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Leave no trace?

July 18, 2014
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: what part of "leave no trace" do people not understand?

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: what part of “leave no trace” do people not understand? I picked up 27 pieces of trash during this morning’s run up and around Barham Ridge. Sigh.

Oh to move through the hills as easily as this mule deer I enjoyed watching this morning. I am not a deer, alas, and (double alas) my old nemesis left-knee-pain re-appeared about 1.5 hours into my hilly run. (Mumble grumble back to the physical therapist's on Monday.)

Oh, to move through the hills as easily as this morning’s mule deer. I am not a deer, alas, and (double alas) my old nemesis left-knee-pain re-appeared about 1.5 hours into my hilly run. (Mumble grumble back to the physical therapist’s on Monday.)

New Video: A SoCal Summer Barefoot Trail Run

July 10, 2014

I went for a “quick run” this morning that turned into a fun video session . . . inspired by a recent iMovie tutorial by a family friend, I spent waaaay too much time today editing the short clips into some semblance of order.

Check out my newest festival of horse manure: http://youtu.be/p3pAMXzmTbA

Me and my little Canon pocket camera . . .

Me and my little Canon pocket camera . . .

My “Joys of Barefoot Trail Running” essay just posted on Barefoot Beginner

July 3, 2014
Happy (poppy) trails!

Happy (poppy) trails!

I couldn’t find a “re-blog” button on the post . . . so . . . here’s the link:

http://www.barefootbeginner.com/2014/07/03/the-joys-of-barefoot-trail-running/

 

 

32 miles barefoot hiking/running below the Rim at the Grand Canyon . . . but I never made it across

June 27, 2014

I just returned from a wonderful two weeks at the Grand Canyon . . . the first ten days at the South Rim for an intensive Wilderness First Responder certification course (80 hours of combined classroom and practice) and the final days at the North Rim for some unwinding time–that class was tough!

Every day we had to learn how to deal with all kinds of back country medical emergencies . . . such as the spine injury portrayed here by fellow class member Greg, immobilized on a back board and ready to be placed in a litter for transport.

 

I am now officially a "Woofer" -- a Wilderness First Responder: WFR-er.

I am now officially a WFR (pronounced “Woofer”).

Sure all the classroom work and learning was fun--but--what "made" my week was being able to wake up early and hit the Bright Angel Trail for 3-6 miles of Canyon therapy.

Sure all the classroom work and learning was fun–but–what “made” my week was being able to wake up early and hit the Bright Angel Trail for 3-6 miles of Canyon therapy.

Oh-dark-thirty at the Bright Angel Trailhead. There's the faintest of light on the horizon . . . it's not quite 5 am.

Oh-dark-thirty at the Bright Angel Trailhead. There’s the faintest of light on the horizon . . . it’s not quite 5 am.

The sixth day we had a break in classroom time . . . so I headed down the Bright Angel trail to Indian Gardens, about five miles each way.

The sixth day we had a break in classroom time . . . so I headed down the Bright Angel trail to Indian Gardens, about 4.5 miles each way (along with a 3,000 feet change in elevation each way).

My dusty footprint on the Bright Angel Trail--the mule-hoof and foot traffic have pulverized the trail surface into a mostly smooth ride (except for the many log and rock steps). It's a nice surface to be barefoot on--just a bit steep at times.

My dusty footprint on the Bright Angel Trail–the mule-hoof and foot traffic have pulverized the trail surface into a mostly smooth ride (except for the many log and rock steps). It’s a nice surface to be barefoot on–just a bit steep at times.

In my two weeks of hiking and wandering, this was my "worst" injury . . . I stepped on a smooth rock, mid-trail, that was covered in a fine layer of slippery dust, causing me to slide down its face and catch one toe-nail. The bleeding stopped in less than a minute, and I continued on . . . paying a bit more attention to potentially slippery surfaces.

In my two weeks of hiking and wandering, this was my “worst” injury . . . I stepped on a smooth rock, mid-trail, that was covered in a fine layer of slippery dust, causing me to slide down its face and catch one toe-nail. The bleeding stopped in less than a minute, and I continued on . . . paying a bit more attention to potentially slippery surfaces.

Of course I had fun taking "foot selfies" along the Bright Angel Trail . . . a weird hobby, for sure :)

Of course I had fun taking “foot selfies” along the Bright Angel Trail . . . a weird hobby, for sure :)

Just a few more . . .

