Women’s Wilderness Legend Waterproof

Last night I bought some hiking boots that are JUST LIKE my old favorite hiking boots — same brand, same design — that I ultimately had to retire. I had replaced the soles at least three times. There was no leather left for another time. I left them behind in Zürich and discovered trail running shoes.

But last night I got an advertisement from Merrell, the company that made my old boots. They still make the same boots (some changes) and I noticed they were half price. For some mysterious reason that I do not understand I bought them. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was attempt to cancel the order. I mean, seriously?

No luck. They’re already being shipped. That’s absurdly efficient. The service person at Merrell is waiving the return fee so I will have the chance to put them on once and send them back. I don’t need such robust boots at this moment of my life. Or do I? What if I DO make the transition to snow shoes? There’s no reason I couldn’t wear these.

Do we all have objects that are emblematic of not just things we’ve done and moments in our lives, but of who we ARE?

I was also thinking how as young people we think older people are “done” in the sense that it’s time to take the turkey out of the oven. The older people just hang out for our convenience until they die, meanwhile we’re evolved into some other kid’s old person. Sometimes I see something someone has written about the loss of their parent and almost invariably they say things like “I don’t know how I’ll carry on without my dad. He was always there for me.” I would have said the same thing — and probably did — when I lost my dad. So many of the people we know are really just our idea of who they are. That, I realize, is my problem with the little family up the alley that I love but am currently giving a wide berth. I’m not who they imagine me to be. That is exactly how we end up disappointed in other people. We think they’ve let us down when we just imagined them as someone they never were.

We also have ideas of who we are ourselves are, and, it seems, my idea of myself includes these boots. I know that just in this past year I’ve gone through a lot of changes, and I’ve experienced little epiphanies of self-discovery and self-knowledge. I think many of us have. I guess I like to think of myself as Women’s Wilderness Legend, Waterproof.


42 thoughts on “Women’s Wilderness Legend Waterproof

  1. A great name for yourself! And a great tie-in to my recent post about favorite tools. It sounds like those boots were a favorite tool of yours. Will a new pair give you back your old hips? No. But will they bring back some of the joy of hiking/walking? Maybe. Will they seem really heavy now and you won’t know that until you actually get outside (so they are no longer returnable)? Or will they feel so good and so supportive that you feel light on your feet again? Even if you only wear them in winter (when trail running shoes are probably inadequate), they may be what you want…and they may last the rest of your life. Keep us posted.

    • I have no idea how it’s going to be with those boots, but it was really hard to say goodbye to them in 1997 though what happened after was great, too. But Salomon sold that particular trail running shoe to Adidas to build and they changed it so much it vanished. Everything you say about the possibilities is true. I’m just going to have to see. Right now I’m hiking/walking in some nice Asolo low-top boots and they probably weigh as much as these do. I was thinking that since the X-country skiing might be a no-go except on groomed trails, and I might change to or add snowshoes, these are fine for that. Maybe it’s a sign. I have no idea. Again. :p

  2. You could paint a garden sign saying: “Boots Worn Here!” Was the purchase folly? Maybe. But sometimes it is liberating to embrace folly. I do it, pretty much, every day.

    • Down here people would think I mean c’boy boots! 😀

      I think what got me was they were marked down from $400 to $200. Considering how many lesser boots go for that… Folly I think so but maybe good folly.

  3. This post resonated with me, as so many of yours do!! This past spring and summer I had a couple of falls and decided to pull out my old hiking boots, similar to the pair you purchased, and I felt so much more supported than my more modern hiker/walker shoes. And believe it or not, I did not fall again! Not that you are falling, but maybe they just might give you the support you need…and like you were saying, those hikers are a statement of who I am. Hey, and there is no way I am going to be “done” like the turkey even though I thought I would never hike again after Larry passed, because that was us. Then a group of colleagues, that I didn’t spend time with but they knew how much the outdoors meant to me, and one simple invitation, led to an unlikely group of 4 and we call ourselves the Prairie Wanderers. We’re planning an overnight hike to Grey Owls cabin. It will probably kill us, but hey, life is about the doing. And yes, we can’t always live up to everyone’s expectations, but who they think you are is who you are to them, and none of us are perfect. Keep and enjoy the boots on the Big Empty!

