Shortly after arriving in the UK in 2003 Karen and I took up a challenge to walk the entire length of the Thames Path, 200+ miles, in sections over the course of our available long weekends. In preparation we purchased new hiking boots, low cut suitable for flat to moderate inclined trails. They we're nice boots, especially after I applied snow seal to waterproof them. Altho this sort of revolted Karen who then claimed that they looked ugly, dirty, arrgh disgusting. And they did! (Karen adds.)
We completed our sojourn - the Thames Path, in a little over a year. We then went on to the Ridgeway trail crossing sw England into the Chilterns. Many, many public path trails followed throughout our five years in the UK. Our trusty hiking boots went every step of the way. Included were our B&B treks into the Swiss Alps and Tuscany.
As trusted companions our hiking boots returned to the US with us. Not much hiking in Michigan, but through a few soggy early spring trails we kept dry and comfortable feet. And on into retirement we hiked our way through six weeks of southwest national parks visits in the spring of 2009 and a further four weeks of leaf peeping treks in New England that fall.
And onward to our great adventure of 2012, we laced up once again trekking through Taos, Moab, the Tetons, Yellowston, Banff, Jasper and on into the SE coast of Alaska. We made it as far as Denali National Park, feet dry and comfy up till this point. In Denali, hiking anywhere but on trails, across tundra bogs, thick brush and several stream crossings something changed. Snapped! Feet were wet. A seam on one side of my right boot found daylight and in rushed Alaskan liquid sunshine. Ooops! 'Help, I'm walking out of my boots'.
The final blow came on one trek when boot sucking mud grabbed one of Karen's boots and refused to let go. Backtracking upon hearing Karen's screams I ran up and tore that boot back from the bowels of a humongous mud bog (Ron exaggerates his rescue.)Swearing never to wear those boots again Karen was truely finished with the boots.. Even after cleansing that boot would never be the same.
What to do? What to do!
Fortuitously, earlier that day we had spotted another trekker wearing a very familiar but strange looking boot. It appeared to be a Keen design, yet it had medium high ankle support and no open toes. What are those we asked? Ahhhh! 'Keen's' responded the surprised women that anyone would take such close notice of her foot wear.
We survived our week in Denali. Hiking boots still intact. Barely. Next stop Palmer, just a stones throw from Anchorage. And what's so special about Anchorage, other than being the largest city in Alaska? There is an REI in Anchorage. Might they have high top Keen's at this REI? You betcha!
In preparation for our upcoming treks in Kodiak we'll be sporting our new best friends. Let you know soon how well the new fit works out.
P.S. Our old boot made it to the first rubbish bin outside the Anchorage REI. RIP boots - we've walked in those boots for miles upon miles.
Harbor in Homer, AK ( largest in the state)
Hiking around Independence Mine on Hatcher Pass, Palmer, AK
And yes, even a 59 year old can lift his day pack skyward