Last Friday, my husband and I finally found me a pair of hiking boots that fit my feet. Naturally, I had to start breaking them in as soon as possible. Since Saturday was a fine autumn day, Ambrose and I both headed up to Table Rock.

We walked together to the Greenbelt, and then he began to run. I kept to a walking pace in my new boots, using trekking poles to emulate hiking conditions. I also carried my fivefingers shoes in my backpack, just in case I had to bail on the boots.

Ambrose used to run at about the same pace that I walked fast, but he has improved, and so I watched him disappear ahead of me as I hiked along. The sun was shining brightly down and I had a big grin on my face, because these boots were working. My feet didn’t feel like they’d been constricted into a little tube. I don’t know why it seems that women’s shoes, even women’s hiking boots, taper at the toe box, but I’d found myself a pair that didn’t. At last!

I stopped at the Warm Springs Golf Course Clubhouse to use the restroom before the long haul up to Table Rock. I didn’t see Ambrose on the ridge above the golf course, so I figured that I wouldn’t catch up to him. That didn’t stop me from zooming up the dirt trail. I do so like hiking uphill.

I thought I could see him heading up the last steep ramp to Table Rock, but I couldn’t be sure, because there were a lot of men wearing orange shirts. Okay, at least three that I could see.

I stepped onto the main trail just in front of a guy walking. I could hear him behind me for a few paces, but then he started running and passed me. He really only passed me by a little bit before he started walking again, and I stayed on him by keeping my pace steady. No matter how steep the trail became, I kept my pace hard and steady.

He stopped a short way up the final ramp, and I passed him a few moments before I caught up to Ambrose, who was also little-engine-that-could-ing it up the ramp. He might be slow, but he doesn’t quit.

I made it to the top and sat down to rest. Pushing through without stopping had gotten me breathing hard, and I wanted to retie the boots before I headed back down. Once leather boots warm up, they tend to be a bit looser, so it’s a good idea to retie after wearing them for a bit. Also, they had felt a bit loose on my feet on the way up, so I wanted to be sure that they’d be snug on the way down.

Ambrose made it to the top, but didn’t stop and sit with me. He just turned right around and headed back. I only spent a moment pouting before heading back down after him. Even though he walked down the steep ramp, he had enough of a lead on me that he started running down the trail back to the golf course before I got off the ramp.

There was no way that I could catch up to him. He was ahead of me, and I couldn’t walk fast enough to catch up.

So I took a gamble that the trail down to the Old Penitentiary would be shorter than the one we always took by the golf course. He was too far down to see that I hadn’t followed him.

I hiked as fast as I could down the trail, which had its share of steep sections. The trekking poles were useful, but what really helped me maintain speed was the boots. The soles were nice and grippy, and there was no toe banging to speak of.

The trail ends at the old Idaho Penitentiary, and I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there. The sidewalks were sporadic and the only signs pointed back the way I had come. I pulled out my phone to check where I was on the Map My Run app. With its help, I managed to figure out where I was, but I shouldn’t have checked. All I needed to do was walk two blocks and then cross the street to the Greenbelt spur.

When I reached the Greenbelt again, I looked around for Ambrose. He was nowhere to be seen, but for all I knew, he was ahead of me. I had to walk fast.

I walked as fast as I could without breaking into a run, and when I made it back to the apartment, I found it empty.


Sure, there was a blister developing on my right foot, but I had beaten him. Now, all I had to do was wait.

He took longer than I thought he would, although since I walked 6 tenths of a mile less than he did, I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I was standing at the stove preparing to cook some breakfast when I heard the key in the lock. My hands were covered in fish, so I just kept working the bones off of it as he walked in and saw me.

I wish I’d had clean hands so I could have taken a picture. He was dumbfounded.

“How did you do? How did you do that?” he said.

“You know how you’re always saying that age and treachery beat youth and skill?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Well, I’ve been hanging out with an old guy for awhile now, and let’s just say some of the treachery has rubbed off on me.”

Of course I told him.


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