Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in Missouri, is accessed via a short trail. Or, you can take the long route to the top.
Last week, as a part of our ‘1 Million Steps’ project with KEEN, hiker and active Air Force meteorologist Joe Witschy climbed the 1,772-foot Taum Sauk during a 30-mile backpacking trip.
He went solo and managed to time the trip with a heat wave. “It hit over 100 degrees in the area,” Witschy said.
Witschy started the trek at 8a.m. on a Tuesday and hiked all day to reach a camp. “The trail was brutal,” he said. “Up and down constantly, with tons of elevation change.”
He tested the same pair of KEEN Durand boots we’ve been hiking in all summer. As a part of the ’1 Million Steps’ project this pair has seen more than 300 miles of rugged abuse.
Witschy noted the boots were still in “almost new” condition, despite the miles.
One of the laces is starting to fray but the fit and function was solid, Witschy said. “There were a few times I would have twisted my ankle without the boots.”
A highlight of the hike was Mina Sauk Falls, which is Missouri’s tallest waterfall. He tested the boots’ waterproofness in the stream.
“I stood up to the top of the boots and let the water try and soak through… no luck, they are very waterproof!”
In addition to Taum Sauk, Witschy hiked for a day at nearby Castlewood State Park. In total, he put 55.2 miles — 116,583 total steps — on the Durands over a few days in the Ozarks.
Next, the boots head east. New Hampshire and the White Mountains are in their future, where the Durands will be used to backpack and climb with another KEEN “test pilot” helping us on our quest to hit 1 million total steps by the end of the month.