I have been desperately needing new hiking boots this entire year, but have been unable to find a suitable replacement that fit my exacting criteria: affordable, full leather uppers, on sale, waterproof, sturdy, cheap, and comfortable. I basically wanted my old, worn out, nearly destroyed boots to be new again so I wouldn’t have to buy boots that I would end up hating.
When Ken and Mandala invited John and I to join them on a hike up Scotchman Peak I knew there was going to be snow, and I knew I had to get new boots. And fast. It was Thursday when I got the call so I had to find boots Friday or risk having frozen, wet feet. White’s Boots to the rescue! Having exhausted all my other boot buying options on previous shopping trips, White’s Boots was the only store I hadn’t tried. I had never been there before, so I wasn’t sure what I would find. Well, Jackpot! They had the exact same brand and model of my old boot on clearance. And on the shelf, right above it, a leather Scarpa mountaineering boot for 70% Off. I tried them both on and went with the Scarpa.
6am Saturday morning I picked John up at his new apartment in Brown’s Addition (nice place John!) and we drove to Coeur d’Alene to meet Ken and Mandala. After an uneventful drive we arrived at the trailhead and started hiking around 9:30am. Ken had reminded us about hunting season the night before, so John and I had some hunter orange vests on so we wouldn’t get shot by any hunters.
The trail itself starts out steeply before finally settling down with a series of switchbacks. We hit the snow early on in the hike, and my new boots were working great so far. After a couple miles we ran into some hunters that weren’t having any luck. Orange vests to the rescue. We continued on and the snow kept getting deeper. At a certain point the the forest opens up and the trail switchbacks several times through a treeless hillside, exposing you to either great views or finicky mountain weather. We picked a rather snow-stormy day and had to forge through the exposed open slope with wind and snow blasting us the whole way. Back into the woods for a while before the peak opened up to an exposed mountain top. The snow depth varied from just an inch or two in the windiest spots, to a couple feet deep.
John, being the fastest hiker, led us competently up the snow and rime covered rocky mountain top in a mild snowstorm. Visibility was poor to say the least. Every once in a while John would proudly stand atop a false summit looking back at me and yell “Is this it?”. I had climbed this peak several years ago, so in these near whiteout conditions I had to determine whether we were really on summit or if we had to keep going.
Yes. Finally! We made it. There’s a little rock wall wind shelter and remnants of the old fire lookout on the summit, so it’s a dead giveaway even in a snowstorm. We didn’t stay on the summit long as there wasn’t much to see and it was kinda cold. I didn’t get a lot of pictures either because of the weather, but we had a great time. It was great to hang out with John, Ken and Mandala again. My new boots were awesome – no blisters, no hotspots, warm and dry. Afterward we drove through Sandpoint and had an early dinner at MickDuff’s Brewery – which is becoming a nice tradition for post-climb grub. Two words: Gorgonzola Fries.