I’m the kind of girl who packs the night before. Okay, sometimes even the morning of. So hubby reviewed the itinerary for my upcoming adventure to Saguenay, Quebec on my behalf and suggested that I’d better buy some hiking boots. And also, some waterproof pants and proper rain jacket.
Seeing as how I don’t think I’ll be heading out on lots of adventures involving lots of rain over the next few years, I told him I’d buy some boots, but that he’d need to lend me his Gore Tex rain gear. He didn’t look that keen on it for a moment, but as soon as I reminded him of the cost, I had him on my side.
But there was no way I was going to escape needing boots since he wears a size 13. So off I went to trusty ol’ Mountain Equipment Co-op.
There I was in my office attire, staring blankly at the wall of footwear. All I wanted was to put some comfy clothes on and eat some dinner, but instead I had the daunting task of picking out boots — surely the very last pair of hiking boots I will ever own (they last forever, don’t they?).
A pleasant young woman went back and forth with boxes of different styles for me until finally it came down to a choice between two pairs. They were both waterproof, solid, well-made and comfortable. But I wasn’t particularly happy … I didn’t like the colour of either pair. “Why couldn’t they make these in a nice, classic black,” I moaned to the saleswoman. To her credit, she smiled sweetly.
What had started as a simple quest for a $99-pair of leather hiking boots that were well-reviewed on the MEC site, finished with me walking away with a $219 pair of boots. Granted, it’s not surprising that I got “upsold” … really, it’s not terribly difficult, especially when my blood-sugar levels are low. In fact, I can usually doing all the up-selling on my own.
But I am disappointed. I really would have much rather have spent that kind of money on a coveted pair of Fluevog shoes. I have yet to own a pair, and I really, really want too. Like these, for instance:
But noooooooo … instead, I walked away with one of these numbers from Salomon:
I also bought a good pair of wool socks to wear with them to avoid blisters and keep my tootsies comfy. They are no where near as cute as my Hello Kitty socks, but they’ll have to do.
I wanted to end the spending on these decidedly “not cute” items, but realized that it would be awkward to go trekking in one of my ten thousand pairs of black dress pants. (One really can never have too many pairs of black pants, can they?)
So off I went to the women’s hiking pants section.
This may come as a big surprise, but “quick dry” material is not that attractive. At least not to me. I checked out the waist bands on these things too and wondered if I was even going to fit in a pair of pants at this store! I asked the salesperson working in this section if there were any pant styles that included a granny-style elastic waist. She tried hard not to wince while directing me to a pair.
I took said granny-waist style into the change room. For $39, I figured I couldn’t go wrong — practical, functional and cheap. But after trying them on, I realized that practicality would not cut it for me in this situation. I asked the saleswoman for a tailored-style waist, explaining that the other ones were so unflattering that if I wore them I’d risk throwing myself over the kayak in despair.
I got the next style of pants on. Yes, these were a better fit. And yes, they were more flattering. But it was all relative because there was no doubt about it — I looked like a frumpy woman trying to kid herself that she was still an adventurer.
Then I started wondering what age the other women would be on the trip? And what level of fitness would they be? Or if maybe I am over-estimating how “rough” the trip will be and they will all be wearing cute yoga pants and flip flops while I stand there like a dork all outfitted up. And mostly, if I looked this ridiculous in the change room, how ridiculous would I look when I was actually outdoors?
Like the kid showing up to school wearing bright white sneakers, I’ll be clunking around in my unscuffed hiking boots and quick-dry pants.
But now, unlike back then, I’ve learned to laugh at myself. A lot. So I’m really looking forward to this trip!