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Why I do this

February 21, 2015

I’ve been blogging away here at Barefoot Wandering and Writing for a few years, aiming for a post a week, not always hitting that goal, but also aiming to not feel too much pressure. As I mentioned four or five times to mountain bikers today who felt compelled to comment on my shoe-less-ness, I run barefoot because it’s fun, and I want this blog to be more pleasure than pain as well.

I just scrolled waaayyyy down to find my first WordPress post . . . dated 8/28/10. Then I remembered that I had a Blogspot blog for a short time before that . . . and did a search to find that first post. It was actually from my “pre-barefoot” days . . . but one month later, the record of my barefoot journey begins. Here’s a quote from the end of that piece:

“So far I’ve been out 14 times (yep. I’m counting) in mud and streams and dust and sand and lots of rocks. It’s all challenging fun. Gravel does get old fastest. Mud is squishy cool. Aged piles of horse poop are like golden-bleached pillows. Leaping good times.”

It’s all challenging fun. 

That’s why I do it . . . and that’s what today was like, a chilly (low 60s is a chilly winter day here in So Cal), wild-flower-filled romp up and down Barham Ridge for an hour.

After 10+ years of excruciating, run-stopping left knee pain that I’ve thrown all kinds of money at to find a fix, I feel incredibly blessed (and very grateful to my “physio team” of Dr. Derrick Sueki at Knight Physical Therapy as well as Darcia Dexter, Movement Educator) to be able to run with ease for an hour or more up and down steep, sometimes-rocky hills with a smile on my face and nothing on my feet.

Why do I do this? Because the wildlands of Orange County are places of amazing biodiversity, and barefoot trail running gets me out there to appreciate them. My little camera does its best to record a fraction of the beauty I witness, and I spend a bit of time every week or so to lay it all out on this blog, hoping others wander this way and feel inspired to love and appreciate this place or their own local wildlands.

That’s it, too: I want my running and writing to inspire others. (I just re-skimmed an excellent article on Writing-World.com titled “To Blog or Not to Blog.” Like all the other pieces on this helpful web site, it contained much useful information, but there was nothing here about “inspiration” as a reason to blog.)

What got me thinking about this is I just remembered one of today’s mountain biker comments . . . as I scooted to the side of the Chutes Trail to avoid the hurtling mass of man and aluminum tubing headed my way, I heard a voice say, “You’re OK.” (This I assumed referred to the fact that I was far enough off the trail to avoid collision.) Then he continued, “That’s pretty inspiring.” (And this I assumed was a reference to the fact that I was barefoot–and not to the length of my awesomely ratty gray granny braid.)

So here’s a batch of what I hope are inspiring images from my latest runs:

Wooly darkling beetle meet-up.

Wooly darkling beetle meet-up.

Looking down the Chutes Trail from Barham Ridge . . . between Irvine Park and Santiago Oaks.

Looking down the Chutes Trail from Barham Ridge . . . between Irvine Park and Santiago Oaks.

Our Orange County wildflowers know how to get along with their prickly neighbors. So should we . . .

Our Orange County wildflowers know how to get along with their prickly neighbors. So should we . . .

Wildflowers bring butterflies . . . this is (I think) and American Lady nectaring on Wild Hyacinth (Dichelostema capitatum).

Wildflowers bring butterflies . . . this (I think) is an American Lady nectaring on Wild Hyacinth (Dichelostema capitatum).

The first sighting of the season: Catalina Mariposa Lily in all its fragile glory.  "Consider the lilies of the field." Matthew 6:28

The first sighting of the season: Catalina Mariposa Lily in all its fragile glory.
“Consider the lilies of the field.” Matthew 6:28

Same flower, different vantage point.

Same flower, different vantage point.

Red Maids: common in some areas, rare along the Chutes Trail.

Red Maids: common in some areas, rare along the Chutes Trail.

Same flower, different vantage point (with toes).

Same flower, different vantage point (with toes).

Wishbone flower.

Wishbone flower.

Lots of wishbone flowers.

Lots of wishbone flowers.

Phacelia and friends.

Phacelia and friends.

I think this is a Northern White Skipper . . .

I think this is a Northern White Skipper . . .

These three ladies inspired me with their teamwork pushing each other up this steep section of the Chutes Trail.

These three ladies inspired me with their teamwork pushing each other up this steep section of the Chutes Trail.

Two common wildflowers looking uncommonly fabulous as a pair.

Two common wildflowers looking uncommonly fabulous as a pair.

Not to be confused with mariposa lilies: this is wild morning glory. How I helped myself remember when I was first figuring this out: the MORNING glory's flower is one solid CUP (like a cup of coffee in the morning). The mariposa lily is separated into three petals.

Not to be confused with mariposa lilies: this is wild morning glory. How I helped myself remember when I was first figuring this out: the MORNING glory’s flower is one solid CUP (like a cup of coffee in the morning). The mariposa lily is separated into three petals.

From the top of Barham Ridge is a fine view of the Pacific Ocean, where container ships are lined up from here to wherever, stuck at sea because of a labor dispute in the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.

From the top of Barham Ridge is a fine view of the Pacific Ocean, where container ships are lined up from here to wherever, stuck at sea because of a labor dispute in the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.

Why do I do this? For the rush of sailing along a brushy trail in mountain lion country and getting my heart startled by a great crashing in the thicket . . . that turns out to be a barefoot deer stotting the heck out of my way. (Stotting=when they bounce away on four stiff legs.) This curious lady and I had one good long gaze at each other. That's why.

Why do I do this? For the rush of sailing along a brushy trail in mountain lion country and getting my heart startled by a great crashing in the thicket . . . that turns out to be a barefoot mule deer stotting the heck out of my way. (Stotting=when they bounce away on four stiff legs.) This curious lady and I had one good long gaze at each other. That’s why.

barefoot trail running

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kelly permalink
    February 22, 2015 7:59 am

    I had cancer last year so I spent most of my time off of the trail. I’ve been lazy this year and haven’t gotten back to it. I live the trails vicariously through you.

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