A-boot Halfway There.

As with every undertaking in life, the beginning is usually the most challenging and as you go on it becomes easier and easier. This philosophy definitely applies to hiking, however the Pyrenean mountains seem to have something to say about that. As we keep getting fitter and our feet keep getting tougher, the mountains just keep getting bigger. However, as they say, it is no fun if it is not a challenge. But that is enough deep thought for one blog post.
This week has been full of us making this already challenging walk even more challenging. Firstly, was the lovely 16km detour we took as we walked out of Luz St. Sauvignon on the first day (Doug has given plenty details if anyone is interested). On all counts the detour would have been lovely if only we had meant to take it. Secondly, I, in moment of stupidity or clumsiness, (I like to think they are not all that often) took us up an extra 300/400m ascent in the wrong direction, before quickly releasing the mistake and having to go all the way back down, to then go up another 250m, to where we originally meant to be. But, as I tried to incorporate into my apology to the others, the view from the top of our detour was actually very nice. Those of you on snapchat would have seen it. Stunning!

But this week was really all about the boots. These blog posts aren’t meant to be kit reviews, and not pointing any fingers, but hi-Tec boots are rubbish. Well mine were anyway.
As we wandered out of Luz I had stocked up on duct tape and some sort of putty that was meant for DIY enthusiasts. This was due to the fact that the sole of my right boot had decided that it no longer needed to be apart of the rest of the boot. Being the student that I am, I didn’t let this phase me and I was adamant that I was not going to buy a new pair of boots. With that in mind I used a mix of putty and duct tape in an attempt to hold it all together (see below).

 

Duct footed

Duct footed

Personally, I thought I had done a fantastic job, however the sceptical looks that I got from Doug, Fiona, and everyone else that walked by seemed to paint a different picture. I was so optimistic that my tape job would work that I even tried to get the #GetCraigsBootsToBanyuls going but that never really got off the ground, to Doug and Fiona’s amusement.
At this stage I was pretty optimistic that I could make the boot last. It may cost me 30€ in duct tape, but it would work.

A slight problem in my seemingly flawless plan was the weather. As you can imagine having a massive hole in your boot when the heavens open is not the best of situations to be in. I came up with 2 solutions, either buy a supply of plastic bags so that whenever it rained I could cover the boot with the bag and prevent it from getting wet. Or, we would stop when it started raining and seek shelter.
Doug quickly pointed out the fact that wearing a plastic bag over your boot would mean you had little to no grip. Fair point. So with that in mind I chose the latter of the two options.
As the week went on and we continued to make the challenging walk even more challenging, the boot just got worse and worse. On top of this was the weather. The reliable as ever iPhone weather said there was a 100% chance of thunderstorms at 2/3pm basically everyday last week. In reality, they only really struck once. Turns out iPhone weather predictions are even less reliable in the Pyrenees than they are in the rest of the world. However the fear of the thunderstorms was enough to worry myself and my boot. I knew that getting the boot soaked would inevitably lead to them being chucked in the bin and it would bring a sad end to the #GetCraigsBootsToBanyuls campaign.

DCIM100GOPRO

Doug trying to cheer me and my wet feet up.

Unfortunately by the third day of taping and sticking my boot together I had come to the extremely upsetting realisation that the boots life was coming to an end.
I think the moment they really died was when half the insole fell out leaving me only my sock and the sole of the boot for protection from the mud and rocks. To add to the already very upsetting events of that day, the rain had started pouring an hour or so before we reached camp. However, thankfully this horrifying deterioration struck on the final day of the week. So, with half a boot and a soaking foot, the week came to an end and we trudged into Luchon.
I’m sure you are all as upset as I am about the death of my boots, however with the death of the #GetCraigsBootsToBanyuls campaign brings life to the #GetCraigNewBootsFromHiTec campaign. Feel free to use the hashtag.
After a stressful boot problem filled week, we have had a lovely rest day in Luchon. We have restocked on food and are ready for the Ariege (apparently the hardest 2 weeks of the walk). Fingers crossed the new salomon boots fair better than the hi-tecs.
P.s. Remember the prayers for the 10 Swedish girls and we will change it from, prayers for Fiona’s feet to prayers for my new boots.