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Wild Human Barefoot Mud Fun

October 7, 2011

An early October downpour–unusual for Orange County–transformed the silky late summer poof dust back into terra firma this week . . . even better, terra mudda . . .

Last week's barefoot dustprints

Today's barefoot mudprints

Lately I’ve come across more than one mountain biker or hiker who has told me, “Oh, so you’re the one making the bare-foot-prints.”

Yep. I am: the perpetrator of shoeless tracks in the hills of East Orange.

Or, as I learned from a group of students I met this morning on the trail outside of Irvine Regional Park . . . I’m leaving signs that a “wild human” was in the area.

After this morning’s fun 90-minute walk/run–a loop from Irvine Park, up and over Barham Ridge, down through Santiago Oaks Regional Park, and back to Irvine Park again–I had been cooling down, was almost to my car, just walking . . .

Walking, that is, until I came to a group of young people and two adults who were all staring into a twenty-foot long puddle along the side of the trail. Immediately my walking morphed into my best showing-off-barefoot trot–straight through the puddle.

I think I yelled out some kind of barefoot propaganda like, “Lose the shoes, kids,” as I splashed past–before I heard a voice say, “Is that you, Thea?”

It was Mark Hay of Coast Live Oak School–we’d met a few weeks ago at a remarkable demonstration of native Tongva ways by Craig Torres of Santa Ana (and sponsored by the city of Santa Ana and Back to Natives Restoration).

Busted.

Mark told me how, when he and his students came across shoeless tracks on the trails, they noted this as a sign that a “wild human” had been through the area . . . I only hope I can live up to this title.

What really made my day, though: I heard a young voice behind me, as I headed off down the trail, asking, “Can I take my shoes off and run through the mud?”

I hope the answer was “yes!”

The rewards of trail running barefoot: spa time

The latest in barefoot running shoes

In other news: I came across this still-twitching (but almost dead) lizard today on the way up Barham Ridge. I’m pretty sure it was not squashed by someone out hiking without shoes on . . .

A casualty on the trail

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