On Saturday, March 1st, I was determined to get a good pair of hiking shoes. I had a hike scheduled for Sunday and I felt I needed to have these shoes. Plus, it kinda would mean that I am serious about my goal and my preparations and all of that stuff. It would be another action. A real, tangible action because money is involved. And shoes that I can feel and hold. It was no longer words in texts and emails. It was no longer Google results and reading. It was shoes. That are made just for hiking. That I would put onto MY feet! It was seriousness.
So, off to REI I went because that is where I was told to go. And once I got there I head straight for the shoes and I saw a woman trying on shoes and she looked like she knew what she was doing so I just started talking to her. I asked her questions about the shoes and what I needed and explained I was a hiking newbie. She was nice and answered my questions as best as she could and then pointed out the REI employee that had been helping her out so much.
So, I talked to him. John at the REI in Tempe. He was so informative and helpful! I told him about my lazy and that I was going to start training and hiking and getting myself ready to hike rim to rim. He immediately was very much like “Yeah, you can do that.” and I was all “I don’t think you understand my lazy. And I’m a nerd!” and he was all “Yup. Nerd here, too. You can do it.”
We looked at all of the ladies’ hiking shoes and trail shoes and he explained the difference and what all I would need to look for in a shoe. He explained how to best avoid blisters and how to properly size the shoe. You have to make sure there is enough room in the toe box so your toes will not hit the end of the shoe as you hike down hill. That is how you avoid damaging your toes and your toenails. So they have an incline rock there in the shoe area for you to stand on to test!
He brought out my size in all of the shoes that would be best for the type of hiking I’ll be doing.
Some of them hit my ankles all wrong, so they were out. One pair didn’t hold my foot in place well enough. Then I tried on these:
They felt the best on my foot and they held my foot in place the best. The traction on the bottom just said to me “I will grab onto rocks and I will not let go!” and I was so happy when they felt wonderful on my feet!
But…my toes were too close to the end. So he suggested a size 8, which they did not have. But they would be getting some on Monday. So I did not get my hiking shoes that day.
What I did leave the store with that day, however, was a deeper sense of “I can do this!” He answered some of questions about the trails in the canyon that put most of my lingering fears to rest. He gave me awesome information to use in my preparations. And he made me feel welcomed and not at all like I was somebody that didn’t belong there. Which is important when anyone decides to take up a new activity. Inclusiveness. It goes a long way.
I checked in on Facebook when I arrived at REI and several people started leaving the “I want to go!” type comments and some started contacting me privately.
Initially this trip was going to be me and two girl friends of mine. One backed out pretty quickly based on the feedback she’d received from some of her friends that have hiked the canyon. Their feedback did not deter me!
One of my Virginia based friends contacted me to see if he, his wife, and another of our friends could go. My answer to them was yes! I feel comfortable with them. I can be myself with them. I can let them know that I’m afraid of certain things. I am comfortable sharing my current state of ugh with them and how hard the preparation and training is for me. I am simply comfortable with them, which for this trip is invaluable. I have to do this with people I am comfortable with. So I am.
And with that I have picked out my hiking shoes and my hiking group. Things are moving along swimmingly!
Tomorrow? I take my first hike!