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“How are you Mariposa Lily?” (reblogged from the “Califlora” blog)

July 22, 2015

I just came across this lovely blog by another Orange County native plant lover . . . and I was so excited to find my poem (which appears in the introduction to most-excellent botany guide “Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains“) republished here:  “How are you Mariposa Lily?” (a line from my poem . . . it feels so “official” to be quoted!) is the title of the blog post about these beautiful flowers.

Happy flower-filled trails!

Stunning (and rare!) intermediate mariposa lilies are a-bloom at the top of Barham Ridge.

Stunning (and rare!) intermediate mariposa lilies in May bloom at the top of Barham Ridge (between Irvine Park and Santiago Oaks).

Barefoot Running . . . Fantasy vs. Reality

July 21, 2015
barefoot running under oaks

Fact or fiction: I can run like this all day . . .

When I first began my barefoot wanderings, in January of 2010, my focus, goal, aim, hope, extremely wishful thinking . . . was that this latest experiment would be the key to solving the ongoing mystery of my lifelong running injuries (having tried all kinds of physical therapies, strengthening programs, rooster comb injections, acupuncture, massage, ART, ice, heat, icy-heat, and an assortment of support devices including bands, straps, sleeves, and $500 orthotics).

Not so much.

Every time I get to the point where I can run 60-90 minutes (on trails! up and down stuff!), my body busts out a new area of pain; lately, it’s been my right hip, so much so that for a few days last week even walking was unpleasant . . . and “nature hiking” has always been my activity of last resort to keep sane in busy Southern California.

Arrghh . . . that’s right . . . in spite of the cheery tone of this blog, running for the last couple of weeks/months has been an agonizingly futile attempt to string together a succession of a hundred yards of steps that are quicker than walking, but then. The. Pain.

The words of a physical therapist from many years ago come to mind, again and always: “What is your injury trying to tell you?”

When I first heard those words back in 2004, I was ticked. It seemed to me he was trying to politely say, “Just give up. The pain is not getting better, so quit running and live with it.”

So, of course, I found another PT, and kept trying to get back to running (always walking walking walking in the meantime).

Now, after some digging around on the internet (last month the doctor said it was my psoas, so I had to look that up), I’ve discovered ideas about pain and our bodies that have me completely re-thinking the question, “What is your injury trying to tell you?”

Of course I’ve been working on my running form all these years–running without shoes makes that critical–but now I’m going a bit deeper, and learning to listen to what my body might be trying to tell me about the places (present AND past) that hurt.

I’m deeply grateful to my “team” of wonder-working body workers, and am happy that a lifetime of fun running seems possible again . . . beginning with yesterday’s lovely, easy, hill-and-valley-ramble in Santiago Oaks Regional Park (85 degrees and humid at 6 pm . . . my favorite running weather!)

Will I ever accomplish my big dream of running all day? Maybe an off-road ultra-marathon?

I am learning all the time (working on my psoas ever day via “constructive rest”) but of course still have some work to do . . . especially now that I’ve discovered the field of “somatic archeology”; it looks like I have LOTS of listening ahead of me as I keep deciphering “what the pain is trying to tell me.”

In the meantime, happy trails, indeed!

At the end of yesterday's non-painful run: a happy splash through Santiago Creek . . .

At the end of yesterday’s non-painful run: a happy splash through Santiago Creek . . . no, I can’t run all day yet, but I continue to be grateful for the times I can run at all . . .

