This is giving me heel blisters just typing: Alex Falcioni just completed the PCT from Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite to Portland while wearing high heels. But he wasn’t just a slave for fashion: He did it to raise money for a friend diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His Pumps2Portland drive has raised $2,500 so far (you can donate here).
Falcioni didn’t wear pumps the whole time; technical terrain and sky-high passes necessitated temporary suspensions of style. But he wore them as often as possible and kept them prominently displayed on his pack when he didn’t. From the San Francisco Bay Guardian:
"The pumps really opened doors, too," Falcioni continued. "People I'd encounter on the trail would ask about them and that would help along a conversation. Or when I'd go into town... One of the ways you survive the trail is to mail food ahead for yourself. (You learn little tricks, like mixing spicy ramen with a spoonful of peanut butter equals Thai food!) So I'd have to go down into towns to pick that up, and I hadn't bathed in a week — same shirt, same pants, covered in dirt and smoke. But showing off these huge pumps.
"That not only got the attention of the Trail Angels — people who dedicate themselves to opening their homes and helping out PCT hikers — but of random strangers, too. I made so many real friendships, had so many actual conversations about real things in these places of enormous beauty. Not to mention some free showers.
"It was an incredible experience to just put yourself out there at the mercy of nature, other people, and even yourself. I'd urge anyone to do it, giant man-heels or no."
No word yet on whether we’ll see a white strappy heel collection at OR, but who knows? Maybe pump-hiking will be next year’s SUPing.