To me, the name “Merrell” has been associated with dad stuff. Kinda ugly, really traditional, super brown—not the good kind of brown from playing in the dirt, and a little bulky. They’ve never been hip or cool. Until recently. If you showed me a shoe from their new line, I couldn’t tell you it was by Merrell. When Merrell offered to send the #UintasHike16 crew shoes, I was a little skeptical. I worship my Salewas. They are my ultimate shoe. I decided to give Merrell a try; if they didn’t make me a convert, at least I could change my tune about the brand as a whole.
It was the last day of our little trek. After a night of little sleep and lots of Kovas’ snoring, we all woke up at the buttcrack of dawn to pack up. I was psyched. It was crappy diner food time. Day one had been an ordeal. Day two was less so. Day three was our shortest day. Nothing could go wrong on this day, right?
I won’t lie. I’m a total flatlander. I live at sea level, and I completely struggle at altitude. Shortness of breath, splitting headaches, all that jazz, all of it happens to me once I get close to 8000 feet. Prior to Outdoor Retailer, a few friends and I headed out in the Uintas for some pre-show backpacking and gear testing fun. Our itinerary involved scuttling around 10,000 feet every day, so Oxygen Plus was kind enough to send along some Skinni Natural bottles.
What can happen when you throw six internet friends on a backpacking trip prior to the biggest outdoor tradeshow of the year? A lot apparently. #UintasHike16 was born as a pre-show gear testing and hang out opportunity to experience the Utah backcountry. 40+ miles through the Wasatch over three days was going to be an adventure.