Smart Hiking Gear for Slugs

Dallas Cowboy Fan and I had our noses pressed against glass, looking inside the Ranger station, but on Veterans Day the Wildlife folks weren’t there.

Wildlife with Attitude

Part of the Burn

We’d stopped to see if a trail was open.  It had snowed last week, but temp and rain had risen since then, so we went ahead and drove the 18 gut-jostling miles.  When we reached the trailhead, a posted sign read: TRAIL CLOSED due to the BURN.

“Forget that,” Cowboy Fan said. “That happened 4 months ago.” And I was reminded again how I loved the man for saying those epitaphs found on the gravestones of Rednecks: “Hey Watch This!!” So we pulled out contour maps and found another path to the glacier.

Trails in Oregon don’t waste time with a leisurely warm-up. No, we were plopped right onto switchbacks that had us wheezing and stripping off jackets in the first half-mile.  And then we hit snow.

I was a bit nervous about the white dusting because I was trying out new boots and trekking poles.  My old gear knew how to keep moving forward with little willpower on my part, but I’d retired them after the death march around the Wonderland trail.

As we climbed upward we passed the edge of the burn and several inches of snow had hidden the trail, but the eyelets on my wondrous new boots were able to squint and see gaps between the blackened trees. They found the trail.

When my heart was bursting through my chest in an effort to pump air, I remembered a ranger once told me it took 3 days of altitude to develop enough red blood cells to adjust to elevation. No problem, in 2 more days I’d have enough oxygen to wrestle down one of those bunny rabbits that left prints criss-crossing the trail.

Now, the snow had turned to soft powder about a foot deep. We navigated with compass and contour maps. The Super trekking poles anchored into the mountainside while Wonder Boots spun like a cartoon character until they could find traction.

We broke out of the forest a mile below the glacier and WonderBoots didn’t like what they saw. They were quite verbal.  The wind had picked up. The storm, due in 4 hours was now roiling over the top of the mountain. WonderBoots tromped like an anxious racehorse until we headed back down. I looked around for one of those bunnies to stuff inside my jacket and warm me up.

Super Poles often clacked together like a cheerleader  urging us on.  About a half-mile from the car, the heavens puckered up and shot sleet at us. Super poles stitched down that mountain like a sewing machine needle with WonderBoots skidding around switchbacks like a cat on ice, trying to keep up.

We made it home safely. I’m impressed with the new equipment, but I’ll be heading to REI to get new lungs with a bigger capacity. It was such a successful outing; I’m offering a Don’t Die On The Mountain Kit for only $7,000.  It comes equipped with the 10 essentials including instructions for bunny snares.  It also has real protein bars, not those soccer mom kind.  But what you’re paying for is the Walking Talking Wonder Boots and Super Trekking Poles.Slug Hiking

You see, I’ve decided to sell them. I’m not crazy about change, and I don’t want gear that’s smarter than me. Right now, they’re in the garage, cleaned, conditioned, and sniggering about the slug they carried up hill.

I prefer nonjudgmental equipment like the headlamp.  It’s stays stupid until you ask it to perform, then it’ll show you how bright it is—with no extra comments.

About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
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35 Responses to Smart Hiking Gear for Slugs

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  5. How high were you? And do you Geo Cache when you are out hiking? I think I love the great out doors more than chocolate. Oh, have you seen those new jackets and boots? You push a button and a heater inside comes on. Hmmmm go figure. No more bunnies for you HA 😉 Great post.


  6. I’m glad to know you made it with intact lungs and all. Best of all you had a fun , memorable experience with an amazing view and landscape only a few of us can see in person. I probably would pass out during the altitude change from shortness of breath. You were brave, courageous and full of adventure spirit. A very enjoyable post. thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.


  7. digipicsphotography says:

    Sure glad there’s no snow in Florida or mountains to go hiking on. I’m not the adventurous outdoor type. Looks pretty in pictures …. especially if someone else takes them.


  8. rose lefebvre says:

    My slippers always hide and I end up tiptoeing out to get mail. I love going on hikes and walks but not much in the snow. And I avoid many uphill climbs as my knees aged faster than me. Boots? Haven’t worn any in years…


  9. souldipper says:

    We needed that equip a couple of weeks ago when myself and a friend (both over 65!) decided to hike a trail newly broken. It was a hike and climb! – no way to have poles. We needed our hands. For a couple of oldER broads, we did very well! Two hours up, 1/2 hour down! 😀

    I love hiking. Thanks for the giggles.


  10. pattisj says:

    Sequestered in the mountains to work on NaNoWriMo…sounds fun. Seriously, there is ANOTHER Cowboys fan? I’m related to a couple of those.


