Needles and Boots – They go together….right?

Needles

NeedleWho likes getting their arm pierced by a piece of polished metal? Who likes getting their arm jabbed several times by several different pieces of polished metal? If you’re like me, you try to stay away from pointy metal objects….especially ones heading towards your arm!

In order to travel to Tanzania Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I need to ensure I am up-to-date on all of my vaccines…including vaccines I wouldn’t normally get while living in Canada. I had the pleasure visiting a travel clinic Monday to discuss my travel plans to Tanzania this fall, and was ready to leave with just some information in my back pocket to think about. Boy was I wrong! Not only did I leave with some reading material, but I also left with an arm full of puncture wounds and chemicals (AKA ‘medicine’) floating in my blood stream. Exciting!!!! (and yes – my arm/deltoid muscle still hurts)…

I’m glad I went, as I learned quite a bit and can better prepare for my climb knowing I am now protected against:

  • Hep A
  • Hep B
  • Typhoid
  • Polio
  • Tetanus
  • Diphtheria
  • Pertussis

Needles are fun right? I hate needles – but surprisingly, getting these injections turned out to be just fine. The nurse was extremely friendly and made the experience enjoyable. Lucky me,  I will need to return to the same clinic in a few months before I leave to get a few more shots to protect me from:

  • Yellow Fever
  • Cholera
  • Malaria (tablets)

The shots I received yesterday cost me $230 (unfortunately, none of these vaccines are covered by my employers health plan, so it’s a big out of pocket expense). When I return in September, I’ll end up spending another ~$250 for the last 2 vaccines (YF, C), in addition to paying for the Malaria tablets, and Acetazolamide tablets (to reduce/prevent altitude sickness). So the total cost of medicine/vaccines for this trip will far exceed $500. Ouch! Thankfully though, I’m protected against all of the above diseases for the next few years!

Boots

So you’re probably wondering where the boots come into play with all of this. Right? Think bad news then good news. Bad news = needles. Good news = awesome boots!

Some people joke that the climb will be like a walk in the park while others (like my mom) imagine  that the climb will resemble this. As cool at that photo is, it is not realistic. Please don’t get me wrong. I’ve been told it’s going to be a very tough climb, where I’ll trek through 5 different eco-systems (starting in a rainforest and finishing at the top of the worlds tallest freestanding mountain looking down onto the clouds!). To do such a climb, I will need to prepare myself for 7 very long days which consist of 7-10hrs of walking each day, with the final day reaching the top taking an exhausting 15hrs! It will not be an easy task…and my poor feet and leg muscles will hate me for it.

How can I reduce the pain, increase comfort, make sure my feet are safe from the harsh environments, and provide a stable base foundation for me while climbing?
Enter the amazing Salomon Quest 4D GTX Hiking Boot.

Salomon Quest 4D Hiking Boot

Salomon Quest 4D Hiking Boot

Salomon Canada was extremely generous and provided me with a pair of Salomon Quest 4D hiking boots for the climb up Kilimanjaro. Full disclosure here – I’ve been a very proud owner of Salomon skis for almost a decade now and have loved the quality of the workmanship and materials used to make my skis. When I first set my eye on these hiking boots there was an immediate attraction.

The design of the boot provides stability, ankle support (which is great for rocky terrain), and is very light weight (nothing like my ski boots!). Waterproof and made with Gore-Tex (to help keep my feel dry from the inside out) will also be helpful when trekking through the rainforest to the highest point of the mountain in the snow! After trying the boots on, I can tell you, these are the most comfortable boots I’ve worn in ages. Highest quality of material have been used when making this boot. While it’s probably not practical for me to wear these around the city, I want to give them a try on real terrain…so I’ll be scheduling some time to break them in over the next few weeks. I’m really excited about them!  I’ll be sure to write a full report and post more photos shortly.

A special thank you to Mark for your help in setting this up for me. You are my base foundation for this climb!

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