My old hiking boots have bit it. With one day of squeaky warning, the sole literally fell off of one. Now, my dad is convinced that he can fix it with “shoe goop,” but to be honest I’m not sure I trust that stuff for hiking shoes. Sandals, work shoes, city shoes sure, but off in the woods with no other option but barefoot shoes? We’ll see.
Those boots have lasted me for almost thirteen years. Not bad for on-sale weekend hikers! I bought them just before I went on a weekend snowshoe hike up to the “Stoltmann Wilderness Area” with friends. I’m not sure what happened in the long run to that particular area, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was all logged. They’ve taken me up and down several (small) mountains – don’t get me wrong, I’m no mountaineer, just the more accessible stuff. They got me to all the climbing sites I’ve been to, all around Squamish, Kelowna, and Skaha. They never once gave me a single blister.
Today I missed them! But still, hooray, I got to miss them!
Bill and Mom for some time have wondered about the exact location of a feature they can see from their windows. It’s a patch of bare rock high up on a hillside, beyond the closest point of land. Bill tried to find his way towards it yesterday, I met him on his return, and had a pleasant hike back. Today we decided to try to find it. Bill and I don’t get to spend much time together ‘just us’, so this was a great opportunity. Plus, it got me outside, moving at a good pace … hiking!
It was a hike that is only possible in the wintertime, across windswept old granite of the southern reaches of the Canadian Shield, smooth and yet cracked and hunched. Those cracks and the gullies (or snyes) between hills and outcroppings get filled with water and swampy when not frozen. This means clouds of nasty, horrid, biting insects. But in winter they are frozen; slippery when you don’t realize you’re walking on undisturbed ice under a layer of snow, but still walkable.
The snow wasn’t deep at all, perhaps ankle deep through the lower areas, to almost none in the clearings above. This meant lots of animal tracks! We saw where a fox intercepted a rabbit, perhaps a fresh trail, skidded to a stop and turned to chase or follow. We found a multi-species super-highway, who knows how many individual animals were represented in those tracks. Deer, either wolves or coyotes (Bill says those are larger here than the ones I know on the west coast), rabbits, squirrels, mice, and tracks we weren’t sure what they were.
Up on the tops of the hills we tried our hardest to have Mom, at the house with Cameron, be able to find us. This included me taking off Janice’s purple coat, putting it on a stick, and waving it high, calling to her on the radio. No luck, she couldn’t find us no matter where we went, from one hilltop, down into a gulley, scramble back up to another.
In the end, we slid and scrambled down an almost-cliff of tumbled granite chunks, to the ice of the ‘back bay’. I’m really uncomfortable on the ice, but it was that or climb back up. No thanks. But the ice had its rewards. A wolf had run down the middle of the bay, slipped and skidded on the ice, and loped off at a slower pace. We could tell by the tracks. Best of all, we could radio the house, and Mom and Cameron were out on the deck waving to us when we came into view.
All of this trip I was wearing Janice’s boots, kindly lent to me. Trouble is, she wears a size ten or larger … I wear an eight if my socks are thick. Even with double socks I have blisters.
Oh, I miss my hiking boots!