Tag Archives: Colin Fletcher

Vital Foundations: of Hiking Boots

Vasque Cascades

Vasque Cascades (Photo credit: simonov)

I remember the first thing I bought was a pair of Vasque Cascade backpacking boots.  They were the last pair from an outfitter just outside Albemarle, NC.  At the time I had done some day hikes in the Uwharrie National Forest and sneakers were inadequate.  Plus I had read up on The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher, and it was pretty obvious that more substantial hiking gear was needed for whatever sort of trip I was going to take.

Unlike boot care today, I had to SnoSeal those babies to soften the leather and then walk around with them for weeks to break them in.  I wore them to work at the radio station, around town, in the mall, pretty much anywhere I could.

Linville Falls in the Linville Gorge Wildernes...

Linville Falls in the Linville Gorge Wilderness. Photo taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 in Burke County, North Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Soon enough came time to give them a real test; a shakedown backpacking trip up at Linville Gorge Wilderness in the Blue Ridge mountains.

Wildly rugged and accessible only by a washboard road which goes well off the asphalt, Linville Gorge Wilderness is known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” and offers a stunning challenge of hiking trails, from simple visits to an overlook to drops into the deep, cool environs along the riverbank.

For me, the first break-in hike was up to Table Rock, which soared over the eastern rim of the Linville Gorge.  Table Rock was a bear to climb, but it proved the boots were more than up to the task of

Tablerock Mountain as seen from Dogback Mountain

Tablerock Mountain as seen from Dogback Mountain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

putting down serious trail miles.  Sturdy and reliable, I never so much as turned an ankle.  The added insurance of stiff leather hugging my ankles firmly went a long way to boosting my confidence when negotiating strenuous trail.  And nothing else beat the exhilaration of standing on top of the summit without so much as a blister.


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Filed under The Appalachian Trail