I decided to give my Chacos another chance. I flattened out the toe strap and took and exacto knife to the part that rubbed against my heels. With my still-tender blisters from the other day, I went for a hike on the Jesusita Trail up to Tunnel Trail, a rocky, dusty trip of about 6 miles. I made very little effort to baby my feet. I wanted to give them a good test. No problems at all. The Chacos are fixed.
As I was walking down the Tunnel trail, I overheard two men as I was catching up to them. It sounded like they were talking about the Saufley's house in Agua Dulce. Finally as I approached, they stopped and just as I came up to them one of them said, "They're all hard core like this lady here with her sandals on."
I asked him what was he talking about because it sounds like the PCT. He said yeah, he was talking about the PCT. I told them about having just finished the trail last summer and so we started talking about the PCT. They wanted to know if I stayed at the Saufley's. I said that I did and that I got a ride to the REI while I was there. It turned out that one of the guys works at that REI.
We started talking about gear a little bit. They wanted to know if I wore the Chacos on the PCT. I said no, but I was really liking them now and I might be able to do the PCT with them. The PCT isn't like Tunnel trail. It's smooth and level mostly. They asked if I had a really big pack. I said that I did not. I told them about my light gear and that most of the space and weight in my pack was food and water. I tried to impress upon them that the longer you are out there the less junk you need to carry, and that I found that a lot of my gear beyond the main stuff was just recycled stuff, homemade stuff and bits and pieces of things. The news seemed to blow the REI guy away a little bit. I reassured them that most hikers wore shoes like what the two of them were wearing.
As I descended the trail, my feet did start to hurt a little bit. The Chacos are pretty hard. I think I could do the PCT in Chacos if I toughened my feet up a bit and maybe if I swapped back and forth during the day with Crocs. Anyway, I'm really happy I fixed my Chacos and I think they will be my primary hiking shoes for the time being. I'm glad I don't have to buy any hiking shoes for a while.