Sunday, July 29, 2007

Socks and Rocks

I have returned from Maine only to be buried in a week's worth of scummy laundry and an empty larder. I'll return to posting later this week, but in the meantime, my sister, the World's Most Deserving Recipient of Handknits, has prepared the post below. An occasional guest-poster on XRK, she is once again providing the Muggle's Voice, extoling the handknit socks in action.

And don't miss her last statement -- she finally is ready to join the cult learn to knit!


As many of you know, I'm in a master's program for Environmental Studies at UPenn. Part of this fabulous program is a class called Rocky Mountain Geology and Ecology, which could also be entitled: Oh My God, What Am I Doing With This Desk Job. Basically, I went out gallivanting in the Rocky Mountains in Montana and Wyoming, and have had in my company two pair of Big Sis's socks along for the ride.

Pair #1 you know well: Trekking Blah. Which brings me to the first order of business: A confession. Yes, XRK readers, I have gone on record as a No-Socks-With-Sandals kind of gal, but alas, here is my (not really) shame laid bare:



I found a darn good reason: a cold, 8000-foot Rocky Mountain summer evening, with a cold delicious beer, after a long, hot hike. Guilty as charged, and not feeling bad about it at all.

But the real point here is to wax poetic about my new Tofutsies. So beautiful are they. You know this from our pre-trip shoot in Avalon, NJ, earlier this summer. They are incredibly silky, the colors pool delightfully, and they fit like a dream. Sis made them a wee bit longer in comparison to TB, and the heels hit me just right this time.

The first field test of the Tofutsies came on July 4th. My classmates and I struck out to the Glacier Lake trailhead off Route 212 in Montana to climb a mere two miles... and just shy of 1500 vertical feet. It's a gorgeous, eye-poppingly beautiful, lung-burning, exhilirating hike which I highly recommended if you're out that way.

For any pair of socks, this is a serious test. What did I find? I didn't even notice them. Hence, perfection. They didn't rub funny or bunch or get soggy or any such terrible thing.

And they made a fine picture at the top of the world, or so it seemed to be:


For the remaining ten odd days in the wild, I put both Tofutsies and Trekking Blah through the worst possible washing and drying regimen imaginable. I washed them repeatedly in a sink at my mountain camp, with water from Howell Gulch creek and a bar 'o soap. They dried on a wooden railing in the dry alpine air, with rocks as clothespins.

I wore them repeatedly, day in, day out, for two hard weeks of trekking along the Montana/Wyoming border. I caught grasshoppers with my bare hands for hours. I saw bison, wolves and grizzlies in Yellowstone. I climbed ridges and valleys and benches and ditches and glacial moraines and creeks. I took them on and off for dips in swimming holes of freezing water and boiling springs. I pranced amongst alpine wildflowers. I drank at the Grizzly Bar in Roscoe, Montana. I bet on racing pigs in Bear Creek. I saw men chase wild horses at the rodeo, ride bucking broncos bareback as storms charged across the plains 50 miles away in plain view. I answered a cowbell for dinner.

And dear readers, these socks, both pairs, for all these activities - they totally, totally rock.

Not one pull, none too much in the pilling department, no residual smell, no weird blisters, nothing. Nothing but good that is. I have relegated the commercial socks of this world to the dustbin of history and say to you now: Never hike in anything except perfectly fashioned handmades. By Liz, preferably of course.




Now if only she would make me two dozen odd pair more...

Or, if only I could knit. Hey Sis, how's about a sock lesson?!?

Cheers XRK friends - til next we adventure again!

11 comments:

Ann said...

Hurray for handknit socks! They look beautiful (with sandals especially!) but nothing rivals the incredible Rockies. What an incredible experience!

jody said...

hmmm, sis, sounds like you've got yourself a student...

Dave said...

Now THAT is an endorsement. Well done, both of you!

Specs said...

Hooray for sturdy and comfortable socks!

And oooh, another convert. Join us. Join us. Join us.

Sally said...

Fabulous post - perhaps you'll be the newest member of XRK... :o)

Bridget said...

I really enjoyed reading about your adventures, and am glad that the socks held up well.

Yes, please do learn to knit, there can never be too many knitters!

Diana said...

WOW, What a classroom!!! If the socks make it through that incredible experience there must be nothing better!
Next trip you'll have a sock bag clipped to your belt and be knitting a pair by campfire!

Christie said...

What a ringing endorsement! Kinda makes me want to knit some socks...

tiennie said...

Yippee! A new knitter in our midst! Great post.

Little Sis said...

Perhaps next time around I'll be knitting socks up for all the YBRA inhabitants next time I pass through the Beartooth. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone! And I'll keep you posted if/when I manage to make something *half* as nice as what Big Sis sets me up with.

Dorothy said...

Your socks look great and if ever you are in the Rockies in Canada particularly the Kananaskis Country of Alberta, I know a really good guide.