With the pandemic raging last fall, and I couldn’t go to the gym, I started walking a mile a day. I wear my hiking boots, which have seen more use in 6 months than in the previous 10 years. It reminded me that I bought them before my trip to Antarctica. We were required to bring waterproof boots that covered our knees so when we got out of the Zodiacs to go on shore we didn’t get icy water in our boots. My old hiking boots didn’t fit inside the overshoes. I didn’t want to use tennis shoes walking on the glaciers of Antarctica, so I went out to find hiking boots that would fit.
These boots served me well in Antarctica and again in New Zealand. When we flew into Auckland, we were asked on the plane if we were bringing hiking boots. I said yes, they were packed in my gear. So going through customs they sent me to another line and I had to take them out and hand them over to an agent who took them away to clean the soles. While this was happening my friend Barb, who just had brought tennis shoes, was through customs and waiting in the terminal wondering what had happened to me. I couldn’t go out to tell her I was waiting to get my boots back or I would not have been able to get back in. About 10 minutes later they brought the boots back in a plastic bag, wet with the chemical they had used to sterilize them. New Zealanders justifiably have to be careful not to introduce invasive seeds or organisms into their environment. If only the US had been so careful over the decades, we would not be fighting so many invasive species here now.
So the boots hiked trails and glaciers in New Zealand and now serve the mundane purpose of walking on my little residential street, and occasionally hiking in Citizens for Conservations restored properties or the nearby forest preserve.