Sunday, September 04, 2005

BOSS - The Boulder Outdoor Survival School

BOSS - The Boulder Outdoor Survival School: "'This is a lifestyle for me, not just a way to make a living,' he says, his thick-padded feet rolling over sharp volcanic rocks and shuffling around prickly pear as we head toward central Arizona's Verde River. He never wears shoes, not even in snow ('Don't want my feet to get soft'), and I can't help but wince with his every step. 'I'm very passionate about doing more with less. "

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Niagara Falls Barefoot

I just got back from Niagara Falls, Ontario, CA. The family spent most of 4 days and nights there. We did all the falls-related tourist stuff on the first day: Maid of the Mist, Journey Behind the Falls, Whitewater Walk, Butterfly Conservatory. On the second day we went to Old Fort Erie and then went for a hike in the Niagara River gorge. On the third day we went to Marineland. On the 4th day we did a few of the attractions in the Clifton Hill entertainmant & dining district; and we also spent some time in that area after dinner a few nights. We walked everywhere except to Fort Erie, to the hike trailhead, and to Marineland. Took lots of photos and AVI movies.

This is the first vacation I tried to experience as barefoot as possible. I carried my flip-flops attached to my backpack, but walked everywhere we went barefoot. Whenever we entered a sit-down restaurant, I wore my flip-flops in because I didn't want to embarrass my family anymore than they already may have been, but removed them under the table and generally didn't put them back on again. There were two places I obayed the no-barefeet signs: The Maid of the Mist boat ride, and the Duty Free Shop on the way home when I went to get my Canadian tax paid refunded. Besides that, there were two places where overly self-important types asked me to put shoes on, without any specific reasoning beyond, "we wouldn't want you to step on something." In both cases, there was nothing to step on, and I had alredy been there walking around for a half an hour. One of the places was Old Fort Erie, where a really fat guy who was acting as the British commander of the fort asked me to put something on my feet, claiming there was a lot of broken glass outside and nails in the floorboards inside. There wasn't either of those anywhere. And, as I said, I had already been walking around there barefoot for at least 30 minutes. The other place was at Luis Tussard's Wax Museum. I was talking to an employee in his 20's, asking him if the wax figures came alive and moved around at night, and he was telling me some stories about actions of maintenance people that were sometimes misinterpreted as such. During that convo, another 50-ish woman employee appeared and asked me to put on shoes because I might step on something and cut my foot. Now, I gotta tell you, the wall-to-wall carpeting in that museum was better than one would find in most homes and it was flawlessly maintained! It was the most forgiving, comfortable and safe surface I experienced the entire trip! I asked her if there was a policy against being barefoot and she persisted, so I said OK, again to save my family from further embarrassment....