I bought my first pair of KEENs four years ago, about a week before going on the first Brother-in-Laws’ hike. The first Brother-in-Laws’ hike was a five-day march up the Ho River Valley to the Blue Glacier on the backside of Mount Olympus. Just not the Mount Olympus in Greece but rather the Mount Olympus in the Olympic National Park in Washington State. My KEENs held up well and I wore them on many hikes including to the Enchantments in Washington State.
About three years ago I became very interested in buying more American-made consumer goods. So this summer when my faithful KEENs started looking a little long in the tongue, I figured I’d check out what new KEENs I might purchase. To my delight I discovered KEEN was now making their Durand model of hiking boots in Portland, Oregon. I came up with what I consider a cunning plan. I called the nice people at KEEN and asked them if they’d consider sending me a pair of Durand boots to try out. They graciously agreed and two weeks later a beautiful pair of KEEN Durands arrived on my doorstep. I didn’t feel like I could take my new American made Durands on just any old hike. A pair of hiking boots built by Americans required an inaugural hike to a truly special destination. So last Friday I drove from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park, parked my car at the Sunrise Lodge, and headed out to Burroughs Mountain.
There are three little peaks in the “Burroughs Mountain Range.” I was planning on only going as far as Burroughs Two, but upon arriving at the parking lot a group of hikers urged me to push on with them to Burroughs Three. All the hikers in this group were retired and seemed to hike all the time. When a bunch of people at least ten years older than I threw down the hiking gauntlet, the challenge simply had to be accepted.
I’m happy to report that my new Durands are awesome. Straight out-of-the-box they were extremely comfortable but also provided ample support for my legendary gimpy right ankle. The distance from the Sunrise Lodge parking lot to Burroughs Three was about 4.2 miles; we hiked over terrain that resembled a lunar landscape. Almost no plants or trees, but one of the most beautiful views available on offer in America.
Upon reaching Burroughs Three, I understood what my retired companions were raving about. The view was simply spectacular.
My new KEENs are off to a great start. I look forward to years of comfortable hiking as a result of the commitment to quality of the members of our extended American family making KEEN boots in Portland, Oregon. Next month I will get an opportunity to meet some of those “makers” when I visit the KEEN facility in Portland.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog post on my visit to KEEN’s Portland facility and also keep an eye out for photos of me and my new KEEN Durands at a myriad of National Parks around this amazing country of ours over the coming months.
Now get hiking!