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ROBERT PRICE: The old man who works in a shoe pulls off a small miracle

Veteran campers, as well as those who have never camped in their lives, know this instinctively: It’s not wise to prop your hiking boots at the edge of a campfire for more than a few seconds, whether your feet are in the boots or not.

Obvious? Sure, to most people, but this basic footwear-preservation technique eluded me one chilly evening last April in the Sierra Nevada above Porterville. The night was damp and the conversation distracting, and before I knew it the thick rubber tread on one of my Red Wings had almost completely separated from the leather base. For the rest of the weekend, having forgotten to bring duct tape, I walked around like I was wearing one swim fin, except I could have walked more gracefully with one swim fin.

Robert Price is an Emmy-winning reporter-commentator for KGET-TV. His column appears here Sundays; the views expressed are his own. Reach him at or via Twitter: @stubblebuzz.