In Defense of Hiking Boots

Twin Peaks (well, one of them anyway…)
March 16, 2021
Miles: 2
Elevation Gain: 600ft
Gaia Track
100 Peaks Challenge #38
Afoot & Afield 5th ed. Trip #53

I am a trail runner convert. I wore Hoka Speedgoats for all fifteen days of my John Muir Trail hike last summer. More recently I’ve switched to Topo Ultraventures – more toe room. Nothing beats trail runners for the cush factor, and the “trail feel.” They are much lighter than boots, which is absolutely key on long-mileage days. And with Lock Laces, I don’t miss camp shoes (mostly) when I go backpacking.

But there are times when the conditions call for a sturdy pair of old-fashioned hiking boots. Obviously, if there is snow on the ground, and spikes or snowshoes are required, boots are better. Last February when we hiked Oakzanita I wore my trusty boots. Over my microspikes I was getting some hotspots and I wanted to confirm that they were caused by the spikes, and not due to my feet being too un-used to boots. Last weekend when we hiked McGinty right after a rainstorm was a perfect opportunity. The combination of steeply rutted and rocky trail, plus some mud, seemed like it called for boots. This turned out to be a good call – my Vasque Breezes handled it all with ease. The length of the hike – only four miles – meant that the boots didn’t really have a chance to weigh me down. And, no hotspots.

I made the same choice on today’s weekday hike. I hesitated doing this hike today because I’m already ahead of my hiking companions for the 100 Peaks Challenge and I want them to catch up – we need to finish together! But I again had a doctor’s appointment (yes, I have a lot of those – have you seen my sister blog, Project Perky?) in Rancho Bernardo. A quick Google Maps check and I realized that the trailhead for Twin Peaks was a mere seven minutes from the doctor’s office – and almost 40 minutes from my house. I couldn’t NOT do it!

The trail starts in Poway at Silverset Neighborhood Park. I laced up my boots and started up the gravel-covered path. I had to pay more attention to my map than expected, as there were several trail junctions to work past at the beginning. Soon the path narrowed and started to climb steeply toward the mountaintop. It we never really muddy, but there were a few rocky climbs and rugged sections, and I was glad to have my boots. For such a short hike, my feet were grateful.

Soon I arrived at the summit. By myself, I played a bit with my Apple watch (need to get more familiar with that) and took my summit photos. It was fun climbing around on the top and checking out the views. But I had that appointment, so I had to keep moving. I headed north off the peak to take the “long loop” down the mountain.

The boots were nice on the way up, but trail runners would have been better on the way down. The backside loop descent was more gradual, and I was in the mood to run. I ran anyway, despite the boots – it was so short my feet did not complain. The trail came surprisingly close to one large home, complete with a gate door leading to the trail (I can’t decide if I would want to live there or not), and then turned back to the southwest, eventually to regain the main trail. As has been the case for all these urban hikes outside my own part of the county, I was left impressed by this trail that I’d not even been aware of, and hoping to someday come back. Back at the car I was grateful for my now-muddy boots, and made it to Dr. Champ’s office with plenty of time to spare.

About Erika Lawson

Blogging from El Cajon, CA, just east of San Diego. I mostly blog about hiking, but also traveling and family life as a working mom. I also have blogged about my experience dealing with (curable) breast cancer with as much humor and disdain as possible.
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