My Compression Sock Adventure: Hiking Mount Sentinel

Guest Blog by Shannon Furniss

Happy National Park Week! Each year in April, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation invite everyone to celebrate this week by getting outside and exploring  America’s most treasured places – national parks. In celebration of this week, VIM & VIGR is partnering with local company, Xplorer Maps, to encourage our followers to get out and explore the many beautiful places around our country. Shannon Furniss, marketing director at Xplorer Maps, gave VIM & VIGR socks a try for herself while getting outside for a hike up Missoula’s iconic Mount Sentinel.   

While I had always been curious about VIM & VIGR’s compression socks – and had heard a lot about the company in the national media – I had never tried them. Since Xplorer Maps, the company I work with, had recently decided to partner with VIM & VIGR, I thought I should give the socks a try and headed for a hike up nearby Mount Sentinel.  

1. Putting on My Socks.  While opening the packaging on my new socks, I had a moment of uncertainty. The only time I had seen compression socks was when a friend had to wear them following a hip surgery, and they looked a bit frightening and certainly were not a fashion statement. But my white and gray polka-dot VIM & VIGR socks were actually really cute. I slipped my socks on and pulled them up, feeling nice, gentle support in my calves.

2. Chatting with the Neighborhood Moms.  Before heading off on my hike, I stopped by to talk with a group of moms who live in my Rattlesnake Valley neighborhood.  I asked them how they liked my socks.

“Wow, those are so cool,” said one mom.
“I wish I would have known about those during my pregnancy,” said another mom. “My legs were so swollen, and I bet those would have really helped,” said yet another.  
And then, “Where can I get them?”

3. Hiking Mount Sentinel. I decided that hiking to the iconic “M” on Mount Sentinel that sits high above the University of Montana would put my new socks to the test. As I started my climb, zig-zagging back and forth on the switchbacks, I felt energized. I didn’t feel the tiredness that usually hits my legs halfway up the steep mountain trail and makes me want to sit down on one of the benches along the way.

4. Reaching the Top. Reaching the white-washed concrete that forms the “M,” I felt on top of the world. Had those muscle pump classes made me stronger, or was it the socks? Probably a little of both. Looking down at the University of Montana’s Main Hall, I thought of the new university president, Seth Bodnar, who has been known to sport striped VIM & VIGR socks under his business suits. Does he wear them for his hikes up to the “M” on his lunch break or just to get through a demanding day?

    My first experience wearing VIM & VIGR socks left me feeling energized, strong and, well, almost invincible. While standing at the “M,” I pondered going the rest of the way up the mountain (the “M” is only a third of the way up), but I turned around and headed for the bottom.

    Next fall, I will be attending a conference in Salt Lake City. After the conference, I plan to explore nearby Bryce Canyon National Park.  After my Mount Sentinel experience, I will most definitely be wearing my white and gray polka-dot compression socks to hike through the park and explore the unique “hoodoos” and other rock formations.

    Go out this week and take a hike in a national park. Don’t forget to wear your VIM & VIGR compression socks, and make sure to stop by the visitor center afterward to pick up one of our hand-drawn national park maps!

    About Xplorer Maps:

    Xplorer Maps creates hand-drawn maps of national parks and other travel destinations, combining original artwork, unique story-telling, and philanthropy. Each piece of art created by Xplorer Maps is the result of an in-depth, collaborative process with area experts, historians, National Park Service interpretive staff, and nonprofits. A portion of all maps sales are donated to our nonprofit partners to conserve and protect our public lands.

    About Shannon:

    Shannon Furniss is the marketing director at Xplorer Maps and the president of Missoula-based communications/marketing firm, Market Interactives. She enjoys hiking in national parks and feels lucky to live in Montana, a state with two amazing parks.


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