How Keen Helped Me Through My Exciting — and Terrifying — Mohonk Mountain Experience

I’m not foreign to strenuous hikes, but I’ve never been on one as aggressive as my recent Upstate New York adventure.

I drove to the Mohonk Preserve in New Paltz on Friday and completed the roughly 5.5-mile hike overlooking the stunning Mohonk Mountain House (which turned into a journey upwards of 7 miles, thanks to taking the wrong trail and having to do a lot of backtracking). The most treacherous part of the trek, dubbed the Labyrinth, is riddled with complicated rock scrambles and is highlighted by the famed Lemon Squeeze: a steep climb approaching the mountain top through a tight crevice that’s certainly not for the claustrophobic.

Lemon Squeeze Mohonk Preserve
Making my way through Mohonk Preserve’s famed Lemon Squeeze.
CREDIT: Peter Verry

Prior to the trip, I read what was required to complete the hike from several people who have conquered the Labyrinth, and was surprised to see not everyone recommended proper hiking footwear. After making my way to the top, I can assure you that it’s a disservice to wear anything but a good light hiker.

The boot I wore on the excursion was the Keen Aphlex, which is out now and retails for $160.

Keen Aphlex Waterproof Boot

Keen Aphlex Waterproof Boot (Men’s), $160; keenfootwear.com
Keen Aphlex Waterproof Boot (Women’s), $160 $109.99; keenfootwear.com

Aside from how well the boots kept my ankles supported during the hike — something that was frequently on my mind as I drove to the mountain — I was most impressed with the grip from the Aphlex’s outsole. It features a multidirectional lug pattern that gripped the smooth, slick rocks throughout the trek.

The cushioning provided by the Aphlex’s dual density EVA midsole is also worth noting. The midsole was soft enough to flex around the rocks, but not soft to the point of feeling their jagged edges with each step. Also, my feet weren’t throbbing and in pain when the trip was over, which was a plus.

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