So, this happened.
As you can see, the bottom boot is torn to shreds. I have this problem with shoes. I wear them and wear them, until they explode.
I regret that I don’t know the exact year I got these boots, but I’m thinking 2007 or 2008, which means that they have crossed the continental U.S. several times and seen almost as many miles as my Subaru. They contain many happy memories. I used to wear them to school, and when the students would laugh at my ugly kicks, I would inform them that I would be leaving right after school to go to this national park or that mountain or some other national monument. Whenever they were on my feet, it meant that I was going to see something cool.
Once, on one of my many unsuccessful trips up Mary Jane Falls, the top of which I’ve never seen, a student and his bioparents (he was normally in foster care) surprised me on the trail. I got to meet two people that none of my colleagues had ever seen, and the student said, “Oh yeah! You like hiking and stuff, you told us that when you were wearing those boots.”
The boots will be sorely missed. Currently, they are waiting in the corner of my kitchen for me to decide what to do with them. I’m open to suggestions.
It was extremely unfortunate that they went when they did, because it was just before I dragged myself up this butte in a pair of Sketchers slip-ons which everyone knew was hideously inappropriate.
With real generosity of leave-no-one-behind spirit, my companions ambled patiently while I eventually made it there and back.
I was rewarded with this view from the top of the butte.
I will not scale this butte again until my boots have been replaced with a new pair, which, while it may not hold within it the red sands of the trail to Mouse’s Tank or stray pine needles from Old Mill in the Spring Mountains, will take on the dust of the Pine Ridge.
In the immortal words quoted by one of the speakers at an honors’ night I attended when the boots were in their prime, “The journey of a thousand miles begins…under your feet.”