Updates, updates, updates:
It's been way snowier and colder than is normal for this part of the country during this time of the year. Apparently the worst winter in at least the past eight years... Meaning I haven't had terribly much use for my KSO's and almost none for actual barefooting. All in all, I think I've worn my KSO's for about 15 miles total. I went barefoot for about 20', the entirety of which went something like this: Ooh, ah, ooh, ah, cold coldCOLD!
So here's the rundown: I started out wearing my vaques, as the weather hovered around 25F, not including the massive windchill (I have a Pathfinder, which is awesome and gives me the temp). The were fine at first, though they irritated my massively sized calluses. But that's managable so as they were filed down. No blisters or anything to speak of. All was good for... probably the first five days. My arches hurt a bit, but I figured that's to be expected when you're hiking 12-15 miles a day with 35-40lbs on your back. Then on day five, climbing up a hill, my right achilles tendon went from being perfectly fine to experiencing exquisite agony within the space of 20 minutes. The pressure that was being put on the tendon by the back of the boot because of the constant uphilliness had irritated it causing it to become red and inflamed. It was either stop walking, or put on my KSO's. So even though the weather then was about 20F and there was snow everywhere, I put them on. Ah--instant relief... at least from the pain, not so much the cold. Thankfully,it was so far below freezing because,had there been slush to get my feet wet, I would have lost toes. (Updating in an internet cafe, which won't let me change computer settings and is set to delete anything you type in front of, so spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will remain unfixed, just an fyi.) By the time we made it into camp that night my toes were pretty much numb, so I crawled into my bag and didn't emerge until morning. The next day I alternated between my boots on the icier sections, as KSO's get zero traction on ice making them VERY dangerous, and my KSO's on the clearer areas. Switching back and forth got to be a PITA, so I walked along like my right leg, from the knee down, was in an air cast, trying not to flex my ankle. We made it to town that day, so we rented a car and drove down to Atlanta to find me some new footwear. I got a pair of Keens, low cut to hopefully not irritate the tendon. They worked fine for a few days, though they weren't as waterproof as my vasques, meaning my feet got wet, fortunately, they were still warmer than the KSO's. Then, after four days or so, the same tendon issue popped up again. Meaning my foot, apparently, is refusing to do the shoe thing. Right now, it's still too snowy, icy, and sometimes wet to do KSO's. So I've deicded to take a week off, or so, to let the snow melt, so that when I head back out I don't have to do shoes at all and my feet will be happy with me.
Incidentally, the arch pain that I figured was normal, and had been lingering even after multiple off days with my shoes, is now almost completely gone after a day without shoes. Which leads me to believe that that is also the fault of shoes.
As for the questions, I'm not at all worried about snakes when it comes to myself. I'm a bit more worried about them when it comes to my dogs, who are also hiking with me. But even so, it's only a bit as generally, if given the oppurtunity snakes will avoid confrontation. Also, if a snake *really* wanted to bite me, an extra four inches of shoe isn't going to stop it. [/shugs] At least that's how I look at things. Also, the majority of snakes on the AT aren't so poisoness (to fully grown humans) that they're likely to kill you before you could get help. But then I walk on the wild side.
Anyhow, I think that's everything I have to report for the moment.