Life and death on July’s dusty trails

July 11, 2015

deer print and barefoot pring

The trails around Irvine Regional Park are prime for barefoot hiking/running right now, and the fine dust also creates excellent critter-records . . . here is tangible evidence of the bounding deer who was out of sight in two big bounds as I traveled through the delectable “Willows” network of trails this morning.

bunny on trail scratching nose

Unlike the jumpy deer, this bunny was so unperturbed by my presence that he stopped to do a bit of itching before racing me down the trail.

hummingbird at rest

Another critter that allowed me to gaze for a while: this lovely hummer high in a willow, who seemed to have no urgency to go about her humming life. Instead, she sat and sat and sat while I craned my neck to watch and watch and watch . . . hoping to learn something. I think I did:

The Unhummer

See how the hummingbird rests–

unhidden, no need

to be garden-busy,

no need to be other than

a branch tip, allowing

the wind its way, ignoring

another hummer’s whirling frenzy,

free to sit

at the willow tip

for as long as it takes

to appreciate her own

pleasant heart music.

dessicated wood rat under oak

One last gift of the trail from this morning’s wander: a dessicated wood rat under an ancient oak. Dropped by whom? When? Why?

What a fierce final scowl . . . what delicate, bone-bare feet . . . .

Shoeless Backpacking at Grand Canyon . . . A Hot Time, For Sure!

June 30, 2015

What a blessing . . . to shoelessly descend the North Kaibab Trail at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon!

barefoot silhouette grand canyon

What made the experience even better was that I had just finished a career-pinnacle moment: leading my first multi-day creative writing workshop! (Thank you Grand Canyon Field Institute for making this possible . . . and I can’t wait till June 17-19, 2016, when I will be facilitating a similar GCFI adventure.)

nature writing at Grand Canyon

!! I don’t usually use so many of these !! but !! it was that kind of week!!

My interior-tent-view of the Eureka brand "!" each morning.

My interior-tent-view of the Eureka brand “!” each morning.

We spent four days wandering the trails of the North Rim, stopping often to admire the wildflowers and creatures who make their home here.

white columbine at the North Rim

butterfly at North Rim

Penstemon North Rim

Fungi North Rim

lizard along the North Kaibab Trail

Lupine fields North Rim

When the workshop was over, I said “farewell” to my fellow writers, loaded up my pack with the bare minimum of gear, and took off down the North Kaibab Trail to spend one last night . . . below the rim . . . at Cottonwood Campground.

IMG_1199

With temperatures way over 100 degrees F in the inner canyon, I didn’t need much: just a light foam pad, a silk sleeping bag liner, and a bit of no-cooking-needed food. (Somehow I managed to come up with enough other stuff to get my pack up to 16 pounds. Water? The book I ended up not reading?)

This next photo shows the most essential piece of gear I own for hot-weather hiking: My awesome Golite Chrome Dome umbrella. (Or brolly, as the Brit thru-hiker Keith Foskett calls it.)

Resting at Roaring Springs pump-house residence

When the temps are life-threateningly hot, hikers need to “get over” any ideas about needing to look cool (figuratively, not literally), and just get their brolly on. I know I would not have chosen to hike into the summer-super-heated canyon in the middle of the day (note to hikers thinking about doing this . . . make sure you start at 4 am, not 8 am like I did . . . but I wanted to say “goodbye” to my writing peeps . . . ) without my moveable shadow.

bare feet and Redwall Bridge

Here I am at the bottom of the notorious switchbacks that begin after the Supai Tunnel. As the photo illustrates, the shade stops here at the Redwall Bridge.

What’s a barefooter to do? Put on some hiking sandals (my old faithful Merrell Pipidae Wraps) and keep on trekkin’ . . . and trekkin’ . . . until seven miles down the trail, Cottonwood Campground comes into view, along with its easy access to a dunking spot in Bright Angel Creek. At 1 pm on an excruciatingly toasty afternoon, plopping in the creek fully clothed seemed like the most logical thing to do.

taking a dunk in Bright Angel Creek

This refreshing dip was all I needed to get me energized to hike another mile-plus into the Canyon . . . to Ribbon Falls, where one can hike behind the waterfall at a place sacred to many people, but obviously not to the two shirtless young men who were passed out in the red dust next to suspicious-looking containers of some kind of (whiskey-ish?) liquid. I thought for a nano-second about photographing them (waterfall-desecration-shaming?) but turned my attention to the falling water instead.

behind Ribbon Falls

Unable to linger with knuckleheads so close by, I headed back down the rocky steps to find a more private dipping pool . . . which I thought I did, but I guess I did not realize the extent of the crazy maze of trails through boulders and brush that provide way too many ways through the small canyon (habitat fragmentation, anyone?).

