I never felt a need for hiking shoes in the first place, but I was participating with a
deafening herd of buffalos hiking group, and
the hikers thought hiking shoes were mandatory. I dutifully, if reluctantly, parted with over $100.00 for a pair
of very stiff shoes. A few weeks later,
I found a broken-in pair at the thrift shop for $5.00. If I'm going to remember to wear hiking
shoes, I'll wear the $5.00 pair.
Once I had the expensive shoes, I wondered aloud why people buy them. A man told me it was because the shoes offered a better grip on the trail. I pointed out that my tennis shoes had a good tread on the bottom, but the man just gave me a look that clearly expressed disdain for my ignorance. I sighed, and marched in line with the noisy buffalos.
My brother is a better hiking companion. He doesn't burden me with non-stop, persistent chatter, but he isn't a mute either. We have pleasant conversation along the way, and listen to the birds sing. We stop to eat blackberries and look at butterflies which isn't possible with the buffalos since wildlife flees from hiking groups.
Sometimes I think I should join another hiking group even though they tend to be relentlessly cheerful morning people who rhapsodize about dressing in layers. These people make me crazy, but there's something to be said for weekly exercise. Once I resigned myself to waking up early on Sunday mornings, I usually had a pretty good time with the hiking group. Okay, to be perfectly honest, I disliked hiking with them. I enjoyed the after-hike lunches at local restaurants where I gained back whatever calories I might have accidentally dropped along the trail.
I think I just need a different group. The hiking group I used to play with was really a group of bicyclists who hiked together in winter. I've always had a strong mistrust of men in colorful spandex tights, even if they don't wear them on winter hikes. I know they own those things, and there's just something deeply wrong about that.
I'm not very attached to "shoe" as the word for the week. I know there are a lot of people with shoe fetishes, but I'm not one of them. For now, I'm just delaying the moment when I put on my lawn mowing shoes and attack the front yard. I'd rather go hiking.