Monday, November 19, 2007

A Better Way Down the Mountain

As I've written about before I've been struggling with finding a safe way to descend our scree stewn, ball bearing like fireroads that we have in the Bay Area. I was seriously considering carrying a scooter up and riding it down but that would likely get me in trouble on the No Bike trails. Kahtoola, who is a very innovative winter sports company and who has solved the problem of how to fit crampons on flexible shoes, has done it again and my hiking life is now so much easier.

The answer is the MICROSpikes which are a pair of small spikes that fit over your shoes and are made for walking on ice, dirt, and even concrete.

I went back to the Rose Peak area where I struggled so much to get down the hills that I had cheerfully bounded up. This is the very same hike where I injured my foot and it stayed swollen for a month and a half, due to some previously undiagnosed bone spurs in my right foot.

The steepest part of the climb is from the sign in sheet to the top of Rocky Ridge (basically the first part of the climb.) I got up there and had a great time doing so as I brought my heart rate monitor and noticed that I was able to climb at a faster heart rate that I was able to before.

Then I got to the top and put the spikes on the Keens I was wearing. What a miracle. They were perfect. I could walk down the hill like a normal person. I felt confident and moved at a steady rate. The only downside is that after a period of time your feet will become aware of the spike bases pushing into the sole, but it's tolerable for 30 minutes or so and probably much more tolerable with a stiffer sole than the Keens.

My hiking life is back now.

Muddy Spike

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