I attended a small Liberal Arts College in the Sierra Mountains. Although I left school with more than I came, there was something that I lost. Endless days of backcountry snowboarding left my knees completely shot. It’s a rare moment these days I can cross my legs without completely dislocating one of them. Kneeling leaves me with shooting pain, and while I know I probably need surgery – I’m a stubborn guy.
As the father of young kids, my college injuries drive them crazy. Digging for earth worms, identifying animal tracks, and picking spring flowers all require that I get down on the ground. The result is never good – yet, I’m unwilling to give it up. A few months ago, I came across a pair of pants made by Pnuma Outdoors called the Tenacity. Amongst the many features they boasted was a pair of removable, molded, EVA knee pads. I figured I’d give them a try.
Last weekend, I convinced my reluctant 4 year old daughter to head into the woods with me. It was a late-season winter day, and the thermometer was pushing toward 50ºF. The ground was sloppy, with the run off from the winter’s snowstorms. It was the perfect day to sit quietly – and observe nature with an inquisitive child.
Although the hike started on the trail, it didn’t take long to go bushwhacking. We found ourselves parked beneath a large maple tree, identifying a set of whitetail deer tracks through the melting snow. Normally the simple act of getting down to ground level would throw my knees into panic. To be honest, I even forgot they were there. It wasn’t until we were sitting for a few minutes that I realized I hadn’t winced in pain on the way down.
We continued our afternoon spotting birds, and sitting quietly as a flock of wild turkeys called in the distance. Sure, I’ll likely give in to the orthopedic surgeon…eventually. For now, I’ve discovered a feature that I never realized I needed in a pair of pants.