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Today's hike will just be the two of us.  We'll be testing two different day packs (Tom Bihn Buzz, Nalgene Swift), the Nalgene OTG bottle, and a pair of Julbo Dolgan sunglasses.  Both of us decided the Keen Taos would be fine for hiking around town since we didn't expect to be carrying much in our packs.

Finding parking, even on a Sunday morning, can be tricky on Boylston Street.  The restrictions are often confusing and sometimes contradictory...we found a spot which looked like we could stay for 2 hours between 11AM and 8PM, but from 6PM to 12 it is a Tow Zone.  It is unclear what happens between 6PM and 8PM??? 

Something was up on Boylston Street as there was a fairly visible Boston Police presence.  We were going to find out, but Carolyn's attention was diverted by Daisy and some of the other bovine sculptures along the sidewalk as we headed toward the Pru.

We found them all over the place...even inside.  The sculptures have been created to benefit the Jimmy Fund.  They will be on display around town until September 5th, 2006, and then they'll be auctioned off to those who will pay the highest moo-ney for them (sorry).  A perfect UrbanHike activity!

The Buzz is pretty easy to wear even when loaded.  The obvious advantage of a sling bag is the weight is distributed across the body when worn.

The Nalgene Swift is a much smaller pack designed mainly for cycling.  We like the small size of both packs for these short outings.  The shape of the Swift allows for free movement of the arms when on a bike. 

The freedom of movement was also appreciated when Carolyn decided to go in search of pandas amongst the Pru's various indoor bamboo groves.  Alas, no pandas were sighted during the course of this outing.

One additional feature of the Swift is the insulating layer between the water bladder and the wearer's body.  We didn't fill it with an ice cold liquid this time out, but we'll test the insulating abilities of the pack on our next outing.

A few more cows were spotted out in the garden. 

After a morning of walking around, we are happy to report that the Nalgene Swift and Tom Bihn Buzz packs were just the right size for UrbanHiking.  The Swift pack can easily accommodate a small notebook, keys, credit cards, cell phone, and some food.  The integrated bladder will carry about 2 liters of water.

The Buzz was a little larger and could carry a bit more, including a water bottle.  The Nalgene OTG bottle, like the Swift camelback, was designed for biking use, but fit perfectly into the side pocket of the Buzz.  The OTG will leak if rest on it side, but we had no problems with that on this outing.  We really like it for the quick-flip top and integrated pull.

The Julbo Dolgan sunglasses looked like they were designed for expeditions to mountain summits.  However, their wrap-around features were also perfect for hiking around the city.  The side shields were especially helpful on bright sunny days like today... even for less challenging activities such as sitting outside at a cafe reading the morning paper.

We spent the morning out at the patio area with the Sunday Globe and some iced coffee.  The temperature was starting to climb and it is expected to get over 90º before the day is done.  We will be inside well before then... probably a good day for a movie.  Maybe Fast&Furious:Tokyo Drift...we are going mainly to see if we can spot our friend Junko.

We didn't have time to take the ride to the top of the Prudential Tower.  Next time we'll head to the Top Of The Hub for a look around.  We hear the restaurant is pretty good :-)




City Hikes 2006

Pru Garden

By Wan Chi Lau

and Carolyn Donovan


We've decided to do things differently on RainyDaySports in 2006: instead of doing individual FirstUse reviews for each piece of gear, we'll be taking a bunch of gear with us on planned outings and reviewing them as a group.

This weekend's outing is a Sunday hike in to the outdoor garden of one of downtown Boston's most famous buildings, the Prudential Tower.

The outdoor garden was installed a few years ago to replace the long-defunct skating rink.  The rink, which was built at the same time as the Pru, ceased operations almost immediately, because the builders situated the skating rink such that the reflection from the windows of Boston's first true skyscraper constantly melted the ice. Something about a southern exposure...

The renovation also included a new glass enclosed conservatory-like shopping area.


Spring Outing:

1. The Gear

2. The Onyx Hotel

3. Hiking the North End

         The Freedom Trail

         Faneuil Hall


         The neighborhood


Winter Outing:

1. The Gear

2. Heading to Jackson

3. The Inn

4. The Outing


Photography by Wan Chi Lau
Rainy Day Magazine is a Publication of Rainy Day Entertainment Group © 2006