As a behavior ecology & evolution major, the Galapagos had long been on my list of places to visit. Known around the world as the place that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the Galapagos is home to animals and plants unlike those anywhere else in the world. The ancestors of the unique birds, reptiles, and plants made their way to the remote archipelago by happenstance – getting blown off-course by a strong wind or floating the 1000km on a natural raft.
Far from home, the surviving individuals developed unusual livelihood strategies, such as marine iguanas foraging for seaweed on underwater rocks or finches employing a stick to search for insects in lieu of the woodpecker’s specialized beak. And almost all of the animals – having spent so long without humans or other natural predators – are unperturbed by the flocks of tourists. Such is the case of the Galapagos sea lion here, resting on a park bench.
The trip was just about everything I had imagined. Snorkeling with sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, and thousands of brightly-colored reef fish. Kayaking along the rocky cliffs, observing the cliff-nesting blue-footed boobies, soaring frigate birds, and dive-bombing pelicans – all while being pursued by playful sea lion pups. Hiking and horseback riding up to the still-smoking crater of a volcano and traversing the desolate lava field. And of course the giant tortoises – massive, ancient creatures.
All this activity made for great, busy days, but I was still in training for my first ultramarathon – the Ice Age 50 Mile – a mere three weeks after my return. I had to get some serious running in! Fortunately, my partner and her parents were understanding of my plight (even if they doubted the sanity of one seeking to run 50 miles). Britt was a competitive runner in college and her dad, Dave, a former marathon-trials qualifier, so I was to have company on the trails.
I had decided this would be the ultimate test of Montrail’s new multi-surface shoe, the Fairhaven. I already had 150+ miles on my Fairhavens, but I hadn’t committed to using them as my only shoe for a trip. I’m a big fan of road-shoes for roads and trail-shoes for trails, but when traveling one can’t bring the whole footlocker (or so I’m told).
The Fairhaven exceeded expectations.
It ate up the crushed igneous gravel trails.
The Fairhaven’s generous cushioning smoothed out miles of cobblestone.
And the traction was perfectly adequate for cruising the sandy beaches.
I managed to run six out of the ten days (including travel days), logging almost 40 miles of running in addition to all of the other fun-filled, human-powered activities.
The Fairhaven is a great shoe. It’s the first “cross-over” or “hybrid” shoe I’ve used that actually does what it claims. It definitely errs on the side of cushioned/road, trading-off some of the responsiveness and feedback you get from a stiffer trail shoe, but this is appreciated when pounding out the road miles. And the modest traction bites into softer surfaces without the squishy feeling of big lugs on pavement. This is my go-to shoe for travel when I’m hitting all sorts of surfaces.
The FluidPost technology has me using this shoe for at least half of my dedicated road miles – including 20+ road mile long days. FluidPost is a new, brilliant way to address pronation control on the road or trail – Montrail blends different density EVA foams on the medial side of the sole (the inside of your foot where your arch collapses if you over-pronate). As you over-pronate, the harder foams help steer you back to a biomechanically efficient footfall. If you don’t over-pronate much, you’ll not encounter these denser foams. It’s a super clever and effective way to create a progressive pronation control shoe. FluidPost results in a much smoother ride than any other pronation-control shoe (trail or road) I’ve used.
Considering a new shoe? Try some Montrail Fairhavens.
Looking for an adventure vacation? Check out the Galapagos. And don’t forget your Fairhavens.
PS – the race went great! Stay tuned for an Ice Age 50 race report!