|Home Sweet Minneapolis|
My dining room table is finally emptying of its collection of necessities for our trip, and I our shopping is done. I still have several “business” (aka-writing job) activities to finish and I would love to leave my house at least vacuumed and free of anything sitting in garbage cans that might stink up the place while we’re gone—so that’s still on my list for today before we head out the door!
My ability to procrastinate never ceases to amaze me.
Nonetheless, we usually manage to make it to where we need to go and, fortunately, we don’t have to leave until quite late tonight night, so it’s like having an extra day!
|Tami, Pete, Me and Jan|
Despite the crazy schedule this past month, we’ve managed to get in some good training hikes, and there’s no doubt it helps to have fun while you’re doing that. We have awesome hiking buddies in my brother Pete and his girlfriend Tami—two people who are fun and funny and are training for their own upcoming hiking trip in Colorado.
|Climbing above Red Wing, MN|
In the past several weeks we’ve found some great places to get in hill hiking and long walks to test new back-up shoes. Along the way, Pete and I found ways to scare our partners (walking too close to the edges of drop-offs), disrespect Mother Nature (telling fart jokes in the middle of the beautiful outdoors) and pretty much undo the healthful benefits of miles of walking by finding decadent food to eat after the hikes.
|The long straight road to New Prague|
|New hiking boots--twins with Tami!|
|My very own hiking pants|
Our hiking venues are generally state parks, but Jan and I also got in an 11.5 mile trek along paved county roads from our house in Webster, MN to the relative metropolis of New Prague. The walk seemed endless, but it was satisfying to accomplish, and the biggest thrill of the endeavor was learning that the new arch supports in my ancient hiking boots will work, and my new hiking low top boots will work even better -- all maybe even without blisters -- to carry me along the West Highland Way.I also checked new hiking pants, a long-sleeved tech shirt, and new hiking poles off my to-buy list. The pants were a special treat for me since last time we distance-trekked, I used hand-me-downs from Jan. True story! I’m a bit smaller in the waist this time around, so I got to get my very own Columbias with actual zip-off legs (technical term: convertible pants). I tell you, it’s the little things.
I got my Scottish pedicure--a very important part of getting ready. And Jan got his hippie hair cut (I love his old guy pony tail!) so I think the grooming is taken care of.
|The St. Andrew's Cross is on the Scottish national flag|
Some of the hillier training we did was at Afton State Park, where I gave the new shoes a good workout on these knee-crusher washout outs! Shoes=successful!
|Minnesota is gorgeous, too -- the Mississippi River from Frontenac State Park|
There are big decisions yet to come, however. I’ll let you know if I manage to make them without trauma. For example: I have some concerns about a bruised heel, so it’s a huge question of what shoes to bring for non-hiking. Some look good for sightseeing and others are more comfy for potentially sore feets. Stay tuned to see whether I decide on tennis shoes (which are aqua and match nothing) or Clarks walking shoes that I bought for my last big vacation which are leather and pretty comfy but not as comfy as the tennies. Such important stuff.
|Aqua running shoes or cute walkers? What's your vote?|