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Safe and Fun Barefoot Camping, and Then . . .

August 8, 2015

California’s Big Sur in the summer: although I am a native Californian, I never camped there until last week. What a week!

We were blessed with amazing (and unusual for summer) weather: no fog banks hanging around all day and night, no brisk ocean breeze . . . instead, the air was warm and still with just enough clouds to make for spectacular sunsets. (And two days of big-spouting migrating whales to admire . . . some no farther out than the rocks off-shore in the photo below.)

(Photo by my daughter with her big professional camera.)

This lovely image was copied out of my professional- photographer-daughter’s FB feed.

For five days I went nowhere needing shoes: just walks around the campground and to the nearby beach and second-growth redwood forest.

This shot's for you, Brian :)

This shot’s for you, Brian! (Brian=fellow admirer of barefootprints)

bare feet and limekiln creek falls

Light and shadow at Limekiln Creek falls.

The next generation of barefooters . . .

The next generation of barefooters . . . here’s a happy nine-year-old eager to get her feet wet.

Who doesn't love to be barefoot at the beach?

Who doesn’t love to be barefoot at the beach? Even safety minded engineers lose their shoes when the Pacific Ocean calls.

lots of bare feet

Five of our six grandkids camped with us, going barefoot sometimes, wearing flip-flops or Softstar moccasins other times. I do my best not to pressure them to lose their shoes . . . which works fine until one of them gets a tiny (but painful!) splinter in the beach gravel. Sigh. Is that an “I-told-you-so” look from the parentals?

The (flushable! such luxury!) campground bathrooms were cleaned every day, so I had no problem going in shoeless. In fact, the only time I slipped my toes half-way into my thin Merrell Pipidae sandals was when we stopped for gasoline (the ground around gas stations seems especially yucky to me) and then, on our way south and home-bound, to have lunch at the Firestone restaurant in Cambria.

I just don’t like pushing the “where-can-I-go-bare” envelope, so I almost always slip on my sandals to go into eating establishments. We had parked across the kind-of-busy main street that runs through Cambria; hubster had already crossed and was in the restaurant. I rarely feel a need to use crosswalks (remnant rebel stuff from 1960s?), and so I began my first shod steps in five days with toes barely in my sandals, dashing across the main drag through tourist-haven Cambria.

Just that thin layer of sandal sole somehow convinced my brain that I had no need to look down where I was stepping (one of my main arguments against hiking boots: the more shoe on your foot, the less attention your brain gives to the trail–or, in this case, street).

It’s taking me a long time to build up to this . . . I’m usin’ all the tools of suspense I can muster . . . but it’s probably obvious where I’m going with this little story . . .


It felt almost slow motion–first there was the sensation of something catching my left sandal bottom under the ball of that foot. My upper body kept moving, however, in a light and leisurely arc that ended awkwardly when I felt my left knee and right hand hit the pavement.

Not even a flesh wound . . .  but my daughter and grandsons came running out of the restaurant, having witnessed the whole frantic scamper and plummet, worried about granny’s physical well-being. Which was fine. My pride was moderately wounded, but I was able to blame it on the darn sandals, thus absolving myself from self-recrimination about lack of balance. I had, after all, just spent five days stepping lightly and lively over beach rocks and stream rocks and logs and log bridges . . . all with much joy, joy that was only brought into greater relief by the ridiculousness of taking a tumble on level pavement on a busy summer day in the picturesque Central Coast beach town of Cambria, CA.

Limekiln Creek waterfall

It seems that I can negotiate slippery log bridges, but not city streets.

Happy Summer Trails!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Brian permalink
    April 4, 2016 6:51 am

    Thank you so much for the lovely footprint photo! I saved it to my Thea Folder! Hoping for warm weather in my part of the world so that I can join you soon!

    • April 7, 2016 6:28 pm

      Hi Brian–That’s pretty funny to think there is a Thea Footprint Folder out there . . . only barefoot crazies would appreciate 🙂

      Happy (warm-but-not-too-hot) trails . . .

      • Brian permalink
        April 14, 2016 5:10 am

        Ha! I have lots of pics of you running, not just footprints. Gotta love being barefoot. It snowed where I live not long ago, so still a few more months before I can try it….Have fun and be careful out there!

      • April 14, 2016 7:54 am

        Snow?! I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with that . . . it would take a lot of the fun out of being barefoot, I’m thinking . . . and at this point in my life (heading towards 60), it’s gotta be fun . . .

  2. August 9, 2015 4:59 am

    Big Sur is soooo beautiful, thanks for sharing. Sounds like great family time.

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