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Summer’s ending flurry of fun

August 16, 2014

Neck and neck turkey racing at the Orange County Fair

Yes, these runners are barefoot!

Our county fair ended last weekend, but not before I snuck over for a quick afternoon of agricultural nostalgia, including a new attraction: turkey racing. I was glad to see they had not imprisoned the running birds in any kind of “high performance” or “protective” footwear.

footprint near eviction site

This print has a special meaning to me; I was able to hike a short loop trail near the 1875 eviction site in Temecula, where People who had lived with the land for thousands of years were rounded up and removed, since they could not prove via paper deeds that they had a claim to the land. Here are a few more images from there:

buckwheat and grape leaves

The morning sun lit up the California buckwheat (foreground) and wild grape (back right) so fabulously. My little pocket camera did not do it justice, but we tried . . .

tarweed from under

The tarweeds are Calfornia native wildflowers that I especially admire for their ability to bloom and look cheerful at the end of summer, in the hottest, driest time of the year.

thrasher temecula

A Crissal thrasher . . . a creature I had not yet seen before. In Orange County we have California thrashers, which lack the reddish “undertail covert or crissum.” In fact, I had thought this was a common California towhee (“old rusty-butt”), but then I spotted that fabulous curved bill.

oak at temecula creek

Great oaks . . . it always awes me to think of all the creatures they have watched go by in their hundreds of years of planted life.

While in Temecula, I also was able to hike a short ways up the Dripping Springs trail just south of town on Hwy. 79. Not much water, but excellent views out over the valley, and a fluffy velvet ant (really a wingless wasp) in my foot vicinity. Yeah, yeah, I know these critters are nicknamed “cowkillers” for their excruciating sting. But that’s why I hike with my eyes open . . . and I haven’t stepped on a stinging critter yet . . . 

velvet ant and toes

Moving from Temecula back to the Orange County foothills . . . there are fine oaks here too, and good folks who enjoy hiking out to see them, like this group in Baker Canyon last week on an Irvine Ranch Conservancy sunset hike.

baker canyon hiking group

Back to my more familiar trails . . . I’ve had some good runs in my Santiago Oaks-Barham Ridge-Irvine Park network lately. The summer dust is soft, and the rocks are kind this time of year (for some reason, right after rains the rocks seem much more angular). This morning I saw a multi-pointed buck (no photo, just a breath of admiration), and tiny lizard babies out in force.

As always, I try to pick up whatever trash I find . . . except when it presents itself in cozy situations such as this:

trash in poison oak

Those excruciatingly delicate multi-colored leaves are poison oak, so I had to leave this nasty plastic crap under the oak where some excruciatingly idiotic person tossed it. I keep meaning to purchase (and hike with) and telescoping trash picker . . . just for situations like this. 

So it’s back to teaching on Monday . . . what an adventure-filled summer. I had to bail on my 50k race, but still have hopes that one of these days, my body will tell me “let’s go” and I can enjoy an ultra run. In the meantime: I am running 60-90 minutes (up and down hills) easily, shoelessly. That’s a lot to be thankful for . . . 

Enter the “velfie”

August 7, 2014

During this morning’s run up and down Barham Ridge (between Irvine Park and Santiago Oaks Regional Park), my mind was doing its usual wandering, and a word floated into my consciousness: “velfie.”  I thought about it, came up with a formal-ish definition, and jotted down my ideas when I got home.

Definition: (Noun.) A video selfie. A video of any length that is taken by the subject of the video. It is a mix of first person and third person point of view, accomplished by extending the camera away from the body (either via arm or hand-held tripod). The camera may also be attached to to the body (or piece of sports equipment such as bicycle or surfboard) to make an “action velfie.”  Whether it is allowable to extend the third person viewpoint by setting the camera on the ground or in a tree is currently a velfie gray area.Numbers attached to the word velfie indicate how many other people were involved in the production; a pure “velfie 1″ will involve only the subject of the video for ALL aspects of filming and editing (including music).

When I had a chance to google it, I discovered I had NOT invented this word. Oh well . . . I had fun imagining myself as a neologist for a few brief shining moments.

 

toes and cottonwood leaf

This is NOT a velfie since it is not a video. It’s just one more addition to my extensive repertoire of foot selfies . . . hmmm . . . I guess I should come up with a new word for that, too. Footelfie? Selfootsie? Selfooto?

I’m getting hooked on making these velfie critters . . . as long as they’re about barefoot running. Here is a link to my shortest velfie (shot last Thanksgiving season after a rare local rain): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xAnWFAV4KQ

My YouTube channel has more: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVy21IXp-3Mo3lQPAJ4g4mg

 

Not a selfie, but a nice reminder of the fun I had recently at Big Pine Creek with my grandchildren.

Not a velfie or selfie, but a nice reminder of the barefoot fun I had recently at Big Pine Creek with my grandchildren.

Another hike, another foot-selfie.

Big Pine Creek waterfall: another hike, another foot-selfie.

Happy trails . . .  May all your velfies be barefoot ones!

Barefoot Hiking above 10,000 feet (3048 m) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada’s Little Lakes Valley

July 26, 2014

We recently spent a few days camping along Rock Creek in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. The Little Lakes Valley trail was drier than I’ve seen in the past, but there was still a beautiful wildflower display. Who needs hiking boots?

Here’s my “YouTube tribute”:

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=AeiqBy7kdnI

And some more photos from a blessed time in the mountains:

July's "supermoon" made for a "supermoonrise" over Lake Crowley.

July’s “supermoon” made for a “supermoonrise” over Lake Crowley (barely visible, left side of photo).

Wild! Flowers!

Wild! Flowers!

The Little Lakes Valley trail starts at 10,500 feet in elevation . . . and continues to head (gently) up to a series of . . . little lakes, like this mountain mirror.

The Little Lakes Valley trail starts at 10,500 feet in elevation . . . and continues to head (gently) up to a series of . . . little lakes, like this mountain mirror.

This eastern view at sunset (looking toward the White Mountains) was as fabulous as a sunrise.

This eastern view at sunset (looking toward the White Mountains) was as fabulous as a sunrise.

The French Camp campground (just up the road from Tom's Place) is full of streamside seats like this.

The French Camp campground (off Highway 395, just up the road from Tom’s Place) is full of streamside seats like this.

To sit and warm my toes at the campfire at the end of a day of high Sierra hiking . . . now that's my idea of a vacation.

To sit and warm my toes at the campfire at the end of a day of high Sierra hiking . . . now that’s my idea of a vacation.

 

 

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 :)

 

 

 

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