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Monthly Archives: December 2015


The Louie Knolle Bomb-Diggity Bootastic Award

To put it simply, I do not enjoy conventional footwear.  On the average day, you will find my toesies free from the confines of shoes, either in the nude or in very minimal sandals for when I need to get all dressed up for “The Man”.  I adhere to the belief that shoes were invented by people who hated everything and wanted to make mankind suffer by making our feet get all sweaty and stinky, trapped in laced-up boxes.  However, I know that when it comes time for a tough, long hike in the mountains that I need to give my feet some protection from the elements. That’s when I need to strap into my Salomon Quest 4D GTXs (plot twist!)

Now I know what you are thinking: Louie, you like being barefoot; could these boots really be that greatThe   answer is yes. Yes, they really are.  I have long been a fan of Salomon footwear for their comfortable and supportive trail running shoes and how they perform in the gnarliest of conditions. Having also made a name for themselves with skiing gear and clothing for everyone from day hiker to ultra-marathoner, Sabootslomon has quietly been building boots that have earned the Louie Knolle Bomb-Diggity Bootastic Award.  

Enough gobbledygook! Here is the nitty-gritty on these bad boys.  The Quests feature Salomon’s rock solid Contragrip outsole, a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to keep the tootsies dry, and Salomon’s ever popular toothed lace eyelets so that when you tie your boots, they stay tied. The newly updated 2015 Quest 4D 2’s feature upgrades such as a more comfortable tongue on the shoe and laces that have a rougher surface so they stay tied better.  I have the first generation models and those were the two things I would say needed improving. Good thing Salomon already took care of that for the rest of you guys!  

So, these boots rock.  I have worn mine for over a year and a half now and they have given me no reason to even begin to look for new boots yet. It will be a long time before I retire them!  I have worn them in the desert in January, the Smokys in February, guiding in Vermont April through July, in the Adirondacks in November and about a million other places. They have been everywhere with me it seems.  Though these are the “heaviest” in the Salomon line of hiking footwear, they are still lighter than any traditional backpacking boot lou3in my opinion.  The Quest’s 4D chassis, which provides support throughout much of the mid-sole, offers unmatched firm yet supple rigidity to the boot which keeps my feet happy as I’m walking on countless roots and rocks.  The sole on these seems like they stick to just about everything! Mud, rocks, leaves, talus, you name it and they will keep you from slipping on it (well, except for ice.  Ask Kayla about the time I tried to hike uphill on ice while wearing the Quests). I have waded through water that was up to the tippy-top of these boots and my feet stayed dry.  After 18 months of use, there’s still no leaks in the waterproof membrane of these guys.  

As I stated earlier, normally I am a sandal/trail runner hiker on short trips, but when I’m going to be out and about for long periods of time, these are my favorite boots I have ever owned.  The roomy toe box allows ample room for my toes to splay naturally the way I like and the sole protects my feet from rough surfaces while still allowing me to be flexible enough when I am in the mood for some heel clicks and 360’s off of rocks and logs (which is about 99% of the time.)  The height of the boot is also something I’ve come to like, even though at first I thought I was opposed to it.  When on really deep, sketchy terrain, the ankle support is bomber and offers unparalleled protection for your ankles.  When I’m on an easier trip, I only will lace up to the second eyelet from the top so it’s a little more of a loosey-goosey feel and I can feel like I’m not as rigid in the ankles.  

So in summation, these boots stick to surfaces like glue, even on the grodiest of trail conditions. They will keep your feet dry, period. They made a boot believer out of a barefoot/minimalist shoe lover, and your feet will be happy and smiling in these boots whether you hike for an hour or a month.  Also, did I mentionlou2 that Salomon has a 2 year warranty on their footwear? They totally do!! I have had no reason to need it, but it’s always a good safety net to have and twice as long as most footwear warranties.  Salomon believes in their product, 100%. So whether you’re going to the Cincinnati Nature Center, on your first backpacking trip to Philmont, or tackling any of the beastly long distance trails such as the AT or PCT, these boots will treat you right or my name isn’t Louie “Lou-bear” “Sunshine” “American Pie” Knolle.  

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Adirondack Mountains: Mt. Marcy

Trip Report

Adirondack Mountains: Mt. Marcy

By: Kayla “Clover” McKinney

Trip Length: 3 days, 2 nights (does not include full driving time.)

