May 28, 2012
I’m grateful for the holiday weekend, since I actually get to make up some time by squeezing in two hikes this weekend instead of one! Since I did hills at Peters Canyon on Saturday, I’ll head to Palos Verdes today. This trail is a regular hike for me, and it’s incredibly deceptive. You start at the top of the hill and make your way down to the bottom. The grade isn’t steep at all, so it’s super easy to feel really confident – until you find yourself at the bottom, looking at the top of the hill where you parked your car. D’oh! As I turn and head back up, I realize that this trail is what Arturo, my ACTIVE South America guide on the Jaguar trip in Peru, called “Andean flat.” It looks flat at first glance, but your heart rate tells you otherwise!
This is a great trail to work on endurance, and on setting a good pace. I’m the kind of person who will burn out if I stop and rest. I do much better if I just keep moving slowly, one step at a time. My goal today was to get from the bottom to the top without stopping – and I made it!
This is also a great place for the first test hike in new boots. It’s the same trail I took the Vasque Wasatch boots on for the first time, so it seemed fair to bring out the Barneys. Um, I mean the Ahnu Montaras. There’s some downhill, some uphill, and a lot of slippery shale. It’s the perfect test track.
Now, I’m trying not to jinx this, but…wow! You know how sometimes you break up with someone after a really tumultuous relationship, and then you meet someone new and realize that you have absolutely no idea what you ever saw in that first person anyway, because the new guy is just perfect for you? This is like that.
Okay, maybe they’re not perfect. The down side is that the soles of the Barneys are lighter and more flexible, so I definitely feel every rock I step on. Traction isn’t as good either, although Peters Canyon will be a better test of that on the downhills. However, I’m used to all that. Living in Southern California, the only time I ever hike in boots is when I’m planning to go somewhere else. I usually hike in trail runners or even hiking sandals, so feeling the road isn’t a deal-breaker. It’s kind of like a car – my ex-boyfriend’s Audi A6 didn’t feel a single bump. It was smooth and felt sturdy and solid. My Audi TT? It feels every little groove, every pebble. It hugs the road. It feels delicate, and honestly? Given my repair bills, it is delicate. But I still prefer the TT on the road, and I prefer the Ahnus on the trail.
I’ve learned that how your feet feel when you take the boots off is just as important as how they feel when you have them on. I felt like I’d been wearing comfy slippers all day! As a bonus, I’ve just taken sides in the Gore-Tex vs. eVent war. It was in the low 80s at the trailhead and I sweat. I mean I REALLY sweat. Especially when I’m wearing liner socks AND thick wool hiking socks. I expected my feet to be soaked just like the rest of my body was when I took my boots off at the car. They were bone dry. No joke. There was barely a lick of moisture on the inside of those boots. I’m firmly on Team eVent now!
I’ll admit to a little trepidation about the fact that these are light hikers and not serious backpacking boots. I have faith in them though, and since they’re much closer to the weight and heft of my old, comfy boots, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, the single most important thing out there is that they fit comfortably. These clearly meet that criteria. I’m even starting to like the purple…a little bit. Maybe. Although given the way they looked after a single hike, I’m guessing they won’t stay purple long!