  4. See how they feel upon their arrival. Happy feet, keep ’em. Good shoes/boots are hard to find, and I really resonate with your experience of “improvements” ruining something that worked well.

    To paraphrase Monty P, the turkey ain’t done yet.

  5. If the shoe fits, wear it. 🙂

    Snow shoes are a great Idea. I understand there’s a bit of getting used to them. There’s a slightly different set of muscles involved from skiing. Beats the heck out of post-holing.

  6. I think that there are all sorts of versions of ourselves running around in the minds and hearts of our fellow humans. The only ones who know us as we are are the dogs and they are very hard to disappoint! I think you need to give the people around you a little more credit to recognize the difference between what they want and what they get. As for the hiking boots – the heart knows what it wants even if it is at odds with the brain.

    • Today the kids came over with their mom and I had a talk with the kids’ mom and said I’m not up to being a grandma or teacher. I’m cool with just being the kids’ friend. When I was a kid growing up, NO ONE ever listened to me. I don’t expect the people who are close to me to listen to me — it’s my own thing to deal with I think. She totally got it and the kids don’t know any different. We talked about the changes we’ve all gone through this year. It seems like our lives are a continual learning experience.

      And yeah. Animals know us. Funny but we talked about that today, too. Bear got to spend a long time with “her” kids and had many walks around the yard. They were happy because they’ve never walked Bear themselves. She’s so patient, so gentle, and so aware.

  7. I love that you ordered the boots – you had me at half price. But, seriously, your inner hiker couldn’t help herself and good for her. Why not? – even if you just wear them around the house or when you paint or garden. I am so much younger in my head and I do remember the perception of “old age” when I was much younger…and how off base I was, but still had no idea. However, to be honest, I also have to admit I needed to deprogram myself over the last 10 years (really 15 years) to internalize that I am truly not “done.” Also coming to grips with adult children who don’t really see me as a person is a tough one. Perhaps, as you say, I may not be who they think I am or was – leaving them disappointed. This past year has sucked on many levels, but my little epiphanies of clarity have been quite remarkable. Great post.

    • Thank you!

      Yes! I’ve had to “deprogram” myself too just in that way. Not “done” at all, but different. I have an adult not my child but kind of an adopted child (long story) who doesn’t see me as a person, either. It’s frustrating sometimes to try explaining something (true) to him. He doesn’t hear me. Other younger friends sometimes confuse who I am with what I look like. I call them on it because, dammit, if I can’t be myself at 69 what’s up with that?

      • It is just so maddening to not be heard – when we clearly deserve to be – gray hairs or not. It pisses me off now more than getting depressed about it. Damn straight we can be ourselves in our 60s. WTF not? (I seem to dropping the WTF bomb way more often this past year).

  8. BTW, you need to have a couple of people who will look in on you now and then, you know, someone to notice when there is a bad smell coming from your house. I don’t drink and I’ve had a glass of wine so I think I’m hilarious.

  9. I love this in so many ways. The name is perfect. After wearing Merrell hiking for several years I happened to switch to some Keen’s dye to needing a wider toe box after a foot injury. They have become a part of me and I ordered another pair last year (in green of all things 🙂 they fit me just like flannel fits me. In reflecting on my last relationships, and in current ones, it seems that others wanted something different than the same flannel and the same boots. But they’re me. Authentically me. I guess I had to lower my expectations so much in my life that I became a hard-lined realist in relationships. You are who you are. I am who I am. And I’m just to love with the simplicity of the Golden Rule. But when it comes down to those closest to me, I’ll keep lacing the same boots. Your writing is a highlight to my days. 💛

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