Exploring Kansas City, MO

Once in a while, our travels take us to more urban areas. A conference recently took us to Kansas City, Missouri. There are so many things to explore in this city, so I'll just touch on a few that we enjoyed while we were there.

The National WW1 Museum & Memorial

One of the first places we visited was The National WW1 Museum and Memorial. It was later in the afternoon when we got there so we didn't have as much time as we would have liked to look around. The museum and memorial are worth the trip if you are in the area. I'd recommend you give yourself more time that we did. What can you do when you have limited amounts of time due to a conference though.

Book Building

If you are an avid book reader, you may enjoy a quick trip downtown to see the book building (as I call it). From the Sheraton where we were staying, it was a quick trip on the KC Streetcar (free) to the Central Library. From there it was a quick one-block walk to the parking garage that has a unique design on the outside of the building.

Among the titles shown on the building is The Lord of the Rings, A Tale of Two Cities, and Romeo & Juliet, etc. As someone who doesn't really enjoy reading that much, it was fun to check out. I would imagine that if you love reading it would be more enjoyable. This stop probably won't take you very long but is a neat feature in the city that is worth a quick trip to see.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art was one of my favorite parts of the trip. No doubt because it embraced my creative side. The only way I could have enjoyed it more was if the weather had been a bit warmer. The weather only effects exploring the outdoor Donald J. Hall Sculpture Garden.

The sculptures are spread out well on the grounds with plenty of space for little ones to run around or a nice picnic (weather permitting). Some of the highlights from the sculpture garden include the four large shuttlecocks that are placed throughout the grounds. My favorite part of the sculptures is the glass labyrinth. Proceed with caution though, it is easy to run into the walls.

The indoor galleries are fantastic as well. There is an extensive range of exhibits that cover years of history from around the world. There are paintings and so much more in the galleries. Plenty of art to explore and enjoy!

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Women's Hiking Boots Review

*We are in no way being compensated for the information or links in this blog post. This is simply my opinion after purchasing and using this product.


Let's start by saying that everyone looks for different things when they are picking out a pair of hiking boots/shoes. Just because these are my favorite, doesn't necessarily mean they will work for you. So take everything said here with a grain of salt and take the time to do research to find the best option for you. No foot is the same so everyone's needs will be different.

What were my main concerns when looking for new hiking boots? Below are the top three:

  1. Ankle Support

  2. Arch Support

  3. Waterproof/resistance

Ankle Support

This is a huge issue for my feet (especially my right one). I've had three surgeries on my right ankle after breaking it zip lining. While it is doing better, it requires more than just a normal level of ankle support. Immediately, I eliminated any hiking boot/shoe that wasn't a high boot cut. No low tops or even mid-high shoes were considered. Not because there aren't great ones out there, but because my ankles need more support than they can provide.

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX  Women’s Hiking Boots in Grey/Orange

Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Women’s Hiking Boots in Grey/Orange

The high boot design of the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boots was what first caught my eye about that. The top of the boot sits well above the top of my ankle. This is particularly helpful on uneven ground. No matter how rough or uneven the terrain I have never felt unstable in these boots. I probably should trust my right ankle more than I do at this point, but I don't. It's as simple as that. I do, however, trust my boots to keep my ankle in line where it should be. Regardless of rocks and other unsuspecting items that find themselves under my shoes.

Another aspect of ankle support that played a significant role in my choice of hiking boot was comfort around the ankle. No doubt after three surgeries there is some tender scar tissue around my bones. I tried on some Keen (prior to operations my favorite hiking boots were Keens) boots that put an uncomfortable level of pressure on my ankle. They felt great on my left ankle, but the right was just unbearable. For most people, they would have been awesome. Admittedly, I was a little sad that I would have to look outside of the Keen footwear to find a pair of hiking boots. (I tend to be very brand loyal once I find a great brand, especially if they have excellent customer service.

The cushioning in the ankle portion of the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX books is the best I've found. It is firm enough to give the perfect amount of support as well as soft enough to not cause discomfort. An added benefit was that my ankle brace fit comfortably inside the shoe, should I need the added support of the brace. Truth be told, I haven't touched my ankle brace since I got these boots. They do as much if not more than the brace in the area of support.

When I was trying on hiking boots, I went to our local REI store in Salt Lake City. My main reason for choosing this location was because I knew they had a testing rock. Though small, the testing rock allowed me to test the boots on a rock to see how they handled on uneven terrain. Not to mention they give you a year after purchasing an item to return it. So you can actually try gear out without fear or being stuck with it.

Whether you find an REI or another store, definitely try on your hiking boots with the right socks and anything else that may come into play while you will be hiking (like my brace). If you aren't near a store that has something like a testing rock, make sure you know the store's return policy, just in case you aren't happy with your purchase.

For overall ankle support, I'd give the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX women's hiking boots 5 stars. I will note here that Trevor bought the men's version of these boots as his hiking boots.

Arch Support

Yet again the ankle surgeries cause specific needs for my hiking boots. During three years and three operations, my right foot spent a LOT of time pushed flat in casts, braces, boots, etc. Due to being forced almost entirely flat for so long, my high arched foot started to develop tendonitis in the bottom arch of my right foot. It's been a battle working the tendon out without overdoing it, and causing me to be extra careful about the arch supports in every single pair of shoes I wear.