Just a few more . . .

Notice how the rocks are the same color as my skin . . . I am becoming lithic . . .

Notice how the rocks are the same color as my skin . . . I am becoming lithic . . .

After the class ended, I headed to the North Rim for some time away from the crowds. This is how I spent my 55th birthday: running and hiking barefoot 5.5 miles down the North Kaibab Trail to the Pump House (near Roaring Springs).

After the class ended, I headed to the North Rim for some time away from the crowds. This is how I spent my 55th birthday: running and hiking barefoot 5.5 miles down the North Kaibab Trail to the Pump House (near Roaring Springs).

After three dry winters, there are fewer seeps along the trail; this one is still refreshingly wet.

After three dry winters, there are fewer seeps along the trail; this one is still refreshingly wet.

Lots of elevation change along the 5.5 mile trail from the North Kaibab trailhead to the Pumphouse: 3,641 feet, to be exact.

Lots of elevation change along the 5.5 mile trail from the North Kaibab trailhead to the Pumphouse: 3,641 feet, to be exact.

Soaking my feet in the chilly waters of Bright Angel Creek was fabulously refreshing, but I couldn't linger . . . it was only 8 am, but the temperature was hot and getting hotter.

Soaking my feet in the chilly waters of Bright Angel Creek was fabulously refreshing, but I couldn’t linger . . . it was only 8 am, but the temperature was hot and getting hotter.

There is nothing like hiking in the shadow of an umbrella to make the desert heat bearable. Mine is from GoLite: http://www.golite.com/Chrome-Dome-Trekking-Umbrella-P928.aspx

There is nothing like hiking in the shadow of an umbrella to make the desert heat bearable. Mine is from GoLite: http://www.golite.com/Chrome-Dome-Trekking-Umbrella-P928.aspx

My hubby met me about a mile from the trailhead; it was around 11 am, and the ground was toasty, so I jogged from shadow to shadow and waited for him to catch up. This is the only photo of the bunch I didn't take . . . and . . . note my umbrella is now strapped to my little pack. After reaching the Supai Tunnel, I knew I was going to "make it" without succumbing to heat stroke (a very real danger I had just learned about in my WFR class). This upper mile + of the North Kaibab consists of much-pulverized dust, thanks to the frequent mule trains. Gotta love the poof dust!

My hubby met me about a mile from the trailhead; it was around 11 am, and the ground was toasty, so I jogged from shadow to shadow and waited for him to catch up. This is the only photo of the bunch I didn’t take . . . and . . . note my umbrella is now strapped to my little pack. After reaching the Supai Tunnel, I knew I was going to “make it” without succumbing to heat stroke (a very real danger I had just learned about in my WFR class). This upper mile + of the North Kaibab consists of much-pulverized dust, thanks to the frequent mule trains. Gotta love the poof dust!

Until next time . . . I miss the Canyon already . . .

Until next time . . . I miss the Canyon already . . .

 

So my total mileage “below the rim” was 32 for the two weeks . . . I would have liked to gone Rim-to-Rim, but it’s just too hot at the bottom of the Canyon right now. So I enjoyed my time on the upper Bright Angel trail in the early morning hours before class, and then my birthday trek down the North Kaibab Trail (and all of it sans shoes, except for one hour on the North Kaibab, when I had a moment of indecision about my ability to hike up from Roaring Springs through the rocks and heat and put on a pair of sandals, which irritated my feet and my psyche and came off PDQ).

Happy Barefoot Birthday Trails to Me :)

 

 

 

Another race, another cancellation, another approach

June 5, 2014

Last November I entered two trail races: a half-marathon in April, and a 50k in June. When heel pain struck, I cancelled the first race, but was able to run 12 miles on my own just a few weeks later. It was fabulous to trot along for three hours, taking a few wildflower pictures here and there, carrying my hiking poles like spears when I wasn’t heading up a hill, just lightly drifting through my favorite local foothills. And the race organizers were kind and agreed to credit my entry fee for one of the their races later this year.

As the June 7 race approached, and May continued with one busy day after another, my back went into spasm (and old trick it’s played for almost 15 years . . . too much sitting followed by intense physical labor in the garden = back spasm). So I emailed another kind race director, who also said I could apply my entry to another of his races. I wish I could say I ran 50k soon after that, but I have only run once, a brief-and-easy 40 minutes a few days ago. It felt OK, but after running, it was pretty tight and a bit sore still.

