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A Recently Published Grand Canyon (Barefoot!) Poem & Some Whining Upon Returning Home to . . .

October 27, 2017


Last summer (2016) I did my first night-time rim to rim trek across Grand Canyon; here’s a story (and the usual plethora of pics) about that . . . mmm . . . interesting adventure.


Me & one of the many bark scorpions sharing a photo-flash moment along the night-time North Kaibab Trail through “The Box” in June 2016.      I’m kinda glad I didn’t know at the time that they are (and here I quote a Real Scientific Web Site)   “the most venomous scorpion in North America.”


I also wrote a poem about it, which was recently published online by the excellent environmental literary journal The Hopper. It contains material not as easily dealt with in prose, such as my certitude that the rocks along the trail that night were some kind of sentient beings . . .

And while I was scrounging around for photos from that night, I came across the very fine wooden sign that I cavorted upon during my 6-day rim to rim earlier this month.

What a difference some daylight makes, in terms of cavortitude & signage.

The whole week I was gone from my lifelong home in Orange, CA, the hills just outside town were burning burning burning . . . houses were lost, but no lives such as in the devastation of Nor Cal the same week. 

Nevertheless . . . these are “my” hills where I have been hiking and running for 20-some-odd years, lovingly photo-documenting (and eventually, blogging about) all their natural/tough/fragile beauty.

And now all the trails are closed, off limits to humans so the native chaparral and coastal sage scrub and oak woodland and riparian ecosystems can do their thing and recover recover recover (with the help of winter rains, I pray).

So here’s a poem that attempts to go beyond the above prose and convey other schizz I’m feeling. (And I’m having trouble with the “new” WordPress text editor and can’t get the #$O@(!*ing blog to single-space the poem. Insert other profanities here. )

After Another Wildfire

the fall of 2017

October devil

wind screams


up any ridge

high & mighty

enough to throw

skeletal chamise

and sage

in harm’s way.

Swirls of ash

reel between

Weir Canyon’s

ghost oaks,

a fine acorn crop

and all my

memories there

in harm’s way.


The irrigated interior of Irvine Park has reopened, but all the beautiful native plant/wildlife habitat surrounding the park is toast.


Ten days after the fire started there were still smolder-spots to be found in the 7,500 acres of burned hills and ravines and homes of so many critters/plants.


A prickly pear that used to be plump & lime green, earlier this month. How weird that the spines are still intact while so much other foliage in the area dissolved into ash.


The firefighting line is very clear here at the edge of the irrigated park.


Seems like Irvine Park’s most iridescent inhabitants made it through the blaze.


Acorns everywhere . . . this river bottom oak grove was a major food gathering spot for the original People, a few fires/years/sufferings ago.


The road in/out of Irvine Park. On this hill used to grow . . . now everything is . . .


So I’m reduced to wandering the (irrigated interior) park, and not looking forward to having to fight Orange County traffic to find open trails. (And yes, that is what whining sounds like . . . )

But God is good, life is OK, and so . . . (drum roll) Happy Trails, anywhere you can find them.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Airo permalink
    December 9, 2017 2:34 am

    Awesome! Almost no one walks barefoot in my experience.. Everyone says that’s healthy, but nobody does it !

    • December 11, 2017 10:40 am

      Thanks for your note . . . the timing coincided perfectly with this link that was just sent to me via Facebook by a relative:

      I haven’t had a chance to watch the video, but I quickly scrolled through the comments, and loved reading about all the people (from all over) who wrote to say how much they loved being barefoot. So there are folks out there “doing it,” I’m happy to report 🙂

  2. Don Thompson permalink
    November 6, 2017 12:30 pm

    Good stuff, Thea. Always stunned by those hard lines between this and that–burn and park grass here.
    (Viva Jim Crew and the Hopper!)

    • November 7, 2017 6:20 am

      Thanks, Don! Here’s hoping for another rainy California winter. (We got just a sip this past weekend, but such a relief after our crazy October heat wave.)

  3. October 29, 2017 8:26 pm

    It’s all in the formatting sometimes… Your scorpion pic caption went across the page length..

    • October 29, 2017 8:42 pm

      WordPress is ridiculous . . . I tried every which way to fix the formatting of that caption . . . nuttin’. 😦 x 10

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