Product Review – Salomon XT Wings 2 Trail Running Shoes

SALOMON XT WINGS 2 TRAIL RUNNING SHOES
Me sporting my shoes on Smith Rock
PRODUCT: Salomon XT Wings 2 Trail Running Shoes purchased at REI as a birthday present.

The Salomon XT Wings 2 trail-running shoes combine outstanding cushioning and stability with agility to help you fly down the trails and through the miles.

  • Nylon mesh uppers feature Sensifit™ synthetic leather overlays that wrap and secure insteps for a precise fit
  • Quicklace™ lacing system takes just 1 pull for an exact fit; lace pocket hides lacing away
  • Protective toe and heel caps guard against bumps and abrasion
  • Agile Chassis System (ACS) integrates 3 components to increase runner efficiency: the skeleton, muscle and tendon
  • Clear thermoplastic urethane insert and outsole heel wrap act as the skeleton to facilitate heel-to-toe transition and side-to-side stability
  • Triple-density EVA midsole muscle maximizes cushioning, comfort and responsiveness with twice the durability of average EVA foam
  • Contagrip® outsole tendon acts like a spring to collect heel strike energy and transfer it to toe-off for forward momentum
  • Running Contagrip rubber outsoles deliver optimal performance on mixed terrain even at high speeds
  • Reflective detailing increases your visibility in low light

If you go on REI’s website, it’s an interactive photo where you can zoom in and out. Makes ya kinda dizzy but it’s fun to look at all the great details in this shoe!  Picture was taken off their site as well at http://www.rei.com/product/795722/salomon-xt-wings-2-trail-running-shoes-womens.

JENN’S VIEW: I love these shoes! I should have bought two because I see them wearing out from excessive use but for $130 a pop, hmmm, maybe not! I did my research (like all the many products I buy) and found that the user reviews on these shoes were great. So, without trying them on (since they didn’t have it at the retail store), I went blind and had my sisters and brother buy it for me for my birthday. I’m glad I did my research and glad that they did turn out phenomenal!  I wear them on hikes as well as trail running. I have used it on the 7+ mile run through Silver Falls one summer and they did fantastic. I have used them on hikes and notice my back does hurt after mile 5 but I’m also carrying a pack and really not meant as a backpacking type shoes. Also, I think I want to add different insoles in them to see if it will help on those longer hikes.

If you have these same shoes, please leave a comment and let me know how you like them! If you have a favorite pair of trail running shoes – LET ME KNOW! I would love to hear about other shoes out there. I don’t care if they are stinky, old pair of shoes! My first shoes were old, pink and black Puma running shoes. Soles were worn down, I think I may have had a hole at the bottom or some where on them but I didn’t care. They molded to my feet. Absolutely no traction and eventually they found themselves at the bottom of the garbage pail. I’m a believer of user reviews and base my purchasing habits by that. My boyfriend, Scott needs a new pair…hmmm!

The old Pumas completely covered in mud from the Lower and Upper Butte Falls hike
Me sporting the shoes on my hike to Niagara Falls – in Oregon. 🙂

Columbia Gorge – Tom McCall Preserve (#22)

TOM McCALL PRESERVE
January 8, 2011
Info: (from my Oregon Hike Book) More than 300 varieties of plants grow on the dramatic oak grasslands above the Columbia River and Rowena Dell. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy, this fabulous preserve – named for former Oregon Governor McCall, a conservationist-is open to everyone. Spring and early summer mark some of the showiest wildflower shows anywhere, though poison oak has a grip here, too. Lava flows and ash deposits coupled with massive floods have produced this strange mound-and-swale topography that baffles even the experts on that sort of thing. Here you’ll find meadowlarks, the Oregon state bird, as well as canyon wrens, Pacific chorus frogs and mule deer. Flowers include grass widows, prairie stars, lupine, Indian paintbrush, balsamroot, milk vetch, shooting stars, and waterleaf, several of which are found only in the Gorge. 
Directions: Drive east of Hood River five miles on I-84 to the Mosier exit (Exit 69) and follow “Scenic Loop” signs 6.6 miles to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
 Jenn’s View: Great hike. All relatively flat and total miles roundtrip, I would say, was about 2.5 miles. I could be wrong. Too many conflicting signs and had a not so great headache happening. Saw some wildlife and glad that I didn’t see any snakes. Sorry, snakes are NOT my friend. 🙂 We did this hike with the McCall Point trail and looked at the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. I was a little disappointed to find out that no dogs are allowed on the trail. I understand that they want to keep the “preservation” but it was obvious people didn’t mind the sign cuz there were evidence that there were dogs.

So, Makaila decided to stay back while Scott and I did this quick hike. 

She did say that she had her iPod to keep her company 🙂

So we hit the first plateau. I was amazed to see that there were quite a few people hiking out today. Probably because it was a clear day and sunny! Still cold but SUNNY! I even saw a lady with a nice long skirt, nylons, flat shoes, nice jacket – looks like her Sunday best doing this hike. 

This lady was taking pictures at the edge of the plateau. I think her boyfriend/husband/significant other/friend was afraid of the edge cuz he was no where near her. Hmmm, sounds familiar, right Scott?

