Saturday, February 18, 2006
These boots were made for walkin'
In June 1969, when I should have been taking part in my graduation ceremony at UC Berkeley, I was instead on a rubber raft going down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. I was with my dad and young brother in a group, there were 2 or 3 rafts. It was a memorable trip: exciting whitewater rafting, serene contemplation of magnificent scenery in the quieter stretches of the river, camping out under the stars on sandy beaches. At the end of that 4-day trip was another experience awaiting us: the walk out of the canyon takes hours, and you ascend a mile. I was fit (and young!), but good hiking boots were essential. These boots that you see here, bought for that trip in 1969, have been my walking companions for all those years, on many hikes in different countries, continents, hemispheres! In the early 70s they were even my street shoes, part of the fashion of the Berkeley youth population in those days.
Eventually those soles needed replacement, and in 2000 I got that done. They're still like new. This week I had those cuffs (or collars) replaced, they had disintegrated to almost nothing. Now they are new, but the basic boots are still there, still fitting my feet like a second skin, still in superb condition. They will see me out, and I aim to keep walking for as long as I can. If someone asked me what I'd like to have in the coffin with me when I'm buried, I would not hesitate to say: my hiking boots.
By the way, the place where I have these repairs done is the wonderfully named Walkalong.