So . . . today I had my first Feldenkrais session, and I’m optimistic that this continued focus (a year of Pilates has been so helpful) on being aware of my body and movements is a good next step toward my life-time goal of running until I’m 100 (or am invited to dinner by a mountain lion).

It’s been a strange spring, personally and weather-wise, with a late rain bringing just enough moisture to conjure up a few wildflowers in our wild Orange County hills. I found mud, which is always a great barefoot experience, and which always cheers me up.

It’s dusty June now . . . my next goal is . . . hike/run across the Grand Canyon (sans shoes, of course) later this month. I walked/limped across (no shoes, but my knee hurt anyway) in 14 hours over two days for 23 miles, North Rim to South Rim, North Kaibab to Bright Angel trails, in lovely rain the first day. That was in October 2012; the limiting factor this time of year is the heat. I would have to leave pretty early in the morning to get to the other side before the ground surface gets too warm for comfort (maybe leave at 3 am; it will be light not too long after that). We’ll see how the weather shapes up; I’ll be at the Canyon anyway, and  besting my 14-hour/2-day PR is not my highest priority. Just being at the Canyon is enough . . .

And now for some “make-up” photos from the last couple of months (these will be the last from my Canon pocket camera . . . RIP . . . I dropped it once too many times):

A late rain = the last mud of the season.  Toe much fun!

A late rain = the last mud of the season. Toe much fun!

Here's a response to the nice comment on a previous post . . . someone out there likes my footprint photos . . . thanks . . . I like to make these images . . .

Here’s a response to the nice comment on a previous post . . . someone out there likes my footprint photos . . . thanks . . . I like to make these images . . .

A tiny bloomer . . . rattlesnake weed along the trail.

A tiny bloomer . . . rattlesnake weed along the trail.

These shiny guys like to cross the trails . . . but sometimes get squashed by mountain bike tires. Go, bug, go.

These shiny guys like to cross the trails . . . but sometimes get squashed by mountain bike tires. Go, bug, go.

Prolific this year: wishbone flowers all over the local hills.

Prolific this year: wishbone flowers all over the local hills.

Less common this year, but always welcome: sticky monkey flower (the best name ever).

Less common this year, but always welcome: sticky monkey flower (the best name ever).

One of my favorite California wildflower + leaf combos + early morning light combos: thick-leaved yerba santa (and it smells like fruit punch, and the leaves are fruity-spicy to chew while running).

One of my favorite California wildflower + leaf + early morning light combos: thick-leaved yerba santa (it smells like fruit punch, and the leaves are fruity-spicy to chew while running).

The eastern hills of Orange County on a May morning.

The eastern hills of Orange County on a May morning.

Last month, golden stars lit up the Orange County trails.

Last month, golden stars lit up the Orange County trails.

Bare feet and deer prints in the dust.

Bare feet and deer prints in the dust.

We had such a heat wave that this Cooper's hawk spent ten minutes gulping water from our backyard bird bath . . . the wild comes to us . . .

We had such a heat wave that this Cooper’s hawk spent ten minutes gulping water from our backyard bird bath . . . the wild comes to us . . .

Mule deer are rare enough here that each sighting feels like a gift. Does this deer feel the same way about people sightings?

Mule deer are rare enough here that each sighting feels like a gift. Does this deer feel the same way about people sightings?

This monarch landed on our window screen recently  . . . the original "stained glass window."

This monarch landed on our window screen recently . . . the original “stained glass window” effect.

The season's snow substitute: willow fluff.

So Cal’s summer snow substitute: willow fluff.

Happy June trails . . . it’s time to run . . .

 

 

 

The Ultimate Mommy Brain

May 9, 2014

theagavin:

What a great Mother’s Day present — to have my feet featured in this blog post by my fabulous daughter :)

Originally posted on Tina Davidson:

By: Tina Davidson

Have you heard of the phenomenon, “Mommy brain“?

Mom's dirty feet

Did mommy brain ever cause you to forget your shoes?

