It was exciting to be chosen to participate in this year’s Hell Hike and Raft, but now my impatience is starting to show. Hard to believe that more than three months remain until the trip, with the Outdoor Retailer Show the week beforehand. I haven’t been sitting idly by, however, but testing out gear and planning the logistics.
Probably the most exciting (and unreal) tasks I got done was to order tickets for my flights and book the hotel in Salt Lake City. I’m flying Midway – Salt Lake City – Boise – Salt Lake City – O’Hare over the span of a week and a half. I’ll miss the OR Show Open Air Demo, but will get to see most of the show, trying to decide what my focus will be. For my first OR Show this past winter, I wandered around like a chicken with its head cut off and saw a whole lot of amazing stuff, but Summer is supposed to be bigger, faster, and more chaotic, so we’ll see what happens – a focus would probably help.
I’ve been testing socks and boots for possible inclusion on the trip – three days of hiking is no joke, and we’re talking mountains and not Midwest hills for elevation gain and loss. Feet not happy, I’m not happy. I’ve been loving my Balega and Falke socks, so those are a definite possibility, just need to add a pair or three more. No less pleasant, but infinitely more difficult has been choosing a possible hiking boot. My Ahnu Coburns and Obōz Traverse Mid BDrys are both great boots, but diametrically opposite in terms of feel – the Coburns are soft and substantial and comfy right out of the box, while the BDrys feel like an armored car, with a snug, nesting fit, serious stiffness, and a feeling that nothing could hurt my feet while I’m wearing them. Since the BDrys are softening up the more I wear them, this will end up being a really touch thing to decide – truly a First World problem.
Probably the hardest part about waiting is that we still don’t know what gear we’re going to get for the trip from the partners (very hush-hush), and what a group it is so far! Teton Sports, Rocky S2V, Foot Kinetics (we did get HikerGoo already), PROBAR, Cairn, and Fish People Seafood. As the American-born poet Tom Petty sang (on a totally unrelated theme), the waiting is the hardest part!