5 Countries, 2.5 Months, 1 Shoe
Can a pair of shoe inspire you? Can you take up as much as a pair of shoe can?
On a very tight budget, I was backpacking around South America which had a lot of trekking involved. I had to keep my luggage to a minimum. So, I had packed just 1 Quechua Forclaz 500 shoe. Yes, 1 pair of shoe. I wasn’t sure of my decision of just carrying 1 shoe for the trip of my life. But, I believe that we need to challenge ourselves every now and then if we want to become a better version of ourself. This became my personal challenge.
This is a not a single trek story. This is a story which spans over 5 countries in 2.5 months and it’s about me, my shoes and several treks that I had to undertake. It goes on till one of us give up.
COUNTRY 1 – Brazil
Activities – Trekking/Hiking
I covered three peaks, Niteroi Parque de Cidade, Donna Marta Trail and the Two Brothers Mountain.
Beginning with an uphill walk on a brick and paved path to muddy biking trails and winding paths leading up to a fantastic viewpoint just below Christ the Redeemer and through lanes of a beautiful favela overviewing the beaches of Leblon and Ipanema, finally closing with a majestic sunset, there was no way I would give up here. My shoes didn’t either. It was just the beginning.
Challenge 1- Rio de Janeiro – Let’s see how my shoes fare on Day 1.
So I tried them on Dois Irmaos Hike in Rio. Next day on a Donna Marta Hike and the day after that in Niteroi Parque de
Cidade. I didn’t need time to break in them.
COUNTRY 2 – Peru
Activity – Trekking
Highest Elevation – 17,060 ft at Rainbow Mountain
Peru hailed me with the Andes trails, the Machu Pichu Mountain and the Rainbow Mountain.
My adventure here began through the awe-inspiring tropical mountain forest where the slippery and marshy terrain put me on my four limbs. On reaching Machu Pichu entrance overcoming the rocky stairs, my trip felt worthwhile. It’s every traveller’s dream.
The Machu Pichu climb was never ending and kept getting steeper, narrower and more challenging. If you’re able to finish this, don’t think you’re a pro. You definitely have a good pair of shoes. Mine helped me make it through low oxygen levels and slippery grasslands of the Rainbow Mountain, the highest I’ve climbed.
Challenge 2 – Peru – But these were just day treks. So, why not try a multi-day trek?
Yes, I trekked Machu Pichu in my Quechuas. Why stop there? Didn’t feel a tinge of pain after climbing and
walking in them for 2 days. So I trekked Machu Pichu mountain.
Challenge 3 – Peru – Why just Machu Picchu mountain? Why not something that is higher and colder?
So I trekked to Rainbow Mountain in Peru which stands at 17,060 ft.
COUNTRY 3 – Bolivia
Activity – Rock Climbing
In the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve which is at the elevation of 13,800 ft, I spent my day rock climbing since it’s an Altiplano mountain region with surreal rock formations and lagoons.
I tried a couple of things along with ankle lock with these shoes. There wasn’t a single moment of doubt.
Challenge 4 – Trekking is fine, can I try Climbing?
So I climbed every rock, every hill I encountered in Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.
COUNTRY 4 – Argentina
Activity – Hiking/Climbing
Contains rock formations that defy physics
In Salta, the provincial capital located in mountainous northwestern Argentina lies Quebrada De Las Conchas, a National Reserve of ravines and rocky formations.
With a spectacular scenery around, I enjoyed climbing the sedimentary rock formations. The terrain is a result of constant inland river stream erosions and has formed mountain plates. This climb could be painful and almost impossible with heavy hiking boots that do not have the flexibility to bend.
Challenge 5 – Argentina- Why only trekking, why not ride a motorcycle in them?
So I did Cusco-Maras-Moray Salineras-Cusco
COUNTRY – 5 – Chile
Activities – Cycling and Hiking
Driest place on earth
In the San Pedro Atacama Desert, I got through the valleys of De La Luna and De La Muerta with a hectic combination of cycling and hiking. The first valley was comparatively easier to the second which had a lot of sand that was excruciatingly hot along with sharp rocks that kept slipping down with every step.
It is a difficult climb. A good grip isn’t enough, shoes need to be flexible and versatile, effective on different types of terrains. My shoes had all those qualities.
Challenge 6 – Chile – But, why just a motorcycle? Why not try a bicycle?
So I cycled 50 kilometres in a day in the scorching heat at the driest place on Earth, San Pedro de Atacama.
Challenge 7 – Chile – Ok let’s see how well they fare in the sand.
Challenge 8 – Boy, these shoes do have some magic. Can I walk on water with them like Jesus?
So I took them to Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia. I love the way they dry so fast. But yes at freezing temperatures, they were holding
stronger than me.
It’s been 3 months, I’ve been wearing them and walking an average of 5 kilometers in them every day. They show not
even a single sign of wear or tear. All I have in mind right now is, what next?