Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Step Forward.....

Everyone knows the phrase "One step forward - two steps back".  Well that is kind of how both of us are feeling right now.  After testing different hiking boots - we felt we were all set - until - the dreaded "black toe" - known all too well by marathon runners and serious hikers alike.  We thought that we had solved all our issues with our third pair of boots.  That is until we took a longer hike - the "half" camino that we did July 6th.  So discovering that issue - we returned to our favorite REI store to investigate more boots.  At the same time Arlene was coping with her black toe - I was beginning to have issues with tight toes - the toe box in my boots seemed to be shrinking by the day.  So Arlene picked up a pair of low cut Patagonia Drifter AC while I opted for a pair of North Face Hedgehog GTX. 

Patagonia Drifter AC
North Face Hedgehog GTX

The good news is that the wider toe box in the Patagonia Drifters seem to have solved Arlene's black toe issues - she now has more wiggle room.  Although the North Face felt good on my feet in the store - I quickly discovered that the sole was not hard enough for what I wanted. One of my tests with foot wear has been to intentionally step on gravel pebbles on asphalt.  If I can step on pebbles and feel nothing then that is good - unfortunately I could feel the sole of the North Face flex around the pebble and I could feel the pebble trying to poke through the sole. That was a definite failure so the next day back to REI - love their generous return policy - to buy a pair of men's Patagonia Drifter AC for myself.  So now Arlene is 98 percent sure that her Patagonia's are her hiking shoes -  but I am still making test walks to see if I can be happy with mine.  After walking with a mid-height boot over the past few months -  it is different walking in a low cut hiking shoe. 

One constant debate among those who have walked or are training to walk the Camino is foot wear. Hiking boots - full - mid-height - low cut - versus hiking shoes and even trail runners - all seem to be equally popular and depending on who you discuss this with - the perfect shoe/boot.  In reality it all comes down to proper fit - comfort - personal preference.  So we are finding out what we prefer. The same goes for our socks - do we need the very thick wool socks we started with - or can we go with a mid-weight. Decisions - decisions.  That is one thing  that the Camino has taught us already - do not get upset when a previous decision has to be revisited and a new decision made - sometimes completely contrary to the initial decision. On the Camino we will have to "go with the flow" - a lesson that should be applied to everyday life.

In time - all this will work itself out - until then - we do what we do best - we walk.

Buen Camino
Dale and Arlene