I talked about the blister that ended my hike and the knee pain that was made worse by my inability to walk properly on my blistered foot. The blister still hurts to walk on, but I keep it covered and it is beginning to heal. The knee pain has resolved back to it's normal "background" pain level, and is just waiting for me to visit the orthopedic surgeon to see how it will be treated. The pain isn't even bad enough for ibuprofen or naproxen.
But here is a gift of the walk that will stick with me for much longer than the blister.
No, those are not toes that have been painted at a pedicure. (Pedicure? Me? Hah!) Those are five toes with various levels of bruising from improperly fitting shoes.
The first bruises were limited to the right great toe and the left second toe, and started with the practice hike on May 10. I was wearing shoes that were the correct size for me (9.5), but I noticed during the hike that those toes were rubbing against the inside of the shoe's toe box. I finished that hike with light bruising and realized that I needed larger shoes.
I bought a new pair of athletic shoes, made by Timberland and designed for off-road hiking. I also added aftermarket orthotic insoles for better arch support, and quickly broke them in by wearing them constantly and walking in them. They felt comfortable by the second day I had them. I bought them in size 10.5 (and I thought that maybe that might be a little too big,) I was wrong.
So, when I take my next long hike, I will be wearing actual hiking boots (although a pair as light weight as possible) and sized 11 or 11.5.
As ugly as the toes look, they don't hurt and are not swollen. But wow! Ugly!