Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I will be the Best Dressed Girl in the Rockies

I am not sure when this happened. Part of the joy of hiking is that you don’t really have to buy anything as long as you have decent shoes, and a way to get to the mountains. Bring some water. Pack a sandwich. Maybe even a jacket in case it gets cold later. There isn’t a whole lot to it.

In the last two years, everything changed.

I realized there is a WHOLE NEW WORLD out there for the discerning gear shopper. $60 baseball caps, $160 pants made JUST FOR HIKING, ultra-light-weight toothpaste, and waterproof toilet paper. It was almost as much fun to shop for hiking gear as it was to actually hike.

When I spent over $20 on a pair of socks, I realized it was getting out of hand, and that my desire to be the it-girl of the mountains was expensive.

So… I decided to stop impulse shopping at REI, and that I should figure out what I really want/can use, and don’t already own. Not all the stuff I want, mind you, but stuff that would actually impact my hiking experience.

Sad as it is to admit, the only thing I actually need is a new pair of boots.

Yes. I have hiking boots. I have two and a half pairs of hiking boots. There are the really comfy trail-runners that are made of mesh and completely useless below 40 degrees (these are the counted as half a pair). There are the mid-weight hikers I bought when I first started hiking again and didn’t realize that Colorado may be kind of like a desert, but I will always end up walking in water, and waterproof boots are kind of necessary. And then there are the ones I end up using most: The Most Uncomfortable Boots in the World: the boots that make my feet curl in agony as soon as I look at them.

Other than the boots, I could survive in relative luxury in the woods for an extended period of time, provided I had, you know, food and stuff.

So anyway. On Mother’s Day, I took my mom to Eddie Bauer to go shopping. She likes all that out-doorsy stuff, and there was a pair of capris that she had been drooling over a few weeks back.

While she was trying them on, I browsed the store and thought, “See how good I’m being? I love that $50 button down, but I am not going to buy it. I love that dress (which is confusing because it is obviously not meant for hiking), and it’s only $80, but I am NOT going to buy it. I won’t even try it on.”

This lasted about 10 minutes.

Because then I saw it.

Alone on the rack, glowing florescent red among dull blacks and grays, it was shiny and it was underneath a sign that said “FIRST ASCENT 40% off”.

It was like love.

It was one of those things I WANTED, but could not quite convince myself to buy because the usefulness seemed limited. It was an ULTRA-LIGHT WEIGHT DOWN UNDERLAYER. And it was RED. And did I mention it was shiny?

Thinking the sign was a mistake, and not seeing any other down jackets around, I refused to let my hopes rise. I figured it wouldn’t fit.

But it did.

Then I thought, “No way is it on sale. No. Way.”

My dad saw me looking at it, and came over to investigate.

“That’s a nice jacket,” he said.

800 fill down, light, stuffs into its own pocket, warm, red, and shiny: Yeah, Dad, it's nice.

“Yeah,” I said in the most non-committal voice I could muster. I pointed at the sign. “I wonder if this is included in the sale.”

“You should ask,” he said.

I took that as permission, and prepared for disappointment. My heart skipped a beat as I walked up to the cash register.

“So,” I said, attempting disinterest, “Is this included in that discount back there?”

The clerk scanned the tag, “Oh yeah,” she said, “It’s ringing up at $109.”

At this point, I dropped my passive disguise. “SCORE!” I said, “I’ll take it!”

So, I still don’t have boots that don’t make my feet cringe. I hesitate to buy more than two or three books for my Kindle a month at less than $10 each. I desperately need a new camera, but can't commit. I won’t buy myself an iPod even though I have lusted after one for at least 3 years. I can't even convince myself to get a Netflix account for $15 a month. But I didn’t even hesitate to spend over $100 on a jacket of limited use.

At least now I’ll stylin’ out in the wilderness in my new shiny red coat.


Anonymous said...

dude, you shop like a girl

Anonymous said...

Fashion in the Rockies!