Week Four has seen a few purchases (and quite a few near-purchases!) but they are mainly sensible and necessary ones.
First of all I went to try my lovely pink and brand new Salomons before my departure for Spain later this month – hurrah! – but they didn’t feel anything like my fond memories of X-Ultra comfort and just-right-ness. I couldn’t understand why. They were a replacement pair after the inner lining in my last pair tore in less than a week and have been waiting patiently and unused for my next adventure. They are the right model and size, so the fact that they felt so non-comfortable was a big surprise and a real headscratcher. Had my feet really changed that much, or were my other exact same pairs just more well worn and adapted to my feet? I admit I was on my way to get my credit card, ready to salvage the situation by way of online shopping, when I decided to take some non-retail action first by removing the normal insoles and inserting my green Superfeet ones instead. I got the Superfeet because they feel lovely when I stand on them on the floor, and they are perfect in my everyday boots, but for some reason they don’t work anywhere else. It was still worth a try – I was hoping that the hard insole would be offset by the shock absorbant chassis of the shoe. But sadly no. The profile of the Superfeet fits me but felt too brutal under the arches. I had gone from not enough arch support to way too much. So maybe I didn’t need new shoes, but different insoles?
I stood there with the rock hard Superfeet in one hand and the floppy insoles that came with the shoe in the other, considering buying a pair of medium profile blue Superfeet instead, when it dawned on me: That’s not what the insoles in Salomon X-Ultras are supposed to look like! They are black and white, not all white! I opened the shoe cabinet and looked down on three other pairs of Salomons – two pairs of Ultras and one pair GTX mids – and they all had the black and white insoles in varying shades of white. Hah! Out the most recent insoles came and were then promptly inserted into my new pinks. Perfect! They felt like they were supposed to again! I have now organised the Sallies from used to new, and moved all the insoles one pair up with the newest ones going in the pinks and the oldest pair of shoes getting the rubbish ones. Money saved on insoles and a lesson learned – always check your insoles and don’t be afraid to shell out for decent ones. It can make all the difference. Wonder if you can buy those Ortholite insoles separately?
Next: going for a long walk (19km) in Camino gear and with full Camino pack. I really like walking in tights and the tunics make me feel very comfortable as nothing is restricting or chafing or riding up or moving. Looking at the weather forecast as far as it goes for Sarria and Galicia though it seems packing one pair of long and one pair of capri running tights is not going to work terribly well. I have bought one more long one, the exact same make, model and size as I am very happy with them. Since they have little zips up the calves I can open and roll them up to the knee anyway so I will have the same functionality but more versatility if it gets windy and chilly and yucky weather wise. Which seems to be pretty much guaranteed.
Other than that … I have not bought a new backpack even though I currently suffer from panel loader envy after buying the Scouse Spouse one. I don’t really carry that much in my trusty 30L pack and it’s all organised in drybags so I just pull out the colour bag I need. And I haven’t bought a Scrubba – again! I keep dodging that particular bullet, hopefully the fascination will wear off soon (I use a normal drybag as a washing machine). I have also not bought a different poncho but I have received my refund for the Snugpak poncho. I really could do with a longer poncho but so far I haven’t found one that isn’t very expensive or very heavy. What I have found, though, is that by packing less and keeping the poncho in the top lid pocket, so that pocket is empty when I pull the poncho on, it falls lower because it isn’t being pulled up and back as much. This was so exciting that I actually tried to pack everything in my 20L pack instead of the 30L, and it is doable … not sure though … I accept no challenges on this!
When my new Camino sidebag also turned out to be less than perfect (it makes a holy racket with the clanking zip pulls!) I went to my kit box rather than Ebay and dug out the old one, which is good as new and very small and keeps the weight down even further. All in all I deem Week Four a success – maybe not a resounding one but a pretty good one.