Aaron recently broke away from the daily grind and got some time to himself in the Patapsco Valley State Park on Buzzards Rock Trail. It was just him and his black KSOs and here is his story:
My first real trail experience in VFF’s is about to begin.
I was very excited to get out on the trail for many reasons. First, I had not had a real hike in a few years. I kept wanting to, but with a wife and baby (he will be two August 23rd), I have found that a full day to tromp around in the woods is a tall order. I teach special education & work part time at an outdoor store. So between two jobs, taking care of Eli and trying to avoid housework, I have my hands pretty full.
I finally decided the time had come to get outside. I slapped on my black KSO’s, jumped in the car, put the top down*, and headed to Buzzards Rock Trail.
I was grinning ear to ear as I stepped on the cool soft dirt trail. I was connected to the environment in a very deep way. All of the sights, sounds, and smells I had been away from for so long were right there where I left them.
Each step was better than the last. I wanted to go faster. I wanted to be miles down the trail. I was eager to make my way over all of the rocks and roots nature could put in my way. The freedom and peace I felt was amplified by the added freedom I gave my feet.
My Vibrams performed very well. My feet wanted to take off running, but I knew I should take it a little easy. I understood that my feet may not be ready just yet. I still need to continue to toughen and strengthen them. (Not to mention that I was out there alone and needed to keep safety in mind.)
In addition to hiking the trails, I did a fair amount of climbing and clambering about the rocks and hills. I bounded down the trail fiercely and fearlessly. I marched on until I felt a little something in my shoe. It wasn’t anything big. It was just there. I wondered what it was and how it got there. I decided to take a short break, relieve my shoe of its uninvited passenger (a piece of dried leaf) and eat my banana.
As I sat there, I took a look at the soles of my shoes. They were fine. No punctures or tears. There was trail dirt on my KSO’s. I have to admit, I felt super cool. “This is fantastic”, I thought to myself. In addition to the increase in balance and stability, I felt a stronger connection to the natural world all around. I was already looking forward to coming back and being able to do more. You wouldn’t think that a pair of shoes could make this much difference. You won’t truly understand what I am saying until you try it for yourself.
I used a makeshift trekking pole (A long stick I found on the trail) to get up after finishing my snack. I stuck my trekking stick under a large stone to aid my standing up. I inadvertently jarred the large basketball sized stone loose and it took a tumble. A long, long tumble. The landscape was quite steep at this particular point, so once the stone got moving; it went barreling down crushing out a path as it fled the scene. It was an awesome, impressive sight. I thought about what might lie beyond what I could see and hoped no one was in its path. The sounds it made should have alarmed anything and anyone of the raw power heading its way.
I did have a little trouble with traction at one point. It was a steep downward slope that was very gravelly. I felt the ground move beneath my feet. Rather than risk losing my footing, I squatted down in a “crabwalk” stance and crept down the slippery slope. I was worried about coming back up, but it was not particularly problematic. I managed to scramble back up with just a few leaping steps.
The sensations I felt when negotiating rougher ground were significant. I could feel every rock and root. It wasn’t painful, but it easily could have been had I not been careful. I was more careful than I would have been with heavy boots on, but much less careful than I would have been in nude feet. It really is the best of both worlds.
If you are reading this, you either know what I am talking about or are contemplating taking the plunge for yourself. If you are thinking about it, Just do it. Just try a pair on. You won’t be disappointed. Just make sure you don’t try to do too much too soon.
As Mars Blackmon said of Air Jordan’s in the 1980’s “Money, it’s gotta be the shoes”
*Ok, so I don’t really have a convertible, but it made for a great visual, didn’t it?
Aaron, thanks for sharing your get away with us. Sounds like your black KSOs were a wise purchase.