Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best Piece of Field Equipment

Without a doubt the single best piece of field equipment I have ever owned has been my pair of Vasque Hiking boots.  I know that may seem like a strange statement from an avowed techno-geek but I say that with no exaggeration these have been the best piece of field equipment I have ever owned.  Sure there is the nostalgic factor that these were the very first pair of dedicated all-terrain hiking boots that I purchased back in 1994 as I was preparing to head off for college but still these boots have been great.  I vividly remember getting them at our local Big-5 sporting goods store, they were on special sale because they were last years model, the green and brown color scheme was replaced with blue and grey in the new model as I recall.  No matter they were a steal and a much needed requirement for the upcoming 2-week wilderness orientation program I was about to embark on (Project WILD).  The boots managed to carry me not only through that trip but through my entire college and graduate career.  Every field trip and every single research cruise I have been on these boots made the journey.  When I worked for big oil in Houston and the Permian Basin these boots where there.  When I went off to Australia for a Fulbright year these boots were there.   A short and non-exhaustive lists of destinations for these prized Vasque boots includes: Australia, New Zealand, Panama, England, the Black Sea, the North Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific, 

Now it is true they pretty much lack any semblance of tread at this point and the soles now provide the kind of protection and support of a last years slippers but ugly as they are, like me they have survived.  The only thing I have ever had to do was replace shoelaces and I am up to set number 8 by last count.  The eyelets and the hooks are rusted and where the foot bends they have started to crack but like an old security blanket I just can't seem to give them up and I've not found a pair that are as comfortable as familiar anywhere.

So in this time of change and renewal I salute the one constant in all of my field Vasque boots.  Hey maybe someday they'll bury me in them?!

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