Steger’s Mukluks

Last year I heard about Steger’s Mukluks and started to notice them around town. I couldn’t understand how they could be warm. They look like knee-high slippers!

I bought a pair, but they needed to be worked in before all the layers of insulation and insoles fit in so I didn’t wear them much last year.

Most of the winter I wear my Muck boots. They are the Arctic Sport level, good to -40. 

But if you stand in these outside and don’t move, like watching fireworks, or standing around at the Yukon Quest, your feet will freeze. Even worse, is sitting on a snowmobile with your feet not moving, resting on a metal deck. I thought I was going to lose my toes the last time my feet got so painfully cold.

So I started working in the Steger Mukluks. They are AMAZING. They are moosehide with rubber soles and canvas legs, made in Ely, Minnesota. Because our snow is so dry, they are perfect here, because unless you are snowmobiling on a river with water overflow, you’re not going to get wet feet. I did spray the moosehide with a water repellant spray Steger sells though, just in case.

They have a thick wool liner inside, and then a wool insole, and a regular insole. Then you wrap the moosehide ties around your legs a few times and tie a bow (and they totally stay in place). For extreme winter temperatures like ours, you need to order these at least 1.5 sizes larger than your regular foot size, so you can get all the wool liner in there.

These boots are so light, and easy to walk in, and you don’t even need a thick sock. In fact they tell you to use a mid to thin sock. I find them still a little cold when standing still on a frozen river at -30C, but not as painfully as the Muck boots which seem to just draw the cold in through their rubber. They are so lightweight. I hiked in them for the first time yesterday and was really pleased. It feels like you are hiking in slippers, and you’ll love it! They’re great if you are going someplace where you’ll be sitting inside in boots for hours too because they breathe and you won’t get hot feet.

Funny how the best ways of doing things up here, turn out to the best way they’ve alway done them here. People have wore mukluks here probably since there was people here. Here’s a neat video of Will Steger showing how to tie your mukluks:

The other alternative for a good winter boot, is the bunny boot, which Jeff has. They were produced for the US military and are getting more and more difficult to find.

They are heavy and rubber and people swear by them. Jeff has never got cold feet in his once. They are great for snowmobiling because they are rubber and you won’t get wet feet if you go through overflow (frozen rivers are weird and leak on top of the ice with water all winter).

I should probably get a pair for snowmobiling adventures. But otherwise, they seem really heavy to wear to walk around. I’ll stick my Mukluks until the spring mud comes! Then back to the Muck boots!

Shoulder repair

Last week I finally had a visit with the great physiotherapist from Whitehorse that travels up to visit clients several times a year.

I’ve injured my shoulder several times over the last year. It got to the point where sneezing and even yawning caused excruciating pain in one specific spot in the front of my shoulder.

The Dr. thought I had a partial tear of a rotator cuff tendon. He offered a few treatment options, but said this private physiotherapist was the best and knew shoulders better than he did.

So I waited another 2 months until she was in town. The appointment started with her assessment. I had to fight against her pushing my arms in different directions. Passed those tests. She said, “it hurts when you sneeze? That’s weird.” Then she had me try to lift that arm. Nope, wouldn’t go half way up. Then I had to move my neck. She asked me put my ear on my shoulder. One way good. Other way, I could barely move. “What have you done to yourself”, she asked, “And why can’t you lift your arm, what happens when you try to go further?” “It just doesn’t go”, I said.

She said, “It definitely isn’t your rotator cuff. You have full strength. I think it’s in your back?”

“No way”, I said. “It hurts specifically right here, right in the front of my shoulder, this one spot, right here.”

After a bunch of movements and tests she had my lie on my back on her big padded table. She had to check a couple things online. And then she started pressing hard in places in my back.

“Your rib is stuck”, she said. Huh? Rib? Stuck? What? “Yes, it’s dislocated and stuck behind your shoulder.”

And she kept pressing and pushing and then she said, “It’s not stuck now!”

“Cough” she said, “see if it still hurts.”

“Cough. Cough. Yep, same pain.”

“Hmmm. I don’t think that rib was your only problem, let me see.”

Then she spent the next 20 minutes pressing in my pectoral muscle on my chest while I shouted out and moaned and groaned and hoped not too many people were hearing the wailing I was doing. Wow did it hurt.

She said they were so tight. Since they connect from my ribs to my shoulder, she thinks that is what was causing the pain. Why they were locked so tight, hard to say.

“OKay sit up and try to lift your arm.”

It went right up! All the way! It hasn’t been able to do that for over a year!

“You’re going to be pretty sore for a few days”, she told me.

And she was right! 10 days later and I’m still sore where she was pressing on me.

She asked me to do a series of stretches every 15 minutes while I work at the computer. It is really hard to remember to do this. I still feel super tight, and it still hurts when I sneeze, but I can lift my arm still!

I think I need to find some good stretching exercises or routine I can do to keep me loose.