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January 19, 2014

bare feet on the rocksIs it just me, or have the trails gotten rockier lately? Throughout the dry months, all the bike tires grind the trails into a nice powder. But any winter rain or dry windstorm strips the soft away and leaves: a challenge.  Still . . . there are sections where my footprints show what barefoot fun is all about.

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Then comes another rock party to pick my way through, slowly. I remind myself to lighten and lift my toes, and there (almost) always seems to be a way through without getting jolted by a stone stab.

It does happen, though; in fact, during some runs my soles seem to be poke-magnets. Yesterday was one of those days.

The ouchiest: whatever bruisy spots develop seem to attract more pebble meet-ups. It takes all my concentration to keep softly stepping, to stretch out my toes instead of letting them curl up in tense anguish. Very few runs are like this . . . but these days are also part of the barefoot trail adventure, and it’s still better than city sidewalks.

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At least the weather has not been part of the pain, with temperatures in the dry high 70s: no bundling up for winter here.

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On a recent weekday run, I saw the local school had the kids outside, taking advantage of the sunshine to get them running. But wait: what’s wrong with this picture?

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Someone had chalked a white rectangle onto the playing field, and the kids were jogging in a tiny circle with music blaring from under the blue shade tarp (where I imagined teachers sitting and sipping on diet sodas).  Meanwhile, just steps away, lies a fabulous network of trails through the amazing natural beauty of Orange County, CA. Here’s some images of what they were missing (all taken this past couple of weeks).

Wild nightshade along the trail--one of the few flowers that has responded to the little bit of rain this season.

Wild nightshade along the trail–one of the few flowers that has responded to the little bit of rain this season.

Mistletoe in sycamore.

Mistletoe in sycamore.

Coyote in the first sun rays of the day.

Coyote in the first sun rays of the day.

Moonset at dawn.

Moonset at dawn.

Prickly pear: a beautiful and useful plant for human and non-human creatures.

Prickly pear: a beautiful and useful plant for human and non-human creatures.

Wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpus), with underground tubers as big as a person.

Wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpus), with underground tubers as big as a person.

Bobcat on the prowl.

Bobcat on the prowl.

So much wild beauty in their neighborhood, and they were running in circles on a lawn.

Lately, when I get home after a run, I’ve been fighting my way through zero feet of snow and unbelievable temperatures to the orange trees in my back yard, where I go into survival mode and start tearing my way into the giant naval oranges that are ripening there. I never “do” hashtags, but I couldn’t resist here:

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#solarvortex

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