How To Say Good Bye

Going To Mt Everest Base Camp

Nepalese Village in Himalayas

We have all been there. If it happened regularly, then it would not be an issue as it would not cause as much consternation or deliberation.

How do we say good bye to gear that has been such a big part of our lives? The skis that carried you over a certain barrier or threshold. It could have been a snowboard that felt part of you. It knew your next move and helped you land something huge, even when you were not sure if you would stick it.

Is this gear a friend? Probably not as a they do not give you feedback on how you look today, crack jokes or talk you into stupid air that you would not do otherwise.

But this certain piece of gear is something different. You may bust out the rock skis early in the season. You may have a pair of newer boots to wear during a snowstorm.Merrell Wilderness Hiking Boots

When you first met, er, first purchased it. You used it all the time. Then as time when on, you probably had to scale back its use as you saw the first  real telltale signs of wear. You do not want to wear these out too soon now, right?

Wear is a double edged sword. One has got to use something in order of it to be properly broken in and to get used to it. Plus, many are not into the shiny new toy, as we love our beauty marks. However, there does come a point when, if not used judiciously, it will become wasted, for you will wear it out faster than you intended.

This is the point where this certain piece of gear begins to take on some added value. When most gear gets to this stage you begin thinking about the replacement of it. Many of us like something new and for good reason. It most of the time means improvement and added functionality. For instance, not only will your new fat skis blow through killer powder, now they will also handle shredding and  carving the corduroy as well.

Which now leads into, how to say good-bye to a great pair of Merrell Wilderness hiking boots?

After breaking them in, they became my most comfortable shoe ever. I wore them everywhere, not just for hiking. I wore them since I felt better in them.

They were on my feet when I walked up to Mt. Everest Base Camp and higher, on up to Kala Pathar. I wore them while hiking the pass from Nepal into Tibet through the snowstorm when the road was not yet open for the year.

Nepal - Tibet Friendship Bridge

Lane with his Merrell's on Nepal - Tibet Border

I wore them for 3 days in Tingri, Tibet while awaiting the snowstorm to subside so I could leave Tibet and hike back into Nepal since the road still had not opened upon my return.

When I toured and trekked New Zealand, I wore the Merrell’s. A morning’s hike up Table Mountain outside of Cape Town, South Africa, the Merrell’s were wrapped around my feet. Bungy jumping over the Pipeline outside of Queenstown, New Zealand, the Merrell’s were there above me when I was looking up.

Last thing out the door and the first thing to touch the ground when I went skydiving over Lake Taupo….you know.

They originally came with blue shoe laces. I replaced them once with a similar blue pair and then I went to red for the next two pairs.

I walked around many ski towns in the Merrell’s. From the streets of the Victorian town of Breckenridge, under the Antlers in the Town Square in Jackson Hole, to Bowl Lingo in Whistler and of course most of the parking lots in the ski areas surrounding Lake Tahoe.

When to say when? That’s been the question I have been asking as of late. Another pair of boots have come and gone. Then, I bought another pair of boots towards the end of last ski season and have been wearing them this past Summer & Fall. I’m still hanging on to the Merrell’s for now.

Goran Kropp: Mt Everest Climbing Ceremony

Goran Kropp: Mt Everest Climbing Ceremony

I have got enough stuff on the shelves in my garage that I use or at least intend to use. In addition, I also have my ski posters, sans Lange girls (gotta rethink that one), up there as well.

I am just not sure where these boots fit in terms of saving something. I am the only one that values them. Maybe if I was some Conrad Anker, Chris Davenport or Ed Viesturs they would have some value to someone else. But not these Merrell’s, as nobody so famous were ever to have placed their feet in them. They are just mine.

A pair of old skis or a snowboard on the wall, or at least in the garage would be cool. A set of past their prime crampons & ice axe would be a tasteful addition. How about restoring an old sled? It could be hung as well or passed along to a deserving young sledder, like my Dad did for me when he gave me his from his childhood.

I have left more times than most people I know and am still not very good at saying good-bye. Maybe that is my problem. I am having trouble “just doing it”.

I listened to lions roar and hyenas laugh at night in the Ngorongoro Crater. These were my camel riding boots through the desert around Jaisalmer in India.

They never looked so good as when I would get them polished by the shoe shine boys in Kathmandu or Varanasi. I was doing my best to support the local economy and they really looked good, if only for a few days after the shines.

Hence, a few more reasons why I got more use out of them than most would have.

Accomplishments with these boots diminished over time and became more of a where they had been, not where they were going.Merrell Wilderness Trekking Boots

Later in life, they began to get relegated to yard duty.

Following a mower instead of a trail.

Climbing trees that needed pruned, not a mountain with a spectacular view.

Tromping through mud while getting firewood, not through a snowstorm in the Himalayas.

Did I have other footwear that could fulfill mower duty? Sure.

Did I have other footwear with the stories that the Merrell’s could tell?

Not a chance.


Lane Lawrence

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