The story goes that when Molly was told she and her sister, Paige, were staying with us she let forth a gleeful cry, "I get to go hiking with Uncle John!"
Or perhaps it was a pitiful whimper, "I have to go hiking with Uncle John."
Regardless, she was going hiking. Damn it. Preferably in the snow. Definitely in the cold. After the failure of Snowquest II it was pretty clear it wasn't going to be a winter wonderland style outing. Instead, it'd be a traditional, "Do you think it's stopped raining enough for me to go out with the kids?" kind of November hike.
Lilly was smart enough to say she didn't want to go. Paige opted to nap. Clara, Molly, and Henry, were too easily swayed and off we went.
Now, surely, you're thinking this was just another of my wild a crazy schemes to get on the trail just to get on the trail. Well, kind of. But, you see, I had new gear to try out. If the kids hadn't gone I probably would have still found some time because I had new gear to try out.
And what might this new gear be? Why, only the freakiest looking shoe you've ever seen. The kind of shoe that makes you wonder why dims over there is hiking barefoot and why his skin looks all leathery and nasty. Or maybe you realize it's not his skin and you wonder what kind of hippy freak would wear a pair of shoes with freakin' toes!
I've long maintained that shoes with toes are wrong. But receiving a pair as a gift from your beloved wife who is tired of hearing you moan about how heavy your boots are when running the trail has a way of changing your mind. In fact, my mind has changed so much I now maintain I was misquoted before. Shoes with toes are not wrong. They are... natural.
Ok, that's going a bit far. Let's go with "different."
We had a good walk to the upper waterfall and even made pretty good time. Henry's all about hiking since he conquered the Twin Falls trail last week so he led much of the way. Clara regaled poor Molly with tales of the trail, pointing out Tokul's Pool, Turtle Rock, Fishy Rock, the Benches, Skiing Rock, the Big Tree, and finally the Buddha Cave.
"What's a Buddha Cave?" asked Molly.
"It's a BOOTY Cave!" cackled Henry.
It went downhill from there and not just because we were at the top of the hill.
After the obligatory pictures at the overlook we returned to Tokul's Pool for some rock throwing and I reflected on my new shoes. Not bad. Not bad at all.
So when the kids were settled down and I had a few minutes to break away I put the freaky... er... awesome shoes on and ran out the door. My normal time to the Iron Horse and back (five miles) is right at an hour. I figured maybe I'd be 1:15 testing out the new shoes. I shaved five minutes off my climb and I felt like I was floating up the trail. The way down was about three minutes slower as I picked my way through the rocks a little more carefully in deference to the thin soles on the shoes. A new world's record (for me on this day at this time). Not bad. Not bad at all.
So the verdict. I'd say the Vibram Five Fingers KSO Treks are not bad. Not bad at... wait... did I mention the next day? The excruciating pain in my calves? What about the aches in the top of my right foot? Or what about the second day when I could hardly go up and down stairs?
Ok, so I may have overdone it a just a wee bit, but really, the new shoes, all 10 toes of them, aren't bad. Not bad at all.
Total fleet-footed stats: 8.4 miles and about 1,450 feet of gain. Total number of ibuprofin tablets trying to recover: At least three handfuls. (They taste just like Smarties if you chew them with Coke!)