So there I was, doing my own version of “passed out by falling water with few clothes on” . . . when all of a sudden I heard AND felt bodies dropping to the ground inches from my head. Yep. My dead-end spot next to a boulder was, actually, part of someone’s boulder-strewn path down canyon. (I could almost hear Coyote’s laughter as my anticipation of some kind of intensely-meaningful-experience-of-deep-insight at this ancient sacred place turned, instead, to a bit of embarrassment (go back and re-read what’s in bold) in front of rock-hopping strangers.

Then the thunder began, and as I looked up and realized the extent of the dark clouds building on the rim above the waterfall, I figured it might be intensely meaningful to get to a safer place just in case the summer monsoons had arrived. (They hadn’t. Oh well.)

All the inner canyon was in shade, though, thanks to the gray cloud cover, so I thought I’d leave my sandals off and hike the 1.4 miles back to Cottonwood barefoot. Holy heat wave, Batman! The ground was still too hot to touch, with hand or foot, so I got shod up and slowly (feeling like a wrinkly desert tortoise conserving energy) made my way back to camp.

After a gorgeous starry night, filled with the sounds and sights of creek-whisper, cricket-song, shooting stars, ants on my tummy, and bat wings inches from my face, I woke up when I smelled cigarette smoke (I had some really quiet but fiercely chain-smoking neighbors across the mesquite hedge in the next site) and figured the earlier the better to beat the heat on the way up and up (and out).

Dawn lights the sky early in these parts, soI never needed a headlamp, even though I was on the trail by 4:30 am.

prickly pear on north kaibab trail

barefoot backpacking on the North Kaibab Trail

Ahhh . . . the hike up . . . seven miles of barefoot fun with all kinds of ancient rocks greeting my toes with friendly massages the whole way.

barefoot on the North Kaibab Trail

Once or twice the trailside springs and seeps added a bit of muddy relief.

springs/seeps along the North Kaibab trail

Then . . . one reaches the Supai Tunnel (named after the rock formation that got blasted through to create it).

supai tunnel

It is a transition of magnitude, for all kinds of reasons, not the least being the fact that mules are not allowed below this point.

Which, to turn that thought around, means they ARE allowed above the tunnel, and the multiple mule trains a day grind the ancient sea-floor rocks to the finest, most delicate, superbly delightful, just plain poofy . . . dust.

(Dust which magically turns me feet the color of the canyon.)

red dust of north kaibab trail

Along with dust-manufacturing, the mules also create . . .

mule poo on the North Kaibab trailP

. . .  prodigious piles o’ poo.

The flies are happy about that, and have opened several five-star resorts in the summer-long cesspools of mule piss.

(Use your own olafactory imagination to provide a hint of the scent.)

barefoot print on the North Kaibab

(This photo is for one of my blog followers, who likes photos of barefoot prints, the providing of which I am happy to do.)

Rim-to-rim hikers always pose by the sign, below, for “documentation” of their exploits; while I had only hiked 8.4 miles into the Canyon (as far as Ribbon Falls), I posed by the trailhead sign anyway.

barefoot at the North kaibab trailhead

A flyer was taped to the sign . . . something about an “Excessive Heat Warning.”

IMG_1309

Uh, yeah . . . no one in their right mind should venture down into the Canyon when it’s this hot.

barefoot on the North Kaibab Trail

Maybe I was in my left mind?

I can’t wait to do it again . . .

Nothing’ but blue skies from now on?

June 20, 2015

After weeks of lovely “May gray” and “June gloom,” our sunny So Cal mornings are back, which means barefoot excursions need to be executed before the mid-day sun boils the trail dust.

santiago creek trail in santiago oaks

When the daybreak shade tunnels through the oaks give way to brilliant almost-summer sun . . . it’s a fine time for a barefoot adventure in Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

Clear morning light does give the wildflowers an extra shine, though. This encelia seems to know yoga.

