Yesterday was the first semi-warm and semi-dry day in months, and we took advantage of it. Myself, Brooke, our dog Fletch, and Patrick went up to the hunting property and hiked around for a few hours. It was impressive how much snow was still on the ground despite the warmer temps here recently; over 1' in some areas, whereas our entire yard is (dead) grass. We hiked around for about an hour, stopped and made some Mountain House dehydrated lunches, and hiked on before one more stop for a cup of instant coffee. Starbucks Via > NesCafe Instant, and in the words of one local sports radio personality, that is "fact, not opinion." Fletch's paws were getting a tad irritated from the snow so we hiked out a little earlier than anticipated, but it still felt terrific to get out in nature and breathe some fresh air. This was our first foray into anything more extreme than living room carpet with our new hiking boots, and both pairs fared extremely well. Not only were we hiking through slushy, mushy snow, but we regularly traipsed through standing water and new rivulets created by run-off from melting snow. Our feet were warm and dry, and I was so excited about it mainly because it was the same situation I was in last year on the A.T. with Mark when my old boots soaked through within a mile. My new, bulletproof Bean hiking boots will surely be friends of mine for years to come. Brooke is excited about her boots, too, because they kept her feet dry and were "very comfy," but also because they "look cute." Amen to that.
That is known as gear shopping. It's ridiculous to think about, but ever since I declared my Keen Targhees not fit for action, I have owned the following hiking boots: L.L. Bean Cresta, Lowa Renegade, Salomon Quest, Asolo Fugitive, Vasque Wasatch, and back again to the L.L. Bean Cresta. Now, let me explain myself. I wanted a more durable, supportive, and stable boot than my comfortable-yet-"flimsy" Keens, but I was also concerned about weight and warmth (for hot hiking days). I have oddly shaped feet (flat, high volume, kinda wide), and the Bean's right out of the box fit like a glove. But with a little one on the way, I had buyer's remorse and returned them. Ya know, $189 buys a lot of diapers and wipes. REI had a member's sale a few weeks later, and my (il)logical thinking told me to just bite the bullet and buy a new pair of boots, so I tried on a few and decided the Renegade's were the one for me. Except after wearing them around the house and going on a few local hikes, I found out they were too narrow for my block feet and my piggie toes suffered considerable. Back they went. Next up? I traipsed around REI for a good 30 minutes in the Salomons, and to this day they were the most comfortable hiking boot I've ever worn. But the more I thought about it (usually at work or tossing & turning in bed), the more I realized that they were right in the same ballpark as my Keens - comfortable boots that wouldn't last more than 3 years, at best. Back they went. I got some gift cards to EMS over the holidays, and talked myself into the Asolo Fugitive, but they were both too narrow for my toes and felt incredibly hard underfoot. I returned those and ended up in a new pair of Vasque Wasatch (if only due to EMS' limited in-store inventory). They, too, didn't fit my forefoot properly despite being a pretty comfortable boot, and seemingly well constructed as well. Back they went (much to the dismay of the EMS personnel...listen, if you wanna compete with the REIs of the world, adopt a return policy like REI's.) If you read this blog you know that I hunt and fish when I'm not hiking, so I decided to bite the bullet and return to my first true love: the L.L. Bean Cresta. It's a boot I'll hike for many, many years in, but I can also wear it during spring turkey season, pheasant season in the warmer fall months, and on warm weather deer hunting days. I can wear them down the road on fishing trips in the Berkshires, and on adventures to far away destinations with Brooke and HP. I like the look of the classic all-leather hiking boot, I like the durability they offer, the guaranteed waterproofing, and basically everything that a kinda heavy, all-leather hiking boot will bring to the table. With the hiking boot ordeal over (in the words of Brooke), I can now stop e-mailing her daily posing hypothetical questions about which boot to buy. She's infinitely more happy, as am I. But now I find myself bored with nothing to research and buy. Well, I guess I could upgrade my day pack...and I will eventually need a multi-day pack - maybe a Gregory Baltoro 70? I have to go e-mail Brooke about it...
I'm just a guy who loves to hike, fish, hunt, camp, and snowmobile, preferably with my wife Brooke and our three kids, Hunter, Max & Shea. I play the part of a lawyer during the week and try to get outside and get dirty on the weekends.