There was a small trail off to the right before the plateau where I got these great shots!

I’m obsessed with that double bridge
OH NO! The sun is going down quick! Like I mentioned above, he won’t go near the edge 🙂

Went around on to the plateau to take more shots of that bridge. I knew if I took enough pictures, I would get one good one. 🙂

The double bridge…Thought it was pretty cool but just couldn’t get the right “shot” Click on it to get the “bigger” picture
Beautiful Columbia River!

On our hike to the plateau, we tried to take a self picture. Hmmm, didn’t work. I think it still turned out cute, even with 1/2 the face. 

You definitely don’t want to click on this one to make it big. I might scare you!

Started heading further down the trail. You end up hitting 2 small ponds but we really didn’t stop to take a look. No biggy. Was getting a little tired any ways but you get great pictures of the gorge!

I tried to yell to the boatsmen where they can find this picture! Yelled “jennshike.blogspot.com!” I don’t think they heard me though. Bummer. One of my favorite shots! Click on it..
THE LOCALS!

So, we thought the trail looped all around but we came pretty much to the end of the road. We turned around and headed back to the car.

On my way out of the gorge, we took a few more shots of the Gorge and said our goodbyes!

Jenn’s Recommendation: Wait until spring but great hike for family and kids of all ages. Remember, no dogs!

Columbia Gorge – Rowena Overlook/McCall Point (#21)

McCALL POINT – ROWENA OVERLOOK

 June 8, 2011

Info: (from my Oregon Hike Book) More than 300 varieties of plants grow on the dramatic oak grasslands above the Columbia River and Rowena Dell. Thanks to the Nature Conservancy, this fabulous preserve – named for former Oregon Governor McCall, a conservationist-is open to everyone. Spring and early summer mark some of the showiest wildflower shows anywhere, though poison oak has a grip here, too. Lava flows and ash deposits coupled with massive floods have produced this strange mound-and-swale topography that baffles even the experts on that sort of thing. Here you’ll find meadowlarks, the Oregon state bird, as well as canyon wrens, Pacific chorus frogs and mule deer. Flowers include grass widows, prairie stars, lupine, Indian paintbrush, balsamroot, milk vetch, shooting stars, and waterleaf, several of which are found only in the Gorge. 
Directions: Drive east of Hood River five miles on I-84 to the Mosier exit (Exit 69) and follow “Scenic Loop” signs 6.6 miles to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
Thanks Kevin for the wonderful calendar!

Jenn’s View: OKAY so my challenge is to do every hike (or visit the places and then find a nearby hike) in my new Oregon Calendar that I received for Christmas. The first hike for the year was taken at the Rowena Overlook. No where in my book shows a Rowena Overlook so had to look it online. Well, it kept pointing me to the Tom McCall Preserve so I went with it. Now, the picture on my calendar shows it with snow but as you can obviously tell in my picture – no snow. It was a little “blah” and not very picturesque but I bet its pretty phenomenal in the Spring when the fields are blooming with sooooo many colors. I wouldn’t mind going back to see the show in the Spring. 🙂

We first visited the Viewpoint. We had to stop for “directions” on how to get to the trailhead and to ask for advise on which trail to do first. Very nice cyclists and the lady would have talked your ear off!
All the signs were pretty confusing and not trust worthy on the length of each hike. The first hike we did was to McCall Point or the Rowena Overlook (?). It was pretty cold but the sun was shining. Thank goodness cuz when we left Salem, the fog was so thick, I didn’t think I was gonna get a good picture!
 The trail was pretty muddy and wet but steady climb up to the peak. Not good when you drank a little too much of very delicious Jalapeno, sweet thang Margaritas – courtesy of Mr. Scott Wenger.  The higher that we went up, the peak of a mountain was starting show. That was a great highlight.

My Daughter…Not happy…Teenagers!
We hit the first mark and decided to take some pictures!
Posing the same way. I wonder if she got that from me or me from her?
AWWWW, my man!
Here is the peek-a-boo of a mountain top.  We couldn’t figure out which mountain that was. It was definitely on the Washington side so I was thinking it was Mt. Adams?

Had to get a picture of the “rolling hills”.

Steady climb up and found some normal trees!
My Sherpa. 🙂 I started with the backpack and he ended up carrying the rest of the time. Thank goodness!
The higher we climbed, the more I saw this mountain. 
More steady climb up but we are sooooo very close!
Posing for the camera. Easy picture taker!
We finally reached the top and was clear enough to see Mt. Adams (?) and Mt. Hood (?). Maybe that was Mt. Hood with all the snow.

We reached the top and stopped to enjoy the view and Kaila to finally eat her victory Banana! Should have stopped at Subway to eat our Victory Sandmich!

Kaila hidden somewhere in there eating her nana

Well, I didn’t want to take a picture of up, down and all around for the 360 photo software. It’s kinda a pain in the butt so I’d rather do a pana shot. I know, I know…lazy me. Oh well. 🙂

Click on it! I swear it does get bigger!!!! :))