I spent 5-3 receiving Thai massage on my legs so I could walk again. The release of lactic acid was so great that I was nauseated afterwards. Also, broke down and dumped my stiff, supportive Asolo boots and bought a pair of New Balance trail runners even lighter than my damned Teva sandals. Given my extra ankle bones and all, I also purchased a pair of ankle braces. This, I hope, will stop some of the achilles tendon and outer ankle pain; I am prepared for it to cause some inner ankle soreness and bottom of foot pain due to the thinner, supple sole. At least I will be spreading more of the load over my entire foot in these shoes. That's the theory.
After a huge Lumberjack Cafe breakfast with Far Out, we called Papa Smurf, the local trail angel, and got a ride from his son to the trail. I'm sure the new shoes will take some time to relieve my issues, but I did notice that it was a bit easier to walk. This section of trail is extra rocky, so I also noticed every sharp or pointy edge in the thinner soles. This will certainly take some time.
When not littered with jagged granitic caltrops, the trail here is layered with pine needles and cones. Large boulders with abrupt corners, formerly joints in huge crumbling cliffs, sit along trailside, tempting hikers awkwardly to take a load off for a minute or two. Wind here takes its time to negotiate through the trees, like a slow approaching train heard through a small town shanty window. There is a bare space behind a huge bifurcated juniper, protected by a rough circle of mountain mahogany 12 miles from our noon drop off point. I couldn't be happier than to throw down my bivy here, next to Far Out's crazy tarp contraption, and marvel at the stars rushing by through fast-flowing clouds.