Wednesday, June 16, 2010

my hard head knew better...

So I may look like a hiking rockstar here, but let me be clear about something. I "lived" a good lesson in gear on this hike up and down Mt LeConte last week. Having hiked this mountain many many times, I knew what to expect, but ignored it in my hard-headed fashion when it comes to packs.

Here's a few comments about gear and its potential positive or negative effects on a hiking experience.

See that little pack I got on in this photo? Little $8 dollar pack I got at a shoe store on a "spin the board" sorta game thing. Granted this pack is stellar for little day hikes, but it's certainly not meant to go 15 miles nor a combined total of 6,500' in elevation with any amount of true weight in it. My shoulders were SCREAMING about an hour into this hike. While it performed like a rockstar (as in didn't tear or fall apart), but on a comfort level when packed full and weighted down, I give it a 1 out of 5 rating. So let's just say lesson learned in the value of a properly fitted pack for not only the amount of gear, but the weight of gear and proper distribution of that weight across one's lumbar region.

I'll be shopping for a "medium sized" pack that's MEANT to carry some weight in it before my next hike like this!

On another more positive note, my Asolo boots DID in fact perform like rockstars! I realized on this hike that I've had this same pair of boots since 1997!! (although resoled this past year) A good pair of boots are like having clouds strapped to your feet when it comes to hiking. Well worth whatever the dollar amount. Don't skimp on boots.

But one funny thing did happen with my boots on this hike. At one point I had some little pebble under my heel so I stopped to take it off, shake out the pebble and continue moving down that trail. Well, as I retied it, the string popped into two pieces in my hand. Everyone looked at me like I just had a train wreck (because everyone stopped to watch this process with my boot). Undisturbed, I just tied that string in a little knot and off we all went again. LOVE my boots!!

So don't be fooled about gear. Those "gear" issues of Backpacker magazine are published for a reason!

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