By our resident travelling trollop Cat W:
It started out innocently enough. Here I was, hiking one of the world’s hardest, hottest and, to many Aussies, most historically significant walking tracks in the world, and the only thing I could think about was how exciting it was going to be to get out of my damp, manky hiking gear, wash the mud off in the drink (re freezing, fast-enough flowing-river-that-if-you-put-a-foot-wrong-you-would-be-swept-into-oblivion), don the skins to ease my aching legs and slip my feet into a somewhat dry pair of socks smelling suspiciously like they’d been waved too close over a camp fire the night before desperately trying to dry and…my sandals! Yes my friends, I fell in love, on Kokoda, with a look that goes against everything I’d ever been taught to avoid in fashion - the humble socks and sandals combo.
Now, most people (or maybe just me..?) associate that look with tall, bearded men in mid thigh length shorts, driving to a Sunday morning service at the local uniting (or anglican, whatever your preference) in the family van. Never in a million years did I think I would be soon following the (trend?) and opting for the comfort and warmth that socks hitched to the knees in sandals can bring. It’s true!
I should apologise to Kat and anybody else who knows me who’s reading this if, by some chance, you’re offended that you’ve been associating with someone who extols the virtues of S&S (ooh that sounds a little bit dirty) and you choose never to look at this site again. Oh well, not my problem!
So it was that when I was packing, because I was carrying, I had to keep shoes and clothing to a bare minimum, so I packed only my hiking boots, for walking (obviously) and sandals, for creek crossing. But the higher we walked, the cooler it started getting at night. So I took to throwing on a pair of socks over my skins in the evenings (pulled all the way up of course, none of this ruched to the ankle business), and could not believe the level of comfort I was being afforded. Heaven on a stick! Things started getting tricky, however, when the need to visit the WC arose. There was no way known I was putting damp hiking boots over my dry socks, a precious commodity in a place where it rained every feckin day, so sandals it was to be. I was about to have my eyes opened in a way I’d never thought possible…
So when a little hundred metre wander to the WC was called for, out came the sandals to help make the journey. It was the start of a love/love relationship. Black, with a strap over the toes and one around the ankle, they found their niche with my socks and eventually we did everything together in the evenings – ate dinner, socialised, walked between huts; became a talking point when everyone realised we weren’t to be parted and yes I am a weirdo for wearing, somewhat ecstatically, something I’d never wear in a blue fit at home. I was warm and comfy, and basically I was not me without them. Don’t laugh…
I wasn’t alone. One of my fellow hikers, Mark, was in love with his too, but that’s worse cos he’s a man and that’s just tragic. Or is it..?