Clear morning light does give the wildflowers an extra shine, though. This encelia seems to know yoga.

Ten years ago, this area was scorched in the Windy Ridge fire; I remember my first time back on this trail--Peralta Hills, Santiago Oaks Regional Park--and being stunned by the beauty of wishbone plants in bloom against the charcoal moonscape. Same trail, same blooming-in-tough-times beauty . . . from a descendent of the fire flowers.

Ten years ago, this area was scorched in the Windy Ridge fire; I remember my first time back on this trail–Peralta Hills, Santiago Oaks Regional Park–and being stunned by the beauty of wishbone plants in bloom against the charcoal moonscape. Same trail, same blooming-in-tough-times beauty . . . from a descendent of the fire flowers.

Not all is sunshine and roses--I mean wildflowers--aglow. Throughout my run, I kept noticing plastic trash sparkling amongst the native plants. Can you find the straw sticking out of the drink cup deep in the lemonade berries?

Not all is sunshine and roses–I mean wildflowers–aglow. Throughout my run, I kept noticing plastic trash sparkling amongst the native plants. Contrary to what the knucklehead might have thought when he/she chucked this cup, plastic trash does not magically disintegrate when someone throws it in a lemonade berry bush. These plants may have medicinal properties, but they can’t do that kind of magic . . .

And how the light lit up these tufts of rabbit fluff . . . evidence of survival drama?

And how the light lit up these tufts of rabbit fluff . . . evidence of survival drama in the night?

Every twist and turn of the trail led to morning glory--here an intricate spider web.

Every twist and turn of the trail led to morning glory–here an intricate spider web.

This hawk lit up the morning with his piercing call, which I'd love to transcribe and translate, but my hawk language skills are still limited.

This hawk lit up the morning with his piercing call, which I’d love to transcribe and translate, but my hawk language skills are still limited.

Another hawk? The same one? This one is easy to identify as a red tail . . . soaring nonchalantly over and past the power lines.

Another hawk? The same one? This one is easy to identify as a red tail . . . soaring nonchalantly over and past the ridgetop power lines.

And what blog post would be complete without the obligatory foot selfie? Here I illustrate the comfort of drying horse manure . . . or trail pillows, as my feet like to call it. Happy (poo-filled?) Trails! Summer is a-comin' . . .

And what blog post would be complete without the obligatory foot selfie? Here I illustrate the comfort of drying horse manure . . . or trail pillows, as my feet like to call it. Happy (poo-filled?) Trails! Summer is a-comin’ . . .

A Month of (Barefoot) Fun-days

June 13, 2015

May passed in a flash of work and family busy-ness; June work has lessened (but not evaporated).  Then there’s spending time with the six grandkids who are so much fun to hang out with . . . leaving me with challenging time choices.

In my fleeting free moments, I’d way rather go for a barefoot hike/run than sit at my computer and view/sort/select/crop/re-size photos for this blog . . . but today dawned unscheduled, quiet, with a nice “June gloom” layer of coastal low clouds to reassure me the trails will stay cool for barefoot running all day. (That’s an important summer consideration; early in my barefoot running days I ventured out at Peter’s Canyon around 3 pm on a July afternoon. Soon I was darting from one sage to the next, attempting to cool my soles along the trail, stupidly determined to complete my pre-determined loop around the wilderness park, stupidly ignoring the signals my feet were sending. I paid for it with an enormous–2″x3″–blister that kept me from running for a while. Now I try to plan my runs for when the trails will be comfortable: in summer, early or late; in winter, any time after the morning chill has dissipated.)

The following images are a mish-mash of early summer fun, keeping in mind my goal that this blog inspire folks to

1) get outside barefoot and enjoy themselves (barefoot. Barefoot-barefoot-barefoot. Did I mention barefoot?)

and

2) appreciate their own “local nature” . . .  if crowded Orange County, CA (pop. 3 million +) still has a lot of cool native plants & critters & “wildness” . . . I hope readers will want to discover what natural beauty their own home ground has to love and preserve.

