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Barefoot hiking at Grand Canyon National Park

October 16, 2011

Fall at Grand Canyon!

Maples turning along the North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon North Rim

Perfect weather and trail conditions for some barefoot hiking . . . and a chance to meet lots of nice hikers, many of whom want to chat about why on earth anyone would want to go out without big ol’ boots (I call them “ankle girdles”) on a trail full of roots, rocks, mule poo, and who knows what other scary stuff.

The evolution of hiking equipment

In the soft red dust, just below the Supai Tunnel on the North Kaibab Trail, I had an enjoyable chat about what we wear on our feet with this group, who kindly posed for a photo (above). One thing we all agreed on–the Grand Canyon is an amazing place to hike in October.

Just try it, I said. And they did!

In the group of students I was accompanying on this trip was an adventurous bunch who went barefoot the last mile up to the North Kaibab trailhead . . . but first we posed for a group toe shot at the Coconino Overlook.

Human toes and centipede toes pose together

The next day, on the South Rim’s Bright Angel Trail, I came across this heroic toe-sporter: a Red-headed Centipede (Scolopendra hero castaneiceps). During later research I discovered these puppies bite–but their venom has rarely (never?) killed a healthy human adult. It seemed OK with posing . . . but didn’t want to be friends on FB. I was happy to add another odd shot to my gallery featuring photos of  “my bare feet and their equally shoeless creature friends.”

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