Top view of  Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX  Hiking Boots

Top view of Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots

I did my research on the best hiking boots for high arches, and most of it was helpful. A good portion of it wasn't though. I tried on a lot of boots that claimed to have the high arch support that just fell short. Again, for most people, their "high arch support" was probably sufficient. Good enough for most people wasn't going to cut it for me though. If I had any hope of getting back to hiking for any amount of time, the boots had to have some rocking arch support.

You guessed it, the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boots were the only ones that had the right amount of arch support. At this point, these boots had hit the two most important consideration for my feet. Not only had they met the demands of these needs but they surpassed them. I will say, it feels like I work a slightly different set of muscles when I wear the boots, as opposed to regular tennis shoes. Just something to keep in mind. Break your new hiking boots/shoes in before hitting the trail for a long trek!

Other than working different muscles, there was minimal actual breaking in to do. At no point did I get blisters or anything of that sort when I first got them. After almost a year of having my Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boots, I'd still give them 5 stars for arch support and durability.

Waterproof/Resistance

Without fail, it seems like half the time we go camping or exploring it rains, snows or presents some other form of precipitation. If my feet are wet or cold or both, all of me is cold! So finding a hiking boot that was waterproof and could be worn in the summer or winter was vital.

Sole of the  Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX  Hiking Boots

Sole of the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX Hiking Boots

So far, we have used in the rainy forests of the Redwood National and State Parks, snowshoeing, and other random wet conditions including crossing small streams. To this point, my feet have stayed completely dry and warm inside my Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX hiking boots. Depending on the weather, I will pick different hiking socks to help prevent my feet from sweating. I haven't had a problem with my feet getting cold in the boots though.

While we are talking about hiking in wet conditions, let's talk about the grip on the soles of the boots. Salomon did an excellent job designing the bottom of these boots. The only time I have even come close to slipping is on slick rocks, which is generally unavoidable regardless of how excellent the grip on your shoes is. The contagrip and 4D Chassis technology used by Salomon is highly effective on uneven and rough terrain.

Summary

If I had to recommend a hiking boot, it would be this Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX boot. Whether you are like me, with special needs for ankle or arch support, or just want a supportive boot, these are a great choice. There is always a chance you will try these on and think they are the worst thing you have ever put on your feet. Only your feet can tell you if a hiking boot/shoe is the right fit for you. Try on lots, test them, and do your own research. Which I'm guessing you are if you are reading this. Hopefully, this insight has helped you decide whether to look into this particular hiking boot more or to move on to something else. Either way, happy exploring!

Snowshoeing Begins

I’m not sure why it took us this long to try snowshoeing. I’d heard people say it was difficult, maybe that’s why. Either way, our first snowshoeing adventure was long overdue! One Tuesday morning in early March we rented snowshoes and headed out towards Hardware Ranch

Trevor snowshoeing near Hardware Ranch.

Before that day, we got our shed hunting permits. For those of you who may not know, in Utah, you do need a permit to collect sheds during certain times of the year. We were hoping to find some deer, elk or moose sheds while out hiking. Sadly, we did not encounter any sheds, but we did come across a large bull moose. Affectionately called, "Bruce the Moose" by Trevor.

*Now may be a good time to address some good practices for encountering wild animals. Always pay attention and know the cues an animal gives off. Moose, for instance, will show signs of change in the ears, back and by stomping their feet. It is best to give the animals their space to prevent stressing them out. I love getting remarkable photographs of wild animals, but I prefer to do it with a zoom lens, so both the animal and I feel safe. We will do a blog post before summer with more information on this subject!*

In this particular case, we are almost sure the moose saw us before we saw him. We were talking at an average level to alert any animals of our presence. After walking past the area where we saw the moose, we looked back (to check our surroundings), and the moose had stepped into a clearing where he was visible. Watching the cues from the moose it was clear that he was not in any way concerned about our presence.

Bruce the Moose!

Bruce the Moose!

He kept an eye on us while stayed relatively still and took pictures and looked through binoculars to get a better view (keeping our distance). The moose did not appear to be stressed by our presence. He continued to eat for a minute or two before laying down in the middle of the creek. After watching for a few minutes, we slowly and quietly backed out of the area and continued hiking.

There will be more blog posts before next winter on what snowshoes we end up buying and all our snowshoeing gear. It is safe to say there will be many more snowshoeing adventures in the future.

Random last note...one our way back into town we saw a second bull moose laying in a park by the side of the road. I'm not sure I can ever move away from the mountains. The ability to just take 30 minutes to drive out into nature is such a blessing!

 

Meet The Drive Cam

Do you ever look at our photographs and wonder, "What does the rest of the area look like?" Or maybe, "how did they get there?" Well, wonder no longer!

Usually, because sometimes I forget to put it back in the car, we have a dash cam recording while we are out exploring nature and taking pictures. This also come in handy when something of the animal type runs across the road and we debate what it actually was. Ha! Thank you modern technology!

This is the first of many RMDS Drive Cams that will be posted on our YouTube Channel! This first video is from a recent trip exploring the Ogden Valley area of Utah.

Stay tuned for more!