May the following photos (and words) do that. (If nothing else, this blog has become the diary/journal I always wanted to create as a child, but never could quite keep going for more than a few entries: “Dear Diary, I don’t know what to write. Good-bye.” Now I have almost five years of words-and-images to cheer me up when trail-time is scarce.)

IMG_0848

The Acorn Trail connects the Pacific Crest Trail with the town of Wrightwood, CA. It's a bit rocky, but I was pleased to discover my feet felt fine as I walked up and jogged down one end-of-May morning.

The Acorn Trail connects the Pacific Crest Trail with the town of Wrightwood, CA. It’s a bit rocky, but I was pleased to discover my feet felt fine as I walked up and jogged down one end-of-May morning. (Running up it was pretty much out of the question for a flat-lander like me . . . the trailhead begins at about 6500 feet in elevation and gains 1500 feet in 2.1 miles.)

Why was I in Wrightwood hiking? I arrived early for the first-ever Wrightwood Literary Festival, organized by Rattle editor Tim Greene. It was a wonderful event, and I'm looking forward to returning next year.

Why was I in Wrightwood hiking? I arrived early for the first-ever Wrightwood Literary Festival, organized by Rattle editor Tim Greene. It was a wonderful event, and I’m looking forward to returning next year.

Grandkid visit time being scarce during the school year, I was eager to visit the owners of these dolls and show them how to sew aprons. The barefoot connection? I try to encourage them to lose their shoes whenever possible . . .

Grandkid visit time being scarce during the school year, I was eager to hang out with the owners of these dolls and show them how to sew aprons. The barefoot connection? I try to encourage the girls to lose their shoes whenever possible . . .

There are grandsons needing barefoot bonding time, also . . . here we are at a party for the newly six-year-old. Most of the boys in attendance immediately threw off their shoes upon arrival at the park.  My kind of party!

There are grandsons needing barefoot bonding time, also . . . here we are at a party for the just-turned-six-year-old. Most of the boys in attendance immediately threw off their shoes upon arrival at the park. My kind of party!

We had some odd-but-fabulous weather in May . . . such as this crazy downpour one morning . . .

We had some odd-but-fabulous weather in May . . . such as this crazy downpour one morning . . . unfortunately I was not able to get out to the hills to enjoy the resulting puddles before they turned back to summer dust.

Our back-yard fountain was overflowing with water and desert willow blossoms after the storm passed. (Big fluffy clouds lingered though . . . check out the reflection . . . )

Our back-yard fountain was overflowing with water and desert willow blossoms after the storm passed. (Big fluffy clouds lingered though . . . check out the reflection . . . )

Just a few days ago . . . more sprinkles on the trail. Here they provide a ceremonial dampening of a damned darkling beetle that was foolish enough to wander across a mountain bike freeway . . . AKA the Chutes Trail outside of Irvine Regional Park.

Just a few days ago . . . more sprinkles on the trail. Here they provide a ceremonial dampening of a damned darkling beetle that was foolish enough to wander across a mountain bike freeway . . . AKA the Chutes Trail outside of Irvine Regional Park.

More lovely raindrops; another trail tragedy: the ongoing problem of folks who regard the outdoors as their personal trash can. (But the perfume of damp dust did much to alleviate my angst . . . the whole sagebrush world was alive with spicy air as the rain worked its smell-spell.)

More lovely raindrops; another trail tragedy: the ongoing problem of folks who regard the outdoors as their personal trash can.
(But the perfume of damp dust did much to alleviate my angst . . . the whole sagebrush world was alive with spicy air as the rain worked its smell-spell.)

A bit of dampness sets the dust up to capture footprints especially well.

A bit of dampness sets the dust up to capture footprints especially well.

Yes, I am running out of

Yes, I am running out of “new” things to photograph . . . or am I? The trail is never the same; each day brings new surprises.

