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Today is a zero day.
I had planned on only staying one night at the Ironmasters Mansion Hostel. I woke up set on hiking out, then I walked about ten feet. I have been very lucky to not have a blister problem on the trail…until two days ago.
Whether it is the high temps we have had lately, my longer than usual hours on trail the last week, or maybe my shoes and insoles wearing out, my feet are suddenly in bad shape. I was sitting on the edge of my bunk telling Mr. Breeze that I would like to do 15 miles, but if it hurts really bad, I could stop at 10. He took one look at my feet and said, “you have no business walking today. I can’t even tell which one is your little toe!”
He was right. My poor feet look hideous. (insert baby crying noise here). I have a deep red sore area on the soft part of the bottom of my foot, and my heels are blistering. Hopefully, after not hiking today, and taking it easy the next couple days, I will be able to heal up. Two other hikers have donated some blister dressings and I ordered more from REI.
On the plus side, I am staying at a very cool hostel.

The Ironmasters Mansion was owned by ironmaster, Michael Ege who was the sole owner of the furnace and more than 30,000 acres by 1803. It is now taken care of by Steph, who is the hostel hostess.
The mansion also has some other interesting history. Though not yet proven fact, it is thought that this was part of the underground railroad during the slavery period. There is a hidden access through the floor beneath the stairs. There is a ladder that goes down under the mansion and tunnels through it. I was able to go in and take a look for myself. It was very interesting.

Pine Grove Furnace state park, where the hostel is, is also home to the half way, half gallon challenge. We have hiked half of the AT at this point, and our challenge is to eat a half gallon of ice cream. I did not succeed in this challenge. Miles seemed not to have a problem with it.
There are several challenges along the AT, none of which I have completed. Isn’t the AT challenging enough?
At one point in southern VA, the trail goes near a store called Trent’s grocery. The challenge is to drink 24 beers, and hike 24 miles, in 24 hours.
I went to Trent’s grocery, drank zero beers, and then camped behind the store.
Another challenge is the 4-state challenge.
You hike from VA, through WV, through MD, and into PA within 24 hours.
It is over 40 miles.
I did the 4-state challenge by taking 4 days to do it. I do things my way! And I like to stay in hostels, gosh darn it!
Tomorrow, the plan is to hike out, probably looking like a drunk monkey. I will take it easy for the next two days and stay in boiling springs where I have pushed ahead some permethrin to sprays clothes. 
Happy half way to me and all my hiking buddies!!!

Lori “Passionflower’ Overton is currently hiking her way up the A.T. and writing about her adventures at wheresloriat.blogspot.com. Check it out!

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