Tuesday, March 29, 2011

But what about the boots?!

I have more things I could write about my short trip to Alaska. I could write about the seafood, the local brews (coffee and beer!), the bald eagles I met on a rooftop or how I came to discover that Alaskan garbage cans can save you from a bear attack. But I think the topic you're all dying to hear about is a little more pressing - rubber boots.

If you have no idea why you're dying to hear about the rubber boots, I'll direct you to the first post on the topic -> here there be boots.

And I want to thank everyone who shared their wisdom in that particular conversation. Your input was invaluable. So, what did I end up purchasing? KEENS! These Keens to be exact (though I found them at a much more reasonable price!). They took up roughly 32% of the space in my suitcase and added an extra 20 pounds, but I stuffed them full of wool socks and packed light on everything else.

The first two days in Juneau, I thought the rubber boot warning a little extreme. Though they do "cinder" the streets and the soil is constantly freezing and melting off, covering the sidewalks with muddy water, it hardly warranted the level of vehemence I picked up in our conference calls. Nevertheless, I was pleased to have my boots while trekking to and from the hotel and deciding they would be useful for similarly murky times in Kansas.

On the third day, we hit the glacier and that was when I realized exactly why I had my rubber boots. Grippy and insulated, they made the trek to and from the glacier (which we have now decided was roughly 5 miles total) much more comfortable than it otherwise would have been.

My colleagues who did not take the rubber boot warning seriously, ended up wading through piles of snow and slush in nothing more than tennis shoes. More than once I heard people asking how quickly frost bite could settle in and I was more than a little worried that we would not return to Kansas with as many digits as we arrived with.

Just imagine walking through this for a mile in your regular, lightweight tennis shoes. . .

Obviously, no one lost any toes, but I was far more comfortable at the end of the day than many. Even the Alaska folks (who predominantly wore XtraTufs - bonus points to everyone who recommended those) were approving of my bright blue babies.

How blue were they? GLACIER BLUE.

They served me well, I must say. Very well, indeed. In fact, the joy you see on my face below? That's all about the boots.

Okay, and maybe a little about the glacier, too.


Maybe a lot about the glacier, but at least partly about the boots. Let's say 32% about the boots.

So here is what I know: if you're going to Alaska, TAKE RUBBER BOOTS.

Also, a side note of awesome about that last picture - I called Tessa Gratton from that exact spot. And texted her that picture. From the middle of a frozen lake, chilling on an iceberg, about to lick a glacier, I was able to share that moment with her. CRAZY.

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