Tag Archives: vasque st. elias gtx boots

Numbers Don’t Lie On The AT

Image result for appalachian trail sign

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” –Robert F. Kennedy

“No Pain, No Rain, no Maine” – Common Appalachian Trail saying

Since the inception of our great nation, the Appalachian Trail has existed and snaked its way from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Almost 2,200 miles of grueling mountains and rock covered trails that punish the body as well as the mind. Every year, thousands of people start the pilgrimage north (and some south) to see if they have what it takes,  both mentally and physically, to thru hike the distance.

The statistics for potential thru hikers are sobering. In 2016, 3,377 people started a thru hike of the AT. Compare that to 2010 when only 1,460 hikers began in an attempt to join the ranks of successful thru hikers. With that said, only 685 actually completed the trail in 2016. That represents just a little over a 20% completion rate. You would think that with all of the information out there, the number of folks completing a successful thru hike would be higher.

So then why do so many hikers not finish the thru hike they begin? I suppose that many times you have physical injuries which can be brought on by many factors. Accidents, poor preparation and the constant feeling of  being uncomfortable for long periods of time that some people find to be not worth it. The mental aspect, unseen and mostly unheard, can end a thru hike as quickly as a broken ankle. That nagging voice that is in your head  constantly telling you, “Just quit. The pain, being wet and miserable can all be over.”

My thoughts are this-I am firm believer that if you are properly prepared to thru hike the AT, then the odds of you completing it go up rather than down. To me, this means you need to be realistic during the prep period. Realistic about living outdoors for six months, realistic about the weather, realistic about not being around your family and realistic about your own physical condition, age and medical issues.

So why this post? Why am I researching the failure rate of AT thru hikers? It is my hope and my intention that shortly after my retirement in 2-3 years time I will undertake a thru hike. Northbound from Springer to Katahdin. 5,000,000 (or so) steps.

Let the preparations begin!

 

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!