Tag Archives: Vasque Boots

So What Does It Mean To Be A Hiker?

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

-John Burroughs

Anyone can hike. Go to the woods, put one foot in front of the other and you’ve pretty much got it. Right? Not so fast. Being a hiker, a true believer in the healing power of the woods is a mindset that can only be developed by spending countless hours on the trails and climbing hills that would kill any other mere mortal.

Many people say, “I like to hike.” Ok. But do you have what it takes to become a true “hiker?” Hiking, like any other sport, hobby or activity, has a vocabulary unique to its participants. Can you speak the language of the seasoned hiker? If you encountered a fellow hiker in the woods, would you be confident that you could make yourself understood? This isn’t as easy as it sounds.

As you are preparing for your next hike, pick up the shirt that you want to wear. What does it smell like? Imagine for the sake of argument that the odor emanating from the shirt is nothing short of horrific. What do you do? In my case, I would put it on and head out the door. But would you? What you smell like is just another form of identification for other hikers. It’s almost like dogs sniffing each other’s butts. That’s how we know who is the real deal and who is just playing the part for the day. Trust me, you can smell them a mile away.

What did you put in your pack to eat? Now, of course, this all depends on how long your hike is going to be, but hikers definitely have some do’s and don’ts when comes to being a true hiker. Trying to stuff a picnic basket into your daypack isn’t going to work and neither is bringing stuff to grill. You gotta keep it simple. If I know that I am going to be out for a full day and I am going to be covering 8-10 miles with some elevation, I’ll get a sandwich from the local deli plus some granola or protein bars to stave off the hunger pangs to keep me going.

Now if I know I’m only going to be out for a short hike of maybe 3-5 miles, I’ll bring granola bars, protein bars and other assorted garbage to keep my legs moving throughout the day. The good thing about logging the miles is that although you might eat a load of crap, you will still burn a great deal of it off during your hike. And of course, don’t forget the GORP!!

You may be asking yourself, “He’s talked about the language, clothes, and food, what about liquids?” Even though it is relatively obvious, water is the most important liquid to have on a hike. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I now go overboard with the amount of water that I carry. Even if I am going out into the woods (for what I consider a short hike) of between 3-6 miles, I’ll figure out the amount that I need to drink and double it. And now that they have Gatorade Zero, which has no sugar and I’ll take a few of those as a way to replenish my electrolytes.

At times, however, any good hiker might develop a thirst for a nice cold adult beverage. Especially if the hike you are on isn’t too strenuous and you have a nice view where you can sit for a while and contemplate life’s mysteries. Of course, the idea here is not to overdo it, because chances are you will have to drive home and you also don’t want to be a stupified slobbering mess walking down the trail.

Now please, I hope that in reading this you haven’t taken me too seriously. Hikers come in all ages, shapes and sizes and have their own rituals when it comes to preparing for a hike. I too, have my own rituals.

That is the glorious thing about hiking and adopting the lifestyle of a hiker. Being able to enjoy the outdoors doesn’t come in just one fashion or form. In my humble opinion, I believe that as long as you are out in the woods doing what you need to do, then you are ahead of the game.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

 

 

 

St. Elias GTX 200 Mile Review

As I close in on 200 miles with my Vasque St. Elias GTX boots (197.62), I can happily report that they are holding up very nicely. They remain very comfortable and with the aid of my awesome merino wool socks, I haven’t had one blister or hot spot. Also, one of the biggest issues that I have had with every pair of boots I have owned the laces always had a tendency to come undone. This would drive me crazy! With these boots, I have not had this problem. They stay laced and they also stay tight.

As I have noted before, these boots are outstanding medium weight backpacking boots that I use for day hiking. With my weak ankles and knees, I need all of the support that I can get when I am traipsing through the woods.

In terms of the wear and tear, they also doing well. I haven’t seen any noticeable wear on the soles, top or tongue of the right or left foot.

I said it when I first got these boots-they are outstanding! They have proven to be all around excellent and would continue to recommend them to hikers who either backpack or day hike. You won’t be disappointed!

Happy Hiking!

100 Mile Review

“Life is better in hiking boots.”

-Anonymous

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Now that I have hiked just over 100 miles in my Vasque St. Elias GTX Boots and awesome Meriwool Merino Wool socks, it’s time to write a review. Let’s start off with the socks. Since I have three pairs of the socks, I can pretty much rotate them every time I go hiking. I am sure that this has saved on the wear and tear on each of the pairs. As I mentioned when I first got them, they are much better than any cotton sock. To this day they remain comfortable and well worth the extra money that they cost. Still no hot spots (I used to get them all the time with cotton socks!) or blisters!

I did have to do some research as to what would be the best way to wash them. What I do is I fill my kitchen sink with warm water and add some soft liquid soap.  After 15-20 minutes I rinse them in pretty cold water and squeeze out any excess water. The one things that many sites I looked at were very specific in saying that Merino Wool socks should not be wrung out as the wool could be compromised. Lay them on a flat surface to then let them dry.

Overall these socks have been a blessing. They have performed above my expectations and I fully expect that they will continue to do so.

Wearig an 12 W, the Vasque St. Elias GTX has also performed even better than I thought they would. With an exact fit, they provide the amount of ankle support that I need to be able to hike a short distance, or a hilly 10 miler that leave my legs rubbery! The best thing about these boots is you would think that a boot that offers so much support would be pretty heavy.  At 3 lbs. 1 ounce, the St. Elias has enough support to keep your feet and ankles protected, but light enough that you really don’t feel them.

Happy Hiking!

 

Vasque St. Elias GTX Update

“Let’s wander where the wifi is weak.”

-Anonymous

“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.”

-Aristotle

Yesterday I went for a pretty flat and easy hike to start breaking in my new boots. They fared pretty well and even when I got up this morning my feet were no worse for the wear. As a matter of fact, they felt pretty good!

Today, I went to Anthony’s Nose to give them a bit of test. Even though the hike isn’t that long (3.7 miles), it does have some substantial hills that range from very rocky to nice soft dirt. Coupled with some nice flat areas as well as some downhill sections (since the hike is an out and back), I think this hike gave me good idea of what to expect in the future.

With that said, I like these boots even more than I did yesterday! They don’t feel like any other backpacking boots that I have ever worn. They are really light but still offer incredible ankle support. After the hike today, I still didn’t  experience any hot spots, blisters or major discomfort.

If you suffer from weak ankles or just hike in very rocky or uneven terrain, these boots are definitely worth looking into. As I have noted in previous posts, I have hiked in Vasque boots for the better part of the last two decades and have never really had a problem with them. This pair just solidifies my love for Vasque Boots!

Keep on hiking!