I have triumphantly returned from the wet, soggy weekend more or less intact. My boots, on the other hand, have not; the soles of both are more or less completely blown, which means I’ll have to get them repaired before I can use them again. I’m actually surprised they lasted as long as they did; they were really more of a costume boot than anything else, designed to strut and fret an hour upon the stage, not in the mud one weekend a month.
I enjoyed myself thoroughly, even if I had to switch to my sneakers by Saturday evening. Sure, next month I’ll be rotating in an ancient pair of 14-eyelet Doc Martens I bought used off a friend for a steal in freshman year of undergrad. They don’t exactly look period, but those things are nigh invulnerable, considering how they’re about fifteen years old and the only thing I’ve ever had to replace on them were boot laces. I guess they really don’t make ’em like they used to.
This brings up a good point, though: if there’s anything I’ve learned after four months of playing in this LARP, it’s that you cannot underestimate the value of good footwear. You’re constantly running around uneven ground all weekend, splashing through puddles, slipping in the mud, tripping over rocks and logs, and you’re not going to get very far unless you can keep your feet happy. My dogs aren’t quite barking today but I can tell you that my calves are mooing – Faire Play is an amazing site, but with the camp on one side of the property being built into a hill and the far side of the property halfway up another hill, it can mean you end up going uphill both ways if there’s something going on across the way – and my calf muscles are as tight as a drum, even a day later.
For anyone interested in LARPing, investing in durable, comfortable, and water-resistant pair of boots is one of the most important things you can do. Sure, there are other things to keep in mind – like packing a mattress pad or extra blankets because none of the cots at the camp have mattresses yet, or that you’d better pack about twice the amount of underwear and socks you’ll think you need because you’re going to be sweating like a pig for 48 hours straight, or making sure you’re bringing in extra food to keep yourself from attacking the local wildlife in between meals provided for you with the price of your admission – but if you think you’re going to be able to wear your Chuck Taylors as you run across uneven ground in the middle of the night without a flashlight and not end up cavimg your skull in, you’re crazier than I am.
And let’s be honest, I’m pretty crazy.