Nestled in a valley between two mountains of shoeboxes, Miku and Brad tried on boot after boot. They were armed with a gift certificate, which led them to the local outdoor adventure shop on that January day. High top, high ankle support boots. Low cut and lightweight trail runners. They hopped in shoes, stretched in boots, searched for a match for the adventures they had ahead of them that year.

These boots would need to withstand terrains of many lands.

In Hawaii, these boots would take them up to the summit of Diamond Head volcano, where they would look down upon the white sandy beaches of Waikiki far below. The boots would need to be easily removable for their return to sea level and those beaches.

These boots would take them to the crimson terra of Arizona, in a spiritual vortex called Sedona. Though crystal healers would encourage a barefoot walk, their hikes would require something sturdier. Their boots would be stained red with the dust from that desert.

On many trips up the Californian coast to a place called Big Sur, their boots would be caked with mud and tinged with poison oak. But those problems would be addressed post-trip because, in these movements, the coastal redwoods provided all the distraction they needed. The Pacific would crash playfully against the cliffs defiant.

After some days, their boots would be so filthy, coated with adventures past that they would have to be left outside. But they would wait patiently, until called upon once more.

And in the fall of that year, they would embark on a journey through the desert, the plains, and the mountains. These boots would tread gently in the amphitheater of multi-colored hoodoos in Bryce Canyon, Utah. These boots would be soaked through in the Virgin River as they wade in the Narrows at Zion National Park. The boots would get a chance to feel the wind in their laces as they dried out on top of the car en route north. They would grip the trunks of apple trees in Capitol Reef as Miku and Brad would search for juicy treats for the road.

And, they would eventually arrive in a land of geysers and buffalo. Yellowstone and the neighboring Grand Tetons. Traversing lakes, exploring forests, searching for moose and wolves and bear and elk and buffalo.

It was fortunate that Miku and Brad needed new boots on that same day in early January. Before their paths had crossed, their shoes wore down at different rates. In different ways. Now their boots wore down together.

“I like these ones,” Miku glowed as she strode around the outdoor supply shop.

“Yeah, me too.” Brad found some Adidas that fit his strangely wide feet.

And so they went forward. 2018 was waiting.

Miku & Brad

Miku and Brad live on the central coast of California, in a town called San Luis Obispo. Bringing loaves of love to the community, Miku works as a baker as she learns more about running a bakery. She is originally from a town called Gyoda, nestled in the Saitama prefecture just north of Tokyo, Japan. She lived in Sydney, Australia and Vancouver, Canada before making her way to California. Brad works in software, but also writes. He recently published an adventure-fictionish novel, Recollections of the Restless. IG: @ourpathscross

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