Total Mileage: ~14 miles

Date: Late November

Conditions: Icy, some snow, brisk, windy. During the day, the high temperatures were in the 30s and at night the temperatures were in the low teens. Limited daylight. Sunrise was not until ~6:50Am and sunset was at ~4:30pm.

Highlights: The tallest mountain in New York, technical hiking, nice shelters, well maintained trails (thanks 46ers club!), and exposed mountain summits.

Distance from Cincinnati: We set our GPS directions to Keene, New York. If you drive straight, it is about a ~13 hour drive. However, we broke up the drive by staying a night night in Wooster, OH (which is about a 4 hour drive from Cincinnati.)

Description: The Adirondack Mountains are a beautiful range in northeastern New York with Mt. Marcy being the tallest peak at 5,344 feet. Mt. Marcy is located in the High Peaks Wilderness near Lake Placid. It is a part of the Adirondack 46ers – the 46 peaks in the range that are over 4,000ft in elevation. There is an organization known as the 46ers club, which is comprised of volunteers who work to maintain and improve this wilderness area.  Aside from the beautiful mountains, there are many pristine rivers and lakes, as well as rare high alpine regions. We started at the Van Hovenberg trail head, which is one of the most popular trails in the region.

Permits: To camp at the Adirondack Loj campground, it costs $10 per person per night. Additionally, to park at the Adirondack Loj trailhead parking it is $10 per day per vehicle.

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Trip Breakdown

Day One: Drive from Cincinnati to Keene, New York. Consider stopping somewhere along the way to break up the drive. Once you’ve arrived, camp at Adirondack Loj, which is the campground nearest to the Van Hovenberg trail head. There is an information center and little shop to get any last minute items you may need. There are also bathrooms and showers and coffee with limited hours. Make sure to pack your bags and have everything ready to go the night before and get to bed early.

Day Two: We set our alarms for 5:00AM. You can walk to the trail head from the campground, but you will need to move your car to the trail head parking area. Be sure to register at the trail head as well. Get ready to ascend ~3,100 feet. However, it is not too steep as the distance is gained over about 6 miles. Follow the signs for Mt. Marcy and avoid turning onto the skiing only regions of the trail. The junctions are straightforward and, with common sense, you don’t need the take out the map for much of the hike.  Be sure to take the brief side trail to Indian Falls, as it is your first exposed view of the mountains around you and is well worth the additional distance. As you gain elevation, the trail gets very icy and it was necessary to use traction* in order to hike safely along the trail. Once you break treeline, the trail becomes significantly icy and technical. From here, follow yellow blazes on the rocks to the obvious summit of Mt. Marcy. Stop and enjoy the panoramic and exposed view from the tallest peak in New York! For the descent, continue to follow the yellow blazes past the summit. Use extreme caution when descending as the trail is steep, rocky, icy and technical. You’ll eventually reach a junction and be sure to follow the signs for the Feldspar Shelter. The trail flattens out and you’ll see a bridge on your right which will cross over a rushing stream next to your shelter for the night. There is even a privy located down a separate trail from the shelter. Stay at the Shelter for the night and be sure to dress and outfit yourself properly for a cold night. We strung up two tarps with paracord to cover the entrance of the shelter in order to block out wind and snow.

Day Three: For the descent back to the trail head, follow the signs for Adirondack Loj. There will be many sketchy log bridge river crossings (refer to photos.) Use balance and caution; trekking poles are highly recommended. The trail is not too steep and the descent is mild.

Water: Water is not an issue on the this trip. You cross streams regularly. Also, there is a large, reliable stream right next to the Feldspar shelter.

Options: You can link up Skylight and Gray Peak in addition to Mt. Marcy, as the peaks are close together in distance. However, we did not do this due to the limited daylight conditions.

*Additional Notes: You are required to use bear canisters in the Adirondacks until November 30th. Also, the trails are impassable without the use of additional traction. I highly recommend Microspikes. Crampons are overkill and Yak Trax are not enough. Above treeline, you enter a fragile, high alpine area. Please be cautious about stepping on the fragile and rare high alpine flora. Also, the weather in the Adirondacks can be unpredictable and harsh. Be prepared for changing conditions, intense winds, ice, snow, etc. This trip is not ideal for beginners, but would be a good introductory cold-weather mountaineering trip.

 

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