Zipping along through the Gold Creek Wilderness Study Area in Oregon, Len and I drove past a roadside tree and then looked at looked at each other quizzically. “We’re those shoes?” we asked in unison. “Let’s turn around!”
Pulling off the road, we saw perhaps a hundred pairs of shoes had been slug up into the tree. Almost all of them tennis shoes, most of them nice. Mind you, we’re in the middle of nowhere. Someone would have to drive a long way out here—on purpose.
A bit of internet research reveals that slinging shoes over telephone pole lines could mean anything from exuberance at passing a sexual milestone, to gangs marking their territorial boundaries. I also learned that the Southwest has a similar practice of placing boots upside down on fenceposts by the side of a road. And in the military, some soldiers pitch their boots over wires when leaving a post. But I didn’t find a single thing about slinging shoes into a tree. Particularly a tree in the middle of nowhere.
If you’ve pitched your shoes in a similar manner, why?