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The Barefoot Wandering Never Gets Old

September 1, 2014

Like this coyote I’ve run into the last few mornings crossing Santiago Creek at sunrise, I also seem to be a creature of habit. 

coyote crossing Santiago Creek in Irvine Park

While the hills around Irvine Park are his home, and he needs to make his daily rounds to find food and water, I suppose I could live without my 2-3-times-a-week adventures on these trails . . . but I would surely, quickly, succumb to what Richard Louv calls “Native Deficit Disorder.” 

So, like coyote, I roam these hills looking for sustenance. Here’s a few photos of what feeds my soul as my soles delight in feeling God’s splendid creation:

The sprinklers at Irvine Park  got over-zealous this week, resulting in a few short-lived puddles. Of course I had fun posing my toes in them . . .

The sprinklers at Irvine Park got over-zealous this week, resulting in a few short-lived puddles. Of course I had fun posing my toes in them . . .

Barefoot in a puddle

The angle you view the world from makes all the difference . . . here, it’s the conventional “oh, look down, there’s a puddle, let’s take a foot-selfie” view.

But . . . when I got down low with my camera, and trusted it to record something new, this is the photo that surprised and delighted me when I got home.

But . . . when I got down low with my camera, and trusted it to record something new, this is the photo that surprised and delighted me when I got home.

Where there's puddles . . . there's mud . . . a rare and welcome feeling at the end of dry August.

Where there’s puddles . . . there’s mud . . . a rare and welcome feeling at the end of dry August.

This blog has a fan who appreciates my obsession with bare footprint photos; this one's for you, friend :)

This blog has a follower who appreciates my obsession with bare footprint photos; this one’s for you, friend :)

The combination of trail dust and early light inspired this image.

The combination of trail dust and early light inspired this image.

My #2 toes hang out past the big toe, resulting in  occasional stubs like this one last week.  They throb and bleed for a bit, clog up with dust, and heal pretty quick . . . a small price to pay for the hours and miles of shoe-less trail fun.

My #2 toes hang out past the big toe, resulting in occasional stubs like this one last week. They throb and bleed for a bit, clog up with dust, and heal pretty quick . . . a small price to pay for the hours and miles of shoe-less trail fun.

This bit of the  (extensive!) warning sign at the foot of the Chutes trail creates a sort of "found poetry."

This bit of the (extensive!) warning sign at the foot of the Chutes trail creates a sort of “found poetry.”

I wish the signs warned of this much more common trail danger: groups of big-booted hikers and their packs of un-leashed dogs. When the dogs rushed at me ("oh, don't worry, he's just wants a sniff"), it threw me off balance and I tripped and stubbed my whole foot.  GRRR!!!

I wish the signs warned of this much more common trail danger: groups of big-booted hikers and their packs of un-leashed dogs. When the dogs rushed at me (“oh, don’t worry, he’s just wants a sniff”), it threw me off balance and I tripped and stubbed my whole foot.
GRRR!!! (And PS: Hikers . . . why the high-ankled boots? You’re not carrying a pack, the trails are not that rough, and until your dogs tripped me, I was having a smoothly good time running on them without arch or ankle support . . . )

 

Just writing that last caption got my dander up again . . . time to take a few deep breaths and go for a run.

Just writing that last caption got my dander up again . . . time to take a few deep breaths and go for a run.

Today's winner of "beautiful plants that bloom with no rain for five months" :  Long stem buckwheat

This week’s winner of the award for “beautiful California native plants that bloom with no rain for five months” :
Long stem buckwheat

Happy (more coyote and fewer dog) Trails!

 

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/

 

 

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