Gee, almost forgot to mention — SNEWS® participated post-Outdoor Retailer show in a media trip to Catalina Island sponsored by W.L. Gore to test new XCR (Extended Comfort Range) fabrics in both shoes by Salomon and some soft-shell jackets. Only problem was, SoCal was having a dry warm spell. Wasn’t a drop of rain or nary a wet spot in sight. So here we all are, trooping along on a night hike when we spot a small muddy puddle. Before you could say “Windstopper,” all feet on deck were trying to squish around in the poor littl’ puddl’ to see if the XCR in the shoes worked. Conclusion: It did. At least for a few seconds of puddle-standing and mud-squishing. Of course, a couple of journalists — Backpacker’s Dennis Lewon and Trailrunner’s Lisa Jhung — found that a dip in the chilly Pacific, followed by a rooftop Jacuzzi was the best test — unfortunately the XCR didn’t come along. Now, THAT woulda been a wear-test!