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Guest Poem for January

January 29, 2017


With permission from a local writer . . . a lovely poem (which inspired me to find images to accompany it on its internet journey):

by Diane Dorman

I walk in amber aura
of sun filtered leaves,
golden palmate,
still clinging to sycamore trees.
Wet sand from the trail
coats my bare feet:
our California winter.


Wow–in just a few lines, Diane captured so much of what I love: winter sycamore, sun (leaves), walk-trail, wet . . . bare feet!

Thanks, Diane; I appreciate that you thought to send me your work . . . it made my day (and now I hope it can brighten up others with a bit of our California gold).

A few more images of golden light from yesterday . . . post-last-weekend’s-deluge:


Behind the Villa Park Dam: suddenly, water!


Four days of rain last week really transformed my favorite trails (transformed meaning “submerged” for the area called The Willows)


Ceanothus in bloom: springtime in January . . . in Southern California.

Happy (wet and wild) Winter Trails!





3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2017 9:06 pm

    Thank you Thea!

    A sycamore tree was in the Gospel reading today (Zacchaeus Sunday) and made me wonder about the meanings and stories of sycamore trees, then this poem! So cool!

    I’ve been meaning to ask for your advice on hiking/running barefoot with hiking poles. Do you try to keep them in time with your strides, like you normally would do with your arms? or half that cadence? or…? I’m hoping to do a loop hike this June up the upper Dungeness trail to Marmot pass and then down the Tubal Cain trail here in the Olympics. It is about 16 or 17 miles and a stretch from what I’ve done in the past, but not a big stretch. Any advice for rocky terrain with bare feet?

    Thank you!

    • January 30, 2017 9:10 am

      Hi Scott–as always, thanks for reading and commenting.

      Delving more deeply into “meanings and stories of sycamore trees” sounds like a fun research trail to follow; there’s a great list of trees in Isaiah 41:19 I came across recently . . . always on the lookout for plants 🙂

      As far as hiking/running with poles: while I rarely (never?) carry poles on local hike/runs, I really depend on using them at Grand Canyon where they help me deal with the steepness and rocks. I use them differently, depending on the terrain and whether I’m headed up or down. For example, when going downhill, I will plant both poles at the same time (sort of like crutches?) and then use them to help absorb my weight/impact. When hiking barefoot, I find this technique really seems to help my feet absorb the greater, gravity-intensified downhill footstrike. Hard to explain, but it really works.

      On steep uphills that are nothing but steps cut into the trail (which is common at Grand Canyon), I will also plant both poles and use my arms to help “pull” myself up.

      For flatter sections, I will either just carry the poles in one hand, or swing/plant them like I’m cross country skiing (opposite my feet), or swing/plant them so same-side arms and legs are working together. Sometimes I really dig them into the ground; other times the poles barely touch the ground and I just swing them freely.

      In other words: I just keep changing it up as the terrain and my speed of travel dictate.

      Let’s see . . . last question . . . “advice for rocky terrain with bare feet” . . . it’s really amazing how there always seems to be a small surface that opens up as I take each step, and my eyes/brain direct my foot there. This is sometimes a conscious decision (depending on terrain), but after a while it can be almost subconscious. Big rocks are better than gravelly little stuff; weather-beaten, stream-rolled rocks better than freshly broken talus. (And rocks that move vs. rocks that stay still: something to always be aware of!)

      If and when it ever gets to be less than fun, I carry a pair of minimal sandals. (“If it’s not fun, put something on.”)

      To hike in the Olympics . . . what a privilege! I bet it’s green green green! Enjoy!

      Happy trails (and trail planning), Thea

  2. January 29, 2017 8:44 pm

    Nice poem, Diane. Thanks for sharing it.

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