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Time for some trash talk

July 26, 2016

One run’s worth of trash from local trails from a year or so ago.

On my regular trail runs in the hills outside of my hometown of Orange, CA, I usually carry a small pack. It contains only one electronic device as I am an advocate of “naked running” (not clothing-optional adventure, but hitting the trails without so much 21st century gagetry: GPS, Garmin, FitBit, heart rate monitor, cell phone, iPod, microwave oven, etc.).

My one battery-operated luxury? The tiny/crappy camera that I use to record the flora–and if I’m lucky, fauna–of my favorite trails there on the edge of the city, there on the outskirts of encroachment by us bipeds and our technological excess.

My little pack also serves as trash receptacle; it’s amazing how much crap folks let go of on the trail, and it’s also amazing how much of that stuff I can jam in and on and around my pack.


I’ve got a dedicated trash pocket in my Ultimate Direction hydration vest.

Recent internet search serendipity brought me to a trashy (in the best sense of the word) web site called “Litterati.”

Here’s the intriguing Litterati mission: “Trash is everywhere. Soda cans, plastic bags, and cigarette butts litter the environment, choke wildlife, and threaten our planet. By combining technology, social awareness and data, the Litterati is tackling this ever-escalating problem one piece of litter at a time.

“With geo-tagging, we’re able to provide insight into problem areas and highlight the most active Litterati communities. Keyword tags on the photos help identify those brands and products that generate the most litter. We’ll use this to work with companies and organizations to find environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions.”

While I can’t participate in their project due to my lack of geo-tag-ability (see comment above on what I don’t carry while running), I do applaud their efforts.


Stuff doesn’t just disappear; animals ingest it and aren’t always able to expel it as well as this coyote seems to have.

Here’s another group working creatively to get folks to be more trash aware: AllOneOcean. Their “Plastic State of Mind” video was both entertaining and sobering (and I’m not even familiar with the song they were parodying).

See the green bag in the photo below? I found it on the trail at the beginning of a run up and around Robber’s Peak last week. (The other cast-offs were collected as I continued to run for ninety minutes up and down and around Barham Ridge.)


So . . . there I was, equipped with a ready-to-go plastic pet-poop bag, when a dog appeared on the trail ahead . . .  and as the owner and I watched, it squatted and let loose a load right in the middle of the path.

I offered my newly collected bag to the owner, but he just kicked the dog $h!t over toward the edge of the trail and continued on his oblivious way with his illegally un-leashed dog.

Grrr . . . I came across them again a little later, and it was all I could do to not make some kind of sarcastic remark about his (lack of) reading skills, as the trailheads are all prominently posted. And supplied with plastic bags. Which are also crappy for the environment as the music video above was aiming to point out.


Is life too short to get my running bloomers in a bunch over this kind of knuckle-headed-ness?

Here’s what belongs on the trail: strong and happy feet! (And guess where I was when I took a bit of skin off my left big toe last week: in my own back yard.)


Happy (Trash-free!) Trails . . .

3 Comments leave one →
  1. laura morgan permalink
    August 4, 2016 1:46 am

    Depressingly illuminating post…

    • August 4, 2016 3:11 pm

      But at least the Litterati group is working to do something about it? I have a hiking/plant-loving friend whose philosophy is for folks to “adopt” their own small local wild place, and work to keep it as “natural” as possible . . . so every tiny bit of micro-trash I pick off the trail (those Goo tear-offs are one of the worst offenders) counts as a tiny victory.

      • laura morgan permalink
        August 5, 2016 4:04 am

        Oh absolutely! And I love the idea of adopting a wild place…

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