South of Belleair Causeway – February 13, 2013
“Not a single blister,” my hands said. “And look at you, getting sanded down like a rough piece of wood.”
My feet didn’t say anything. Or maybe they did. I couldn’t hear them over the machine grinding down their outside heel as they hung over the edge of a chair in a doctor’s office.
“Pathetic,” my hands said.
It sounds harsh, but my feet started it. On the Appalachian Trail they got blisters, they ached, they had all the glory of 2,174.1 miles heaped on them, and they started talking trash.
Add in another 6,000 miles or so and my hands looked on from above with all the jealousy of a younger sibling.
“I could do that,” they said.
“Bullshit you could,” my feet replied.
Then I started to paddle.
I expected blisters on my hands. I expected giant calluses. I expected something. Instead my feet took the brunt of it. They poured blood out in portages, got assaulted by leaches, swelled up like balloons, and built callouses on their heels that cracked open. My hands, an aching finger in each and nothing more.
“This is easy,” they said.
“I hate you,” my feet answered.
And we ended up in a podiatrists office getting our heels sanded down. It was a humbling moment for my feet. The once proud walkers, the size 14 giants reduced to sanding, but they still had a bit of pride left at the end.
“4,000 miles?” they said, “talk to me when you hit 8,000. I wore out five pairs of shoes on the Continental Divide Trail. Five. You are still on your first paddle.”