Neckringer, thanks for sharing the stories and pics! I've been backpacking for years and I've got to go out and do that!!! Totally hard core.
Anyone who regularly deals with blisters, I learned a trick from one of my kids in my youth group once that has saved my heels throughout the Appalachians. He made it to college on a golf scholarship and knew the pain of blisters.
Take some of the 1/2 medical/athletic tape (get the good stuff). Cut two strips for each heel and lay them out as an X over the stop where you get blisters. Do this BEFORE you ever put socks on! I've logged well over 200 miles backpacking with no blisters and in boots that used to wreck my feet.