On a recent trip up the Chutes Trail . . . this plant.  I had never seen it before and had to email a photo to a native plant expert for help in identifying it.  It has a lovely name: whispering bells.

On a recent trip up the Chutes Trail . . . this plant.
I had never seen it before and had to email a photo to a native plant expert for help in identifying it. It has a lovely name: whispering bells.

Not too far away on the same trail that I've hiked/run on for years and years without noticing . . . Sacapellote! Another

Not too far away on the same trail that I’ve hiked/run on for years and years without noticing . . . Sacapellote! Another “first” for me, and again I was fortunate to have native plant friends I could later show the photo to for help in identifying. (One of them called the plant “sack of peyote” . . . a funny-but-helpful mnemonic device.)

And . . . YET ANOTHER

And . . . YET ANOTHER “first sighting” of a plant along this most fruitful-yet-way-too-busy trail: Osmadenia. I appreciate these much-needed reminders to stay alert for new beauty . . . even on familiar paths.

A drooping, lovely datura . . . common plant, uncommon delicate pink-ness.

A drooping datura . . . common plant, uncommon delicate pink-ness.

Another common sight in the foothills of Orange County: the amazingly engineered  webs of funnel weaving spiders.

One more common sight in the foothills of Orange County: the amazingly engineered webs of funnel web spiders. Add a gray damp morning and voila: a stationary tornado of dew drops.

The

The “voice of the chaparral” is the diminutive wren-tit. These small creatures usually choose to stay low and hidden, but on a gray June morning last week I was fortunate enough to get a nice glimpse. The perky tail is a major identification clue.

I always carry my little pocket camera with me; it doesn't record the highest-quality images, but its convenience outweighs quality considerations. Lately I've been trying to travel softly enough to not disturb trailside birds; here's a spotted towhee who kindly posed.

I always carry my little pocket camera with me; it doesn’t record the highest-quality images, but its convenience outweighs quality considerations. Lately I’ve been trying to travel softly enough to not disturb trailside birds; here’s a spotted towhee who politely posed for a while.

Another slow-to-flee critter . . . this male northern white skipper was so busy nectaring on a tarplant that  he didn't notice my excited paparazzi-ing . . . the way the cloud-filtered light lit up his translucent wings was astonishing.

Another slow-to-flee critter . . . this male northern white skipper was so busy nectaring on a tarplant that he didn’t notice my excited paparazzi-ing . . . the way the cloud-filtered light lit up his translucent wings was astonishing. “What big eyes you have, Mr. Skipper!”

male northern white skipper

Sigh. Opportunities like these make me wish, just for a moment, that I had a better camera.

My daughter is a professional wedding photographer, with a camera suitable for recording a once-in-a-lifetime (I hope) day for folks. Thus: her photo from last week at the community garden.

My daughter is a professional wedding photographer, with a crazy big camera/lens set-up. Thus: her fine photo from last week at the Heritage Garden  . . . a monarch butterfly on a zinnia.

But . . . carrying only a crappy little pocket camera allows me to run and run . . . until I come to Santiago Creek, when I have to stop and pose my toes for this final reflection on barefoot trail running: it's the best!

But . . . carrying only a crappy little pocket camera allows me to run and run . . . until I come to Santiago Creek, when I have to stop and pose my toes for this final reflection on barefoot trail running: it’s the best!

Post-Grand-Canyon barefoot adventures (not exactly a let-down . . . )

May 14, 2015

rattlesnake warning sign

It’s snake time here in the coastal hills of Orange County; during my morning run today I came across this helpful sign of “Do’s” and “Don’ts” . . .. a little too late?

snake and foot at crystal cove

Two days ago I found a beautiful gopher snake sunning itself in the middle of the trail at Crystal Cove State Park. Since one of my weirder hobbies is photographing my bare feet with critters, I couldn’t resist.

bare foot and rattlesnake

Paparazzi / papa rattler: Keeping a respectful distance from a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake on the side of the trail . . .

