I’ve been really happy with the Hoka One One Challenger trail running shoes I bought a couple of months back so I recently picked up a pair from their more trail-oriented line, the Speedgoats, to use on longer hikes when my feet get a bit sore in my regular hiking shoes. REI had several colors in my size and I liked them all, two fairly subtle and this pair in Superman’s colors. I debated which pair to order but decided on the playful colors even though I knew from experience the desert would quickly mute them. I have two identical pairs of my regular hiking shoes, one in black and one in tan, and it takes more than a quick glance to distinguish them.
The picture above was from their first hike to the top of the hill at Cavalliere Park, it’s good for testing new shoes since the short loop never takes you too far from the car but it also has a hill with these jagged rocks at the top to test out the footing. Last weekend I took them on a 4 mile hike in the morning on gentle terrain and a 6 mile hike in the afternoon with some elevation changes. The picture below is from the high point of the afternoon hike where the Quartz and Flat Rock trails meet at Cave Creek Regional Park, a thick coat of dust dulling the colors in the evening light.
Love them so far, I think they’ll be a nice addition to my little family of hiking shoes.
I like orange in many guises, whether orange the fruit or orange the tabby or orange the color. In Oregon I had many uses for shoes that don’t apply here in Arizona so I’ve been letting my array of kicks dwindle as the old shoes slowly wear out. I did pick up a pair of trail runners recently to replace two pairs of shoes on their last legs, this style could fill multiple roles but my intent is to use them as a complement to my hiking shoes and to try some occasional light trail and road running. I haven’t run in decades and wasn’t serious about it even then, I found it a joyous way to exercise but quit when I felt it was hurting my knees. I’ve worn the shoes to work a few times to make sure I like them as they’ll be permanently covered in dust once they greet the desert. The Hoka One One brand is new to me but given the closeout pricing and the delightful colors and some positive reviews on Youtube I decided to give them a go.
For a while now I haven’t ventured out to parks I haven’t visited a number of times, partly because I like getting to know an area over time but also because I was trying to limit the number of new things in my life after a couple of years of significant change. I took a few days off at Christmas and decided to take some baby steps with my free time, finally visiting a couple of county parks I hadn’t been to yet and getting an annual pass. One park was the babiest of steps as I accessed it from a trail I hike all the time. I was back at work the next week but had New Year’s Day off, planning to sleep in and be well rested for the remainder of the work week. However as has happened multiple times recently, I woke up early and couldn’t get to sleep so I headed up to visit a third county park near here, Spur Cross Ranch.
I could hardly believe my eyes but for the first time since I left Oregon I saw running water on the trails! I first crossed Cottonwood Creek, which was such a trickle I hopped over it, but Cave Creek was flowing like an honest-to-goodness creek. I decided to commemorate the occasion with a picture of my hiking shoe next to the water, a rather poignant moment for me as I bought these waterproof shoes right before my team got laid off a couple of years ago and thus never had a chance to use them in the wet of the Pacific Northwest. I’ve worn them on occasion here but they have been in regular use this winter and did great on a couple of recent hikes where it poured rain.
Some reminders of my former home in my new home, I’ve been beyond blessed to be able to live in such beautiful places.
Red, yellow, brown, orange, these are the colors of fall. I’ll include the picture below as well, a sidewalk paved with gold, in case you prefer your fall colors a little less silly.
Continuing on the yellow theme, I recently had to shift my beloved orange New Balance running shoes to dog park status as the fabric was starting to tear. I like having bright shoes to make me more visible as I walk to and from the train so I replaced them straightaway with a pair of bright yellow sneakers, as this seems to be their current bright color of choice. Sitting between my feet is my Tom Bihn ID messenger bag with its lovely aubergine front, keeping my MacBook and iPad safe and secure as I ride the MAX to work.
We had a sunny day on Friday so while I was taking pictures on the way home from work, I took a quick picture of my favorite pair of shoes, orange New Balance trail runners that are coming out of winter hibernation and returning to the regular rotation. I picked them up a couple of years ago after I returned to commuting by train and wanted to be more visible as I walk to and from the station or around town. The sun was low in the sky when I took the picture, and I in shade, but you can get a glimpse of how visible they are in low contrast light that causes human vision to stumble. I love everything about the shoes and should have bought a handful when I realized how much I liked them so I could store them in the closet and have a supply for years to come.
I was walking Ellie a couple of weeks ago on one of her long morning weekend walks when I felt the sole break in my other favorite pair of shoes, a black pair of New Balance trail runners from four years ago (a different style), finally succumbing after years of steady use. I stepped carefully for the rest of the walk and thankfully they held together enough that I didn’t have to cut her walk short. I sadly placed them in the trashcan when we got home, thankful for the years of use, they started out as shoes for summer hiking but I loved them so much they became one of my main shoes until they started to show signs of wear and were relegated to dog walking the past year or so.
I needed new hiking shoes and when I saw that The North Face had a model named Hedgehogs, I took this as a sign from God. The problem with signs, though, is how to interpret them. Was this a sign that they would bring me as much happiness as Ellie’s hedgehogs bring her? Or a sign that she would chew my Hedgehogs as mercilessly as she chews hers?
Ever the optimist I gambled on the former and so far, so good. I’m still breaking them in, REI didn’t have them in my normal size of 9.5 but half a size larger seems to be working OK. I wore them outside for the first time today on our evening walk, I’ll probably give them more of a workout in the Gorge this weekend to see how they do on hills. Plus I need to ease my body back into hiking if I’m going to take a big hiking trip late this month as I usually do.