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Hot time for barefoot selfies on the trail

September 26, 2016

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Yesterday afternoon my car thermometer read 99 degrees when I parked it at Irvine Regional Park and hit the trail at 5:30 pm.

That’s warm, even for Orange County in September, so the shady dirt road that wound below Holy Sepulchre Cemetery seemed like a good place to start.

And oh the lovely air: sunset-still, perfumed with dry hints of sage, acrid with dust and a trace of smoke that hinted at the danger of a fall day like yesterday when the crackling native plants are almost audible in their thirst for winter rain.

So I kept an eye out for anyone who might be up to mischief with matches, since this hot-dry-windy weather phenomenon known as “Santa Ana conditions” has in the past excited far too many arsonists into setting the wildlands on fire.

But it was just me and the shiny darkling beetles leaving our tracks in the champagne dust. (Thanks for this lovely phrase, Gina B.! I’m finally remembering to incorporate it 🙂 )

I reveled in the lack of other humans looking askance at my (lack of) footwear, and celebrated by spending even more time than usual creating images in my favorite photo genre: barefoot selfies, my way of thumbing my nose at being diagnosed with 57 years of age and osteoporosis.

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Although I almost always wear a hydration pack (currently I’m using an Ultimate Direction Jenny Vesta), I mainly use the pack to carry my little camera as well as to hold trail-trash until I get back to the trailhead waste bins. (But of course it’s got a knife, and identification and extra food and a whistle and a kitchen sink as well.)

Just a half-liter is all I carry on these shorter-than-90-minute adventures; I don’t need to drink much since I guzzle a liter or so in the hour before I head out (that, and breathing through my nose whilst running, are two more of my late-in-life running experiments that are going well, thank-you-very-much).

On hot days, however, the pack comes in handy as a repository for my cotton t-shirt . . . but only after I have made good use of said shirt by starting the run with it soaking wet and then sliding it over my also-soaked head. Brrr. Yesss.

A wise ranger once remarked during a Grand Canyon hiking presentation: “If you’re hot, you’re stupid.”

Hmmm . . . I think more than a few folks would already question the intelligence of a lone woman running at twilight (mountain lion feeding time, and two local wilderness parks are currently closed due to recent sightings) with nothing on her feet; I certainly don’t want to add fuel to that hater fire, so I hydrate (and eat) like crazy before my run, and wear a wet shirt when it’s still a freakish almost-100 degrees at sunset.

In twenty minutes, I’m dry.

But here are the hills!

Photo-shoot time . . . with my crappy camera that doesn’t like to focus very well on flower close-ups (as I’ve complained many times before), so I don’t mind setting it in the dirt next to the trail so it can capture short video clips.

Part of the fun of the editing process, then, is finding images within the clips where I’m airborne.

Like this:

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Or this:

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Happy dry-hot-no-longer-summer trails! Let the rains commence, soon!

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