Pacific rattlesnake at Crystal Cove State Park

A little bit closer, but not too much . . .

Fake lizard and bare foot on the trail

This little guy surprised me on a run last week; usually when I find still lizards on the trail, they are deceased victims of mountain bike tires, so this rubbery toy lizard was a good surprise.

Speaking of dead animals: here's two from last weekend's trip north to the Central Coast of California.

Speaking of dead animals: here’s two from last weekend’s trip north to the Central Coast of California.

Maybe a sea lion?

Maybe a sea lion? That’s Morro Rock in the background; the beach there is a fine place for adventure.

Heron at Morro Rock

Wild water, beautiful bird.

pelican at Morro Bay

Pelican keeping watch at Morro Bay.

If you're lucky, dune jumpers can sometimes be sighted near Morro Rock . . .

If you’re lucky, dune jumpers can sometimes be sighted near Morro Rock . . .

Adventure also waits just outside our back door, where a fountain provides birds with water and us with fascinating glimpses of  our non-human neighbors.

Adventure also waits just outside our back door, where a fountain provides birds with water and us with fascinating glimpses of our non-human neighbors–here a Western Tanager and Oriole having problems taking turns.

And, of course, my favorite local adventure places are only minutes away, thanks to OC Parks. Here's a few shots from this morning's run out of Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

And, of course, my favorite local adventure places are only minutes away, thanks to OC Parks. Here’s a few shots from this morning’s run out of Santiago Oaks Regional Park. (This is me trying to capture the lovely floatillas of willow duff in Santiago Creek.)

Barefoot in Santiago Creek.

More Santiago Creek reflections.

In the luscious under-oak shade along the trail, wild grapes run rampant with the poison oak.  (Grape leaves on left; poison oak

In the luscious under-oak shade along the trail, wild grapes run rampant with the poison oak. (Grape leaves on left; poison oak “leaflets three” on right.)

Tangy lemonade berries await tasting all over the foothills this time of year.

Tangy lemonade berries await tasting all over the foothills this time of year.

Stunning (and rare!) intermediate mariposa lilies are a-bloom at the top of Barham Ridge.

Stunning (and rare!) intermediate mariposa lilies are a-bloom at the top of Barham Ridge.

A view from the highest point in the area: Robber's Peak. The three ladies disappearing down the Barham Ridge trail lend a bit of scale.

A view from the highest point in the area: Robber’s Peak. The hikers disappearing down the Barham Ridge trail lend a bit of scale.

Looking toward the Pacific Ocean from Robber's Peak in Anaheim Hills.

Looking toward the Pacific Ocean from Robber’s Peak in Anaheim Hills.

In the midst of adventure: caution? The gravel road near Robber's Peak is full of bits of broken glass that glints a warning in the early sun. How to avoid getting it stuck in your bare feet? Use your eyeballs and avoid it . . . and/or just step gently with time-toughened soles. In all my shoeless wandering, I've managed to avoid Barefoot KenBob's

In the midst of adventure: caution? The gravel road near Robber’s Peak is full of bits of broken glass that glints a warning in the early sun. How to avoid getting it stuck in your bare feet? Use your eyeballs and avoid it . . . and/or just step gently with time-toughened soles. In all my shoeless wandering, I’ve managed to avoid Barefoot KenBob’s “Deadly Broken Glass Dilemma.”

One last lovely critter to end this adventure mash-up:  a Brown Ctenuchid moth . . . found only in coastal Orange County. I'd never seen nor heard of this striking local pollinator until my hike in Crystal Cove earlier this week. Lesson learned? There's so much to discover! Here's to local (barefoot) wandering!

One last lovely critter to end this adventure mash-up: a Brown Ctenuchid moth . . . found only in coastal So Cal. I’d never seen nor heard of this striking local pollinator until my hike in Crystal Cove earlier this week. Lesson learned? There’s so much to discover! Here’s to local (barefoot) wandering!

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