Mommy brain can make multitasking difficult and your brain seem slower.  I know I’ve experienced it.  When I had little children, my priority was their survival.  I noticed simple tasks, like fixing a meal, required much more brain power than usual.  Thankfully, my sons are past the stages of needing around-the-clock feeding and diaper changes, so I am no longer stuck in mommy brain mode.

My sons are old enough to remind me that Mother’s Day is approaching, but not old enough to think it is uncool to make cards with hearts and write, “I love you, Mom. You are the best!”

What mother in history could be considered the best?

I wonder what the criteria would be to have more than your own children nominate you…

View original 626 more words

Springing Past Injury

March 30, 2014

I was aiming at my first barefoot (actually, first EVER) half marathon trail race last weekend. A twinge in my left heel/ankle prompted me to cancel my entry (but the nice folks at Into the Wild OC Trail Runs are allowing me to use my entry fee at one of their races later in the year).

So I didn’t run for three weeks . . . until my (already-scheduled) next visit to my amazing doctor of physical therapy two days ago. He checked things out, said it was just scar tissue acting up, treated my grateful limbs with his excellent hands-on work, and told me to get back to running . . . plus three sets of thirty calf raises every day.

Alrighty then.  Thirty-mile trail race in June, here I come.

I’ve read enough books and blogs to know that I’m not the only one who gets a bit cranky during those dark days of non-running. Now all is bunnies and flowers and fragrant sage again.

Irvine Park has a few bloomers following late February's brief deluge; here is a fabulous wild hyacinth (Dichelostema capitatum).

Irvine Park has a few bloomers following late February’s brief deluge; here is a fabulous wild hyacinth (Dichelostema capitatum).

 

Now that there's finally some green, the bunnies are out and nibbling.

Now that there’s finally some green, the bunnies are out and nibbling.

Mmmmm . . . the smell of black sage along the trail . . . aroma therapy for the weary runner.

Mmmmm . . . the smell of fresh-sprouting black sage along the trail . . . aroma therapy for the weary runner.

Poison oak is showing off fabulously shiny new growth as well.

Poison oak is showing off fabulously shiny new growth as well.

Along yesterday's running route: many white splotch reminders that I missed the half marathon over my favorite trails last weekend. Sigh. I did not want to be one of "those" runners who ignore what their body is telling them, run anyway, and end up with more problems. But it was still bitter-sweet to think I might have been able to run last weekend. All of this mental anguish is a good argument against entering races when my main running goal (and why I love barefoot running) is. To. Have. Fun.

Along yesterday’s running route: many white splotch reminders that I missed the half marathon over my favorite trails last weekend. Sigh. I did not want to be one of “those” runners who ignore what their body is telling them, run anyway, and end up with more problems. But it was still bitter-sweet to think I might have been able to run last weekend. All of this mental anguish is a good argument against entering races when my main running goal (and why I love barefoot running) is: To. Have. Fun.

How our coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) grow: one red sprout at a time.

How our coast live oaks (Quercus agrifolia) grow: one red sprout at a time.

Nightshade blossoms liven up the path through The Willows at Irvine Park.

Nightshade blossoms liven up the path through The Willows at Irvine Park.

There's some fine phacelia in bloom in The Willows as well.

There’s some fine phacelia in bloom in The Willows as well.

Before the rain: all the coastal sage scrub community drops its leaves and goes drought-deciduous.

Before the rain: all the coastal sage scrub community drops its leaves and goes drought-deciduous (photo from November 2013).

Some winter rain, and spring brings the fat leaves back.

Some winter rain, and spring brings the fat leaves back to the white sage (Salvia apiana).

Even the California sagebrush (Artemisia californica)  is looking fluffy again.

Even the California sagebrush (Artemisia californica) is looking fluffy again.

And don't get me started on the beauty of mule fat (Baccharis salicifolia) in bloom. This bee agrees!

And don’t get me started on the beauty of mule fat (Baccharis salicifolia) in bloom. This bee agrees!

It’s Spring . . . time to celebrate the “real” new year . . . here’s a poem for the occasion (published in the January/February issue of the OC-CNPS newsletter)

New Year in the Santa Ana Mountains
Two weeks after late
    December rain,
what was long parched
    now softens into life—
tight seed coats are shrugged off
    and cotyledon
choirs harmonize
    in gold-green song.
This whisper of an overture
    electrifies
the bees and me; we buzz
    with plans to dance in
the chaparralian Wild Flower New Year.

 

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