New shoes for the trip, and for hiking in general. I’m planning to do more of that — I haven’t done any in a startlingly long time, for someone who used to do a lot of hiking.

It’s easy to get out of the habit.

These came from the shop where #1 son works. I knew the former owners and was familiar with the store, but hadn’t been there for years.

It’s gone upmarket since I shopped there. It used to have a lot of army surplus gear, but now it has silk hiking socks and ironic goods. The clerks are all nice young men like my son.

I tried on a couple of pairs of light hiking shoes and one pair of hiking boots. The difference, in case you were wondering, is that hiking boots go above the ankle and have more structure, less flexibility. I think the shoes will be better for city walking tours, but the boots might give better support on a wilderness trail. I might go back for them.

However, there was the familiar problem of having a lot of things to choose from and no real understanding of what makes one thing cost way more than another. If you can pay $35 or $175, there has to be some difference between the two, right? If it’s that one is made in Switzerland and the other in Cambodia, that’s different from one being glued together and the other stitched.

I like to ask the clerk to explain the difference, but the clerk in this case was # 1 son, who blithely assured me that he had no idea, and read the box the shoes came in aloud to me.

I may go back for the boots, too.