Since my last Gear Blog, I have made several changes and/or additions, as follows:
Boots: I thought the Vasque boots were going to be the ones I wore in Peru- I was wrong. During February, I continued to suffer discomfort. The toeboxes on the boots were simply too tight. Even on short walks, the two smallest toes on each foot hurt. Although they never blistered, I finally decided I couldn’t stand another month of training in these boots and that they were too uncomfortable to wear on the Peru trip. I went to Google, and ended up reading several articles about boots that are best for people with wide feet. On such article recommended Keen. Although I was dubious (they were inexpensive and didn’t seem to have much in the way of ankle support), I looked up stores in the area (there were 3) that stocked Keen. None of the three stores had any significant stock, but the last store I visited (Gruene Outfitters) had a bunch of Salomon boots on sale for half price. I tried on a pair of “Quest 4D GTX” and they felt great. I had worn the Vasque boots to the store and could visually tell the Salomon had more room in the toebox. I also liked the lacing structure, which is very effective at holding my foot in place against the heel/back portion of the boot, which should be beneficial on downhills. I bought these boots on March 3, 2217 and have put many miles on them without any discomfort. These are the boots I will wear in Peru!
Daypack: I thought I was settled on the Ultimate Direction pack, but as I began to up my training in terms of miles, weight and time in the pack, I discovered I was beginning to experience some pain in my upper back. I decided I needed a daypack that had a substantial hip belt system so I could transfer more of the weight to my hips. After investigating several alternatives, I settled on an Osprey Talon 33. It is much more comfortable and I am very happy with the way it performs. Although I will have to take a rain cover and it does not have the storage on the upper straps that the Ultimate Direction did, it is a much more comfortable pack and I think it will do fine for the Peru trip.
Knee Support: As I began to add miles and elevation (ascents/descents) to my training regimen, my knees began to ache under the added weight and miles. I had knee braces that I used when climbing Emory Peak and Guadalupe Peak, but they were bulky and not very comfortable. After some research, I bought a pair of “Incrediwear” compression knee supports. They work very well for my needs- they are light, comfortable, and offer enough support so that my knees don’t ache anymore.
Clothing Treatment: Week before last I went to Passport Health in San Antonio for a consultation about immunizations. I ended up getting a Tetnus Booster and Hepatitus A and Typhoid (oral- 4 pills) vacinations. I was very impressed with the RN who I consulted with and she made several recommendations in addition to the immunizations. She recommended that I treat my clothing and gear with Sawyer Premium Permethrin Insect repellent. Since my brother in law had told me that a friend of his had a terrible time with sand flies in Peru, I decided it would probably be a good idea. It took a while, but I treated my clothes, my pack, and my sleeping bag liner. The treatment is odorless, colorless and lasts for six months or six washings. She also recommended a diarrhea treatment called “DiaResQ” that is very effective and was developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I puchased some and it will be a part of my kit.
In six days I leave for Peru. I feel good about my gear and my training. I will let you know how it all works out!