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“From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California, good evening”

March 3, 2019
Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 4.21.59 PM

Morro Rock

In the last few weeks I’ve been to both the desert and the sea, and looking through photos tonight, I had a wave of nostalgia as this phrase brought to mind a voice from my childhood: local newscaster Jerry Dunphy repeating his iconic “From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California, good evening” as he began the evening news each night.

desert sunflower Ocotillo Wells Feb 2019

Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Bigfoot finally looks like he belongs at his home in the high desert of Ranchita:

big foot of ranchita in snow

A few miles down the road from Big Foot, another icon from my childhood family camping days:

anza borrego welcome sign covered with snow

I’ve been camping at Anza Borrego since 1963; all this snow is a first!

All the lovely rain has coaxed the beginnings of a “superbloom” throughout the area. #CNPSSuperbloom

poppy superbloom near Elsinore CA Feb 2019

On the way to Anza Borrego: California poppies along Interstate 15 near Lake Elsinore

The painted ladies were wandering the desert by the thousands, migrating who-knows-where:

Painted Lady butterfly migration Ocotillo Wells 2 24 19

And with the help of our trusty 1970 Honda Trail 70s, we were able to visit some amazing desert bloomers at Ocotillo Wells SVRA the end of February.

dune evening primrose Ocotillo Wells Feb 2019

old people having fun

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

for demonstration purposes only dont try this at home

Don’t try this at home, kids.

cholla at dawn

Why some people wear shoes in the desert. Some people.

barefoot desert dawn

But if I wore shoes, I’d miss out on moments like this sunrise creek crossing below Palm  Canyon at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, where the water streamed from the canyon and way out on the bajada farther than I could follow it.

Palm Canyon flowing at dawn Feb 2019 ABDSP

Sunrise following the stream out of Palm Canyon

Desert sunrise: a magical, short-lived time of pinks and oranges in un-nameable shades . . . .

ocotillo and creosote and rock at dawn Anza Borrego

. . . when already transcendent flowers are transformed into [insert superlative/metaphor/something-beyond-what-I-can-concoct here].

brown eyed primrose at dawn ABDSP Feb 2019

desert chicory Anza Borrego Feb 2019

OK. We get it. It was bloom-azing!


warm toes winter camping

AND . . . cold. But that’s what campfires are for.

What the desert does best: solitude . . .

Wide open camping at OWSVRA

six desert bighorn sheep ABDSP Feb 2019

. . . unless you’re a desert bighorn sheep. Then you’ll want to hang with your buddies on near-vertical rock-strewn slopes now going green and delicious.

writing on a rock Anza Borrego

Delicious places for growing words as well . . .

desert lily at Ocotillo Wells SVRA Feb 2019

Fare thee well, desert lily, until we meet again.

Screen Shot 2019-02-18 at 4.24.06 PM

Another recent winter weekend, another iconic California place: the beach north