hiking in trail shoes instead of boots is a terrible idea. Yet I read so many stories and other experienced hikers swear by trail shoes. Granny Gatewood thru-hiked the AT in KEDS of all things. She also carried a duffle bag and wrapped herself in a shower curtain at night, and I don't plan to do either one of those things, but I guess I just have to figure out what works for me. It's the fear of collapsing my arches that is my biggest concern. I talked to a woman thru-hiker that had her arches collapse even while wearing boots, and needed multiple surgeries after her hike. Of course, she carried a 70 pound pack, and mine will be half that weight. And I'm conditioning my feet ahead of time. And I hate hiking in boots. There, I said it. I just plain hate hiking in boots. I hate that they rub on my shins and they're so heavy. I know they're supposed to protect your ankles, but I've read convincing arguments that dispute that and I've never had an ankle or arch problem hiking in shoes. Of course, I've never hiked almost 2200 miles and for six months straight while carrying a 35 pound pack. I think I'm just going to have to make a real effort to work on finding the right shoes. If only I lived near an outfitter. Sometimes it really is a pain to live in a small town.
I haven't purchased all my gear but I'm pretty decided on what I'm going to buy and most of it, other than the tent, I can actually get on Amazon. Shoes are something else. I have to try the shoes on and probably try a lot of them, and then actually use them and see how they work out. After that I probably could order them on Amazon, but I can't order extras. There's no guarantee that I'll have the same foot size by the time I need to replace my shoes. Boots last longer than shoes. Granny Gatewood went through seven pairs of Keds on her last thru-hike. I expect to go through four or five pairs of whatever shoes I do decide on. Maybe I'll send for my boots if I end up hiking in snow a lot, but for now my goal is to find hiking shoes. I am still looking for my perfect pair of shoes and I'm running out of time. Four months from now I'll be on the trail, hiking the AT. I'm not ready yet! I can't wait!