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Celebrating one year of barefoot hiking and trail running

February 23, 2011

A recent milestone: it’s been a whole year since I first saw those shoeless young people at a Jon Young “bird-sitting” workshop at O’Neill Regional Park.

“What’s up with that?” I inwardly snickered, wondering what kind of nuts go out in nature with nothing to protect their precious soles.

When I got home that afternoon, though, I couldn’t get the audaciousness of their omission out of my head, and so I headed into the internet wilderness, researching “going barefoot” “barefoot hiking” “barefoot running”  . . .

And a life (or at least ten toes) were forever changed.

I have a calendar on which I jot where each of my barefoot trail excursions takes place, as well as how long I spend on the dirt. (Since I sometimes–lots of times–carry a camera, I try to “adjust” the time to allow for picture-taking pauses.) By this reckoning, my feet enjoyed the dust, mud, gravel, boulders, leaf litter, of Orange County (and beyond) for about 9,400 minutes between end-of-January 2010 and 2011: 157 hours. Back pain and a few other odd injuries forced me to walk more than I ran, so I used a conservative average pace of  3mph to calculate this:

more than 400 (?!) glorious miles of shoe-less-ness in 2010.

I can only hope and pray for at least that in 2011 . . .

To look at the unable-to-run situation from a less pain-centric point of view: going slower means I usually carry a camera, and thus have the time and inclination to go really slow and take photos:

My own custom mud shoes…

The washout at Santiago Oaks Regional Park.

Mid-summer dust bath.

A stream crossing on the way up Little Lakes Valley–destination, Chicken Foot Lake, Eastern Sierra Nevada.

And that’s just a few (yeah, there are hundreds more) photos (some of them shot leaning over, upside down, more or less guessing what’s going to show up on the screen) from my barefoot journey, connecting my toes and soles with the wildlands of Orange County (and beyond. . .I can hardly wait to wander shoeless around the Grand Canyon this summer . . . )

((Did you know today was National Befriend-a-Parenthesis Day?))

. . . Or was it . . . National . . .  Enamored with Ellipses . . . Day . . .

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebeccah permalink
    June 24, 2011 4:27 pm

    Are there any barefoot hiking clubs in OC? There were a couple in the Bay area, but I don’t live there any more.



  1. Barefoot running for six years: feeling grateful! | Barefoot Wandering and Writing
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