  11. Beth says:

    As I sit here, cozy and warm, thanks to NWNaturalGas, and gaze out the closed, double glazed window at the sunny afternoon through the falling leaves, I’m dreading the cold to come. No way would ANY of my clothes allow me to venture too close to snow in higher elevations. Thanks goodness we rarely have snow down here on the valley floor.
    My slippers aren’t smart enough to stay out of the kitchen, though. Guess I need to upgrade.


  12. Julie says:

    You are much braver than I am. Do you still have any of those kits left for quite a steal? Great ending with the headlamp. Thanks for visiting me, and I look forward to seeing more of you.


    • Barb says:

      What? You want to steal a kit? Did I mention there’s rope in it. Let’s just say it’s anchored against theft and bunny rabbits. I enjoyed your blog.


  13. I have worn a headlamp to see the tiny stitches of my Aida cloth cross stitching in the broad daylight of my living room sofa. I enjoyed reading this in my Ariats, sitting from my chair that swivels and rocks.


    • Barb says:

      Those headlamps are pretty handy, aren’t they. ? I like the spinning part of the chair. Makes me feel like I’m at Disneyland. Thanks for stopping by.


  14. Les O'Riley says:

    Barb, that was a truly inspiring account. I miss Upper New York State where I used to go hiking and camping as a kid, in the winter. No bugs, no snakes, no heat stress. (Yes, we get hot hiking no matter what the outside temp is, but who’d want to hike in Oklahoma summers when it’s 105º?) As a former Okie, I know you know what I’m talking about! Food in the winter also tastes better… even a can of Dinty Moore soup, which you were sure to regret eating the next day, tasted good when cooked over and eaten by a fire. Back then we packed a good bit of “granola” as well, that we got at the “health food store.” I don’t know if either are around any more. Our staple for nourishment back then was “BWAC.” If we had Bread, Wine, Apples & Cheese, we were good to go in the woods for a couple of days. We had one mountain, Whittenburg, that in the winter, by the time you hit 1/3 of the way up, it was always snow-covered the rest of the way. We alway put our tent right on the pinnacle of the mountain, so the wind could blow from miles and miles and flatten our tent whenever it liked. Our cans of crushed pineapple for breakfast had to sleep in our sleeping bags with us or they’d be solid by morning. Those were the days.

    Thanks for the memory stimulation, and for taking us with you on your journey. Take us along more often. Your outdoor adventures are inspiring.


    • Barb says:

      I’ve never slept with cans of pineapple, but I have slept with my fuel canister so it would be warm enough to ignite and heat up water in the morning. Thanks for stopping by Les. I wondered where you’d been. I bet hiking upstate NY is beautiful.


  15. Was this post designed to make the true slugs out here feel inferior? We get no snow here (well every twenty years or so) and have no altitude to speak of and my lungs have still gone out on strike in sympathy.


    • Barb says:

      This post was to caution you to interview your shoes/boots before you buy them. Some of them have quite an attitude. Perhaps its the snow that brings out their crankiness, and that’s why you’ve never witness the sharp tongue of a boot??


  16. Spectra says:

    Sounds to me like you kicked that mountains ass. And no bunnys were killed…right? Great post – I worked up to a huff just reading along.


  17. moma escriva says:

    I’m so exhausted after reading that, I may have trouble managing our steep driveway to get the mail, which isn’t any fun to do anymore since all we get are ads and political garbage and everyone from here to China asking for money!


    • Barb says:

      I’m so sorry Moma. And please remember to send money for this one-time, special offer for the Don’t Die on the Mountain Kit. It isn’t made in China or political.


  18. Alice Lynn says:

    My bathrobe and slippers must be closely related to Roxie’s! They can scarcely be coaxed out to get the morning paper during the summer months. My macho husband doesn’t put on a jacket even in grim winter weather. He just marches across the street and gets the skinny little old Oregonian from the yellow plastic sleeve near the mailbox. I shiver at the window. Good luck selling that 7k hiking package!


  19. Dang girl, you’re hard core! I’ll take one of your $7,000 kits if you throw in the extra lung capacity with it.


    • Barb says:

      Would you like your lung capacity with sequins or beads? Bling can save your life when the helicopter is out looking for you. Beads can be used in the slingshot that’s only an additional $57, and works well on small rodents.


  20. Roxie Matthews says:

    Ha, my bathrobe and slippers are smarter than your wonder boots. They won’t even consider leaving the house, let alone slog gin up a switchback without enough red blood cells to act like a little pack train carrying oxygen to my depleted brain. No, my bathrobe and slippers will face nothing more exciting than an amble down to the end of the driveway to pick up the morning paper. Of course, we rarely see bunny tracks in the snow.


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