My hiking boots died.
There’s a sort of poetry in that, no? Like dying with one’s boots on? My boots died with my feet in them, in the middle of a new adventure. We were snowshoeing on Mount Hood when a hint of chill made itself known on the sole of my foot. (Um, hello? Excuse me? I’m a little bit of snow, and I’d like to nestle into your sock. Don’t mind me.)
That’s OK. The hike and the company were keeping me warm. And, later, when I checked my boot out and saw that its little footwear life was over, a repair impossible, I wasn’t too sad. For one thing, I adore shopping for shoes. For another, those boots had a good run.
My dilapidated Hi-Tecs have traversed hundreds of miles of mud, pavement, gravel and grass. I’ve lost track of how many trails we hit since we left Virginia. They connected me to the ground in Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington before we got here. Those boots stomped down city streets in our nation’s capital, Chicago, Seattle and Portland. They protected my toes at Yellowstone, in the Badlands, near Mount Rushmore, on ancient volcanic rock in Idaho and a more recent deposit at Mount St. Helens.
Add to that all kinds of hikes — long and short, solo and group — all over Yamhill Valley. I may be new in town, but I hit the ground hiking.
Like a lot of travelers, my boots settled in here. People come here from all over the country and fall in love with the million shades of green, the ferns, moss, trees, mist, mountain views, ocean access and small-town charm with big-city amenities. I’d like to think my boots liked the quiet roads and cushiony trails. They put in miles at Champoeg, the Trappist Abbey, the Brigittine Monastery and Hagg Lake plus countless streets and sidewalks all over the valley. They’ve enjoyed plenty of assistance from my bike. (Tip: Hiking boots are handy for trail riding in the rainy season.) They’ve picked up mud at wineries. They needed a new waterproofing treatment after a dip in the Cozine Creek in McMinnville.
And, thanks to this area’s delightful active-life friendly dress code, they’ve dried out and warmed up in some lovely restaurants and chic wine bars.
Where have your boots taken you? Where do you hike and bike? What’s your favorite trail to show a visitor? How about a view that’s worth spending a morning climbing?
The public wants to know, and I’ve got a brand new pair ready to rock and roll.