Sounds like one of those adventure where the memories are totally worth the blisters. I've read people who do the Pacific Coast Trail use trail runners, not sure those are the best option for that hike .
Descending is rough on the knees. I suggest a patella brace of some kind. Moleskin is a must and conditioning your feet with mileage. I'm never apposed to wearing any brace I feel my body needs. Ankle brace my also be the right choice on those really uneven sections.
"you get fit for the day's hike during the previous day"
Best advice I have is to lighten your load. Dump the conservative basics you think you might need for the trip on one big pile. Then halve it. Seriously.
Also........struggling severely with the thought of only one knife, or at least no proper big knives
The only real problem is I'll have to practice with it, can't wait for it to heal, only few more than 40 days before we go.....As soon as the blister is a bit better I can start wearing the boots to work, should get them worn in by then.I just destroy shoes in general, so it kind of hurts to know these boots will be stuffed by the end of the hike.Most people buy Merrels and expect them to last a few years, the Merrel shoes I wear to work are a year old starting to come apart.....
Apparently two walking sticks are a must for the descent and boulder hopping days.
I agree about the walking sticks, they take much pressure off your knees during the long downhills, and help with balance while rock hopping with a heavy pack on your back.