On Saturday, we went out to look at hiking poles. I've been using a stick I found at Cuyamaca Rancho a couple of months ago, and it's been incredibly useful while geocaching. It lets me take weight off my perpetually-irritated ankle, it's useful for crossing streams, it helps me climb uphill, and it can be used to poke in bushes where one would rather not stick a hand. On the other hand, it's heavy and uncomfortable to grip, and I can't take it to Wisconsin this October. I thought it would be nice to get a lightweight, collapsible hiking pole. Sure, I'd feel a bit silly using a technologically-advanced serious-hiker device for trundling around city parks, but the usefulness of a walking stick is already evident to me, and I want a nice one.
So we did some reasearch online, and went to REI to try out some sticks. I'm glad we didn't buy anything sight unseen -- five seconds of trying out a rubber grip convinced me that I'd never buy a pole with one. Cork, while more comfortable, felt unpleasantly slick. Cork with a light coating of foam rubber turned out to be perfect. I liked contoured grips and disliked straight grips with a knob on top. I thought the anti-shock sticks felt odd and clicked noisily every time they hit the ground. They were heavy, too. The positive-angle grip was nice, but only came on sticks that had other features I wanted to avoid. We ended up with nifty lightweight titanium sticks with comfortable grips. They collapse down to 24" and will fit in Ken's suitcase. There's a slight difference between the right and left stick, but not so much that it will prevent us from splitting the set so we each have one stick.
But we didn't get to try them outdoors. It was too damn hot. We got some cleaning done, and got Ken's car washed, and had lunch at Red Robin (and won free lunch again this week by dropping Ken's business card in a bowl. This happens, of course, just as I resolve to stop eating crap food and start bringing salads to work again). Last night, we went to the Wild Animal Park; it was the last night of the summer that they'd be open until 10pm. There is not actually a great deal you can see after dark, and we missed the acrobats, and we walked all the way down to the Heart of Africa only to find everything closed. I was actually finding the quiet walk on the dark trails with occasional duck noises rather romantic, but Ken seemed to be in a hurry to get somewhere. Oh well. We watched some Andean (?) musicians for a while, and had dinner, and left before we strictly had to. I picked up a couple of panda-head antenna balls for geocaching.
So my ankle hurts today, and I'm tired. It was too hot and stuffy to sleep well last night. Plus, I felt smelly before bed and unthinkingly borrowed some of Ken's 'sport scent' deodorant (it was more convenient than crossing the apartment to fetch my own). That stuff STINKS. I never noticed Ken smelling unpleasant; maybe it reacts differently with his manly chemistry or something. But I kept smelling it on myself last night, and it was really gross. At least he ran out of the stuff this morning and is back to unscented deodorant now.