A friend, Paul A is always picking on me...lol...and in his good-natured way took me to task for my hiking shoes in this image from Togwotee, Wyoming...(Google Maps is not your friend in this instance!!!...a dot in nowhere about 20 miles west of the Grand Tetons)...illustrated here, with an image shot with my cell phone, to which he objected saying these were improper shoes for cold mountain hiking:
Me & Shoes at link:
So I have to Respond...these are not cold weather foot gear, instead these are a good combination walking-in-water and hiking shoes, which I anticipated doing on this trip like waking The Narrows in the Virgin River, Zion Nation Park, as I did earlier this year. They drain water and dry fast which is why I took them with me.
Alas, or good luck, the waters of the Madison, Yellowstone, upper Snake and even the Firehole Rivers were frigid and ain't nobody fording those unless they had to...and I was debilitated.
I had tweaked my knee somewhere and was in considerable pain and at the Little Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, even though it was a fairly gentle half mile walk back up on fairly even rock terrain, I thought it better than Mr. Adventure go get the car and pick me up rather than tearing up the knee further by pretending to be a manly-man.
Which I am not. A RN but now a Medical IT Specialist traveling with us agree with my caution. Interestingly, another member of our 4 person crew got Acute High Altitude Sickness and twice she had to be taken into urgent care in Jackson Hole to receive IV fluids for dehydration. Myself, I purchased a knee brace which was quite helpful.
So my real and main concern of being embarrassed by being 30 years older than everybody else and in the terrible physical condition I am in was ameliorated somewhat by someone else's troubles. We were generally between 8,500 feet and 9,500 feet in elevation, only being at 10,450 in the Grand Tetons, the winds a`howling and cold, it took my breath away once when a gust blew directly into my lungs, sort of instantly flash freezing them as it were.
Everyone one else was wisely in the Coco Hut instead of trying to summit the very small summit there was. But the nurse was with me and worried when I couldn't breath anymore. Sigh, it is very hard to impress a cute nurse when you are as a crumbling wreck of a man as I am. Still, we did make it and the view in the whirling rain and wisps of snow was magnificent.
And, of course, I was somewhere. Somewhere high atop the Grand Tetons. That was nice.
People see this picture or some other from this Journey and might think as my brother wrote to me...Traveller, Adventurer, Rugged Man, still traveling!
Piffft. My younger brother travels rough. Me, I stayed all nights in lovely warm and large log cabins here and there with fluffy pillows and down comforters. The one at Togwotee even had a hot tub for my tired self. Off season, so very reasonable also.
It was all in all a wonderful 10 days through Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, (Lava Hot Springs, West Yellowstone, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Togwotee, Snake River), places and even States I had never been in. I was impressed by America and came away changed by the experience.
But back to my shoes, the purpose of this essay, and of course White Shirts.
You meet people, there are obligations, expectations that have to be met, invitations that can not be avoided...even with a sigh. In the end I was trapped into being at pretty formal dinner in a 10 million dollar house, magnificent Art everywhere.
Being the radical I am, mingling among the very wealthy is generally unhappy for me. But I told myself that this wasn't obscene wealth, it was well done, tasteful...beautiful even.
But of course I was traveling without a suit, just hiking clothes, sleeping pads and my North Face Super Light sleeping bag just in case. Of course, my only shoes where the water-wakers that Paul objected too.
But I had a White Shirt. Crisp and nicely laundered. I have found in this long life that, life is long...interesting and difficult, but if you have a white shirt, a gold Cross pen in the left shirt pocket and a certain gracious air about yourself, you can fit in anywhere, even in cargo hiking pants and water-walking shoes. It is the crisp white shirt that does it.
And so I did. It was a lovely time high aside a fine mountain, sparking conversation as sharp as the bubbles in the icy champagne. Traveller mingled and was gracious and interesting and he had a very fine time.
Best Wishes, Traveller
PS: I would imagine that I will be adding a sizable number of images to this Diary in the next 10 days or so.