I went hiking barefoot today. My goal was to hike barefoot to the third creek crossing on Rattlesnake trail. (The second creek crossing if you don't count the first one right at the beginning.) I made my goal.
It was mostly very pleasant hiking barefoot. There were a few challenging places with sharp gravel or acorns. After a while the constant stimulation to my feet got a little annoying.
When I put on my sandals, it felt strange and unnatural to walk with rubber slabs strapped on my feet. I think I understand now why people say they don't like shoes after they get used to going barefoot. If I can feel that way after walking only about a mile barefoot imagine how odd shoes must feel when you are used to being barefoot.
After I put on my sandals, I continued up the trail to the meadow where I played a few chunes on my pennywhistle. Then I walked back down the trail.
When I got back to the old dirt road at the beginning, I decided to take my sandals off again. It felt nice to walk on the cool earth.
Several people made comments about my bare feet. I replied that I was trying to toughen up my feet. It's true. I want my feet to be strong and I want to be able to walk without pain on any surface without wearing shoes. Sometimes I think it feels vulnerable not to be able to walk easily with just my "birthday shoes."