My husband and I visited Bass Pro today because he had blown out his last pair of hiking shoes.
I say visited because for my husband it had some of the same characteristics of visiting relatives you’re not too fond of. You feel like you gotta go. It’s the only [insert relative here] you have. You smile pleasantly at everyone, secretly wishing no one would talk to you.
We also went because we’re suffering from “just-one-more-thing” syndrome. That’s the disease which causes you to continually buy yet another item for your hobby, pastime, obsession or current favorite sport. It’s a chronic condition with no cure. The terminal stage is when you discover you have spent $88, 456.27 on gear and now cannot afford gas to go to wherever you were going to use these new toys and gadgets.
Did I mention my husband hates shopping? Hates it with a passion. Especially shoe shopping. He doesn’t like making a long term commitment to footwear. Personally, I could gladly use all my vacation leave in Bass Pro Shop. I can spend hours in there and never buy a thing. I can, I really can. Just because I always do buy something doesn’t mean I can’t go in without making a purchase. I love to sit by the fish tank, watching Big Bertha Bass laze her way around the glass, listening to the soothing waterfall above me…
But the scene today resembled more of a big game hunt than a relaxing outdoor sprawl. My husband approaches shopping the way Teddy Roosevelt approached war in Cuba or a South American river expedition; take no prisoners, ask neither questions nor directions and either conquer it or kill it.
So we played seek and destroy in Bass Pro. Just the sheer number of choices is almost overwhelming. Red water bottle or blue? Wide mouth or narrow? Sipper straw or flip top? Oh dear. And we only came for a pair of shoes. And just one more thing for backpacking.
I am not a fanatic about any outdoor activity. I like to hunt, I fish 9 months out of the year; we bike and canoe and kayak whenever weather permits. All of those activities are balanced with other aspects of our life, and none have stretched the budget to the ramen noodle stage. Until we started backpacking. Backpacking is not cheap, even if you avoid the top of the line items and are happy with a Walmart compass and water bottle. But it has consumed us. Three kinds of rope. Raingear not just for us, but for our packs. Special biodegradable soap so we’re environmentally conscious. Unscented sunscreen so we don’t smell tasty to bears. And on and on it goes.
So far, we have spent more on backpacking gear than on all our other sports and hobbies combined. (Well, maybe except for fishing. Hubby is death to two or three good rods every year, via car doors, barbwire fences, dropping it out of the boat…). And we’ve yet to use them for more than a couple of days at a time!
I’m not sure why this possession of the souls has happened, but hopefully it will culminate in some great tales from the trail! Send help!
May your shoes all wear out from adventure! ~ Traci Shauf
Read more of Traci Schauf’s musings here: http://momonvacation.blogspot.com
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