Monday, March 18, 2013

Karen's Socks

Oh the places they have been... and the things they have seen.  Karen's socks have been on quite a journey since they found their way into new backpacks in Arequipa, Peru.  Karen, a new lifelong friend, heard about Sally's plight of wool allergies and her lack of success in finding quality replacement hiking socks in Peru.  Selflessly, Karen rounded up her Thorlos and set Sally off with a warm heart and warmer feet.  Karen's socks kept Sally's feet comfortable in the unexpected snowstorm on the way to Lake Titicaca.  A few weeks later, as we crept into simple plank beds at almost 16,000 feet near the lagoons and volcanoes of the Uyuni Salt Flats of Bolivia, the socks gave their best through the cold night.  Sliding through muck and mud in the cloud forests the next week and walking the high streets of La Paz were no challenge for these faithful new friends.

The socks really stood up under the test of varying conditions in Patagonia, hanging out in kayaks, hiking glacier trails, and experiencing relatively few sock showers (we call them laundromats) for days or weeks at a time.  Stiffly, they went on toward northern Chile, sometimes hiding in a dark corner of the pack, but more often hanging out of Chacos as we watched folkloric dances and slid into each new dawn in kayaks, busses, or ferries.
The grey and black socks looked almost new after a week of rest in LA, some simple laundry soap, and time to rest.  Forgotten in the pack while their people walked barefoot on the sandy beaches of Rarotonga, Karen's socks waited patiently for their time to tread New Zealand.  Patience is rewarded and the socks dominated the New Zealand days, their stout lengths and tight weave often the only barrier between Jess and Sally and vicious sand flies.   They climbed fearlessly up lava peaks, glaciers, and forest trails saving their quiet, more reflective moments for sitting in kayaks or by baby seals in streams.  They snuck through the night in a dance that can best be described as a combination of blind mans bluff, hide-and-seek, and snipe hunting as they searched for the elusive nocturnal kiwi bird.  And occasionally, they gave way to much less favored pairs to wait their turn at the trail again.

As we travel, we take parts of our friends with us.  Some are physical reminders such as the inches gained from the thoughtful send off treats from Alina, Anthony, Linda, Bill and Dale.  Others are practical such as the emergency bracelet from Sara, Becca and Toni or Karen's socks.  Most of the time, our friends' and families' presence is less tangible but just as real as we think of the time spent with them, see things we know they would love, or hear the things they have taught us about ourselves or the world as we walk new paths each day.

Images are of Karen's socks on the Routeburn track in Milford Sound, New Zealand, under pant legs near Mt Aoraki/Cook and just out of sight of the camera at dusk looking out over the Tasman Sea.  For more about the woman who would give you the socks off her feet read, "Karen's Adventures: My life is a fairy tale" at  Posted at Jarrel's sister's house in Christchurch, New Zealand


  1. Estimada amigas, Quien sabe calcetines tenia mas buen vida?!? As I sit here with my coffee and chocolate, tears of laughter and love rolling, I thank you for the adventures of a lifetime yet to come.

    What a well-traveled pair of socks!
    love y calcetines, k

  2. You're not sponsored by this sock company are you?

    Anyone who would give you their socks is a "life long friend" for sure!

    Happy trails!
    Ryters in Gunni