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Water & Mud & More Barefoot Shenanigans

October 13, 2018



Morro Bay/Morro Rock in September with the long-retired founder of Welding Works.

A few months ago, we bought a cheap inflatable kayak; after just four outings (Rock Creek Lake, June Lake, Morro Bay, and Newport Back Bay), it feels like we’ve had way more than $80’s worth of fun.

Above: images from yesterday . . . my first time paddling Newport Beach’s Back Bay (with adventure friend Gina . . . who couldn’t help but make a reference to the infamous Gilligan’s Island theme song: would our “three-hour tour” leave us stranded on a remote island?) (1960s trivia: the images shown every episode during the theme song were shot at/on/around this Newport Beach harbor).


Life imitating art! “The weather started getting rough,” but our tiny ship was not tossed–there was just an awe-inspiring display of clouds, lightning, sunlight and raindrop plops.


(Before the storm hit: the low tide brought birds feeding and flocking and flying–this Great Blue Heron croak-barked like a frog-dog as it took off.)

The rain/lightning/thunder continued through the evening–such a needful thing here in our parched southland, but such a means of destruction when linked to hurricanes Maria, Florence, Michael . . . and on and on. On my run this morning, even in the midst of the pungent lovely smells of the damp dirt and native plants, in the midst of my joyful puddle-running, in the midst of happy-mud-squishies, I felt more than small twinges of maybe not-quite-survivor-guilt, but heaviness of spirit for all who have lost so much to wildfires, floods and other powerful forces of nature.

running away barefoot

So all that was on my mind as I trotted through the dazzling ephemeral trail puddles today.

puddle running barefoot

Depending on the soil composition, sometimes silty run-off (the hills have been scorched bare of native plants that would otherwise hold the soil) would collect into silky squishy mud-foot-spas along the trail—ahhh . . . geology!

While running and sniffing the perfumed air and enjoying the exfoliating muck, I was also pausing frequently to shoot video snippets to maybe turn into another short film in my “I like mud and barefoot running” series.

After my last accidentally-on-purpose splashdown video–filmed just to the west in a section of Santiago Creek that seemed extra horse-poopy–I had decided to NOT EVER DO THAT AGAIN. But. Right before I got back to the trailhead, there was a pristine-looking puddle–no manure floaters, clear enough to see uniformly rippled reddish mud down below–the car was pretty close–I’d brought a towel to sit on “just in case”–I’d keep my lips together this time so the nasty recycled-alfalfa organisms would stay out of my mouth–no one was around–

barefoot puddle faceplant

–no one but some deer, who cared so much less than this photo could ever show:


So. Splash happens. The puddle wasn’t as innocuous as I thought; it had a sizeable collection of rocks just below the thin silt layer, and I racked up both knees and my right big toe with scrapes and pains.

Oh yeah. I forgot. I have osteoporosis and probably shouldn’t be seeking out ways to fall on purpose. (Thanks for the reminder, daughter dear.)

hawk closeup

This Red-Tailed Hawk also seemed a little judgmental . . .

Happy wild muddy trails!



2 Comments leave one →
  1. Scott Marckx permalink
    October 13, 2018 10:52 pm

    Yes! I love running barefoot in mud too! And kayaking in estuaries! You’ve got way more guts in the wild swimming department than me! Maybe try it in a little deeper water next time? Happy muddy trails! Thank you for the fun post!

    All the best, Scott

    • October 14, 2018 6:48 am

      Thanks for the non-judgmental comment re: the splashdown 🙂 As far as estuary kayaking . . . wow . . . a whole new world of slow-moving fun!

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