If My Oboz Could Talk
Cover image: Arizona's stunning landscape. All images: Rich Van Antwerp
For the past two years, I’ve been part of Oboz’s Trail Ambassador team. Representing Oboz inspired and challenged me to not only literally get outside, but also to get outside of my comfort zone, to push myself to levels I never thought I could go to and to see some of the most amazing natural beauty this country has to offer.
See Your Park
I’ve visited National Parks all my life, but until three years ago, I’ve never ventured much off the tourist routes and easily accessible trails. Starting with a Trans Zion hike in 2014 and finishing with a backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon last month, I’ve taken the trails less travelled and explored the wilderness, backcountry and mountains that many people don’t get to see.
Making my adventures even more enjoyable has been the fact that I am frequently joined by a group of friends who have also been reintroduced to the love of hiking and backpacking later in life. They have joined me on most of my week-long backpacking trips and the memories we have shared will last a lifetime and have encouraged us to keep planning future trips.
But, even more important to me has been the chance to introduce and experience the backcountry with my children. I did not expect them to share in my newfound passion, but was thrilled that both of my children wanted to join me to experience it for themselves. My daughter ended up joining me on my John Muir Trail trip and my son has joined me on several hikes in Colorado and even summited his first 14er.
The family that hikes together stays together.
I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to share my love for the outdoors with them and look forward to many more off the grid experiences with them in the future.
The one constant with all my hiking and backpacking trips over the last two years have been my Oboz. Per my Fitbit, I’ve put in over 5,000 miles in my Oboz over the last two years. Here's where each Oboz has taken me.
My Oboz Switchbacks have been my go to shoe on all my Oregon and Hawaii hiking adventures. Lightweight, breathable and a great tread for wet conditions, they have been the perfect choice for wet and slippery trail conditions. Among my favorite hikes wearing my Switchbacks are Haleakla National Park on Maui, Waimea Canyon on Kauai, Mary’s Peak in the Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and the McDonald State Forest in Oregon
When hiking in the Rockies in Colorado, my go to shoe is the Sawtooth Low. The rugged outsole with sidewall gripping lugs are the perfect choice for navigating the loose rocky scree above tree line. My favorite hikes in my Sawtooth Lows include climbing Quandary Peak and Mt. Sniktau countless times as well as section hiking the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails in the Arapaho and White River National Forests.
YELLOWSTONE II BDry
I fell in love with my Yellowstone II BDry’s the first day I put tried them on. They are now my favorite boot for backpacking trips when I need a breathable and waterproof option with reliable traction and support. Over the last year I’ve worn my Yellowstones on my Grand Canyon backpacking trip as well as my Mt Marcy trip in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York.
I’ve had my Sundogs for ten months now and they have become my favorite day-to-day shoe. Light and as comfortable as slippers, they are my favorite shoe for dog-walking and exploring local trails. Because they are my daily shoe of choice, I’ve put more miles in my Sundogs than any of my other Oboz shoes and will be the first pair of Oboz I will need to replace due to excessive tread wear.
WIND RIVER II BDry
My first experience with Oboz was before I even began as a Trail Ambassador when I purchased a pair of Wind River II BDry after an unfortunate experience with another brand name boot that nearly ruined one of my backpacking trips.
My Wind River II’s were my boot of choice for my John Muir Trail trip through the Inyo National Forest, Ansel Adams Wilderness and culminating in Yosemite National Park. Carrying a heavier pack than normal to accommodate the required bear canister, the sturdy and supportive Wind River II’s helped make the John Muir Trail and side trips to Clouds Rest and Half Dome a breeze.
When your Oboz take you to views like these...
If these Oboz could talk, they’d tell you about all the scenic places they guided me through.
Rich is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Summit County, Colorado. He’s now a full-time hiker, skier, and snowshoer working his way through his “bucket list” of adventures.