Last week I accomplished my exercise goals for the first time in a while. I ran at least 3 times, for a total of at least 10 miles, and attended 5 CrossFit classes. Normally, I’d celebrate that consistency with a rest day on Saturday, but with the weather being so nice and rain on the horizon, I decided on a different kind of celebration. 

I got up around 5 am in order to get ready to hike up to Table Rock. I wanted to get done early in the morning so that we’d still have time to go shopping before the Blackhawks game aired on television at 1 pm. The night before, I’d made sure all my clothes were laid out. I’d wear my newest hiking pants, the anorak style hiking shirt with a fleece over that for warmth. Warm socks and, of course, my new Lems Boulder Boots. I had broken them in well enough during the week to make me feel confident to take them out on a test trail hike. 

I packed a small pack with 2 quarts of water in a water bladder, some snacks, my essentials bag from my backpacking kit, and, most importantly, spare shoes. Usually I’ll take spare socks, sometimes spare clothing. But with the boots not having been tested on a hike before, I wanted to make sure that I had a backup plan if they started really irritating my feet. I took my Altras, since I trusted them on trail and they were of proven comfort. 

I ended up getting started a little later than I intended. I wanted to leave at 6, but I ended up leaving a bit after 6:30. The sky was starting to lighten, but still held more darkness than light. I kept my headlamp in my pocket in case I wanted it, and started my hike in the glow of the streetlights. 

From where I live, it’s about a half a mile to the Boise Greenbelt. From there, I crossed the Boise River and headed towards the Warm Springs Golf Course. After the golf course, there’s a trail across the road that leads up to Table Rock, eventually. It’s not the shortest route I could take, but it’s the one I always take. I took the shorter route once, and I don’t like it as much because I have to walk along a lot more sidewalks before I hit the dirt. 

The boots did fine all the way to the dirt trail, and I was happy about that. But I knew that the real test was about to start, as I started hiking uphill and on dirt. I had brought one trekking pole as a safeguard against a possible lack of traction. I carried it while I hiked the Greenbelt, but started using it as the trail climbed and dawn blossomed across the landscape. 

My legs and feet were definitely adjusting to the boots. I had soreness, but nothing hurt to the point of needing to make a change of footwear. As I hiked uphill, I felt looseness on my right boot, and figured that the laces had come undone. I only had enough lace to do a single knot, rather than the double that I usually do on boots. Sure enough, it was undone, but to my surprise, I was able to pull the laces tight enough to double knot them. I went ahead and did the same to the left and then kept hiking. 

The route I take has a large plateau section after the trail makes the initial climb. I hadn’t seen anyone else on the trail, but when I reached the plateau, I could see Table Rock, and just make out the tiny figures of people walking around on top and inching up and down the trails. 

I joined the small but growing parade uphill, maneuvering around those now headed downhill, and especially trying to avoid any unleashed dogs. I’m not fast on the uphill, but I’m tenacious. I can push myself and get to the top without stopping for a break. The break is earned, and I have to top out before I get it. 

I managed to pass a couple of women, but I probably wouldn’t have if they hadn’t stopped several times for long breaks. When I reached the top, I made for the plaque below the cross, which I consider my official turn around point. Then I found a seat on some rock and snacked on some Cheerios. I also secured my fleece onto the back of my pack so I wouldn’t have to keep it wrapped around my waist. Then I headed back. 

I only skidded on the loose dirt of the trail once, which I consider a good job considering how steep the Table Rock trail is. I was able to catch myself, so I didn’t fall. I was glad to have the trekking pole on the descent. It’s steep enough to make me nervous, though I have, technically, jogged down it before without any poles (very slow, but still a jog I say). 

The way down was a lot faster than the way up, and I found myself back at the Greenbelt before too long. Then it was a matter of head down hiking, since my feet were starting to complain about all the hiking out of the blue. It wasn’t the fit of the boots; I would have felt near as much with the Altras I wager, because I haven’t hiked – or ran – this far in a couple months. 

I would normally have hiked without stopping on the easy flat of the Greenbelt, but I was compelled to stop by the sight of a cat sitting at the side of the trail. I was curious, so I stopped when I got close. I was surprised that the cat let me get so close, until I saw the collar. So I greeted the kitty, who walked over and pressed briefly against my legs before heading back where she came from. 

Then I was all go until I made it home. 7.25 miles in under 3 hours. I’ll take that for an early season hike. Especially one with such pretty views. 

Gaining elevation.

Rocks and a moon.

Pink painted sky.

Rocks upthrust.

Made it to the top.

Yeah, the hike’s worth the view.

A little winded after that climb.

These boots did really well on the trail for me.

Kitty at the side of the Greenbelt.

Kitty says hello.

These ducks are impatiently waiting for water to fill the canal.

These ducks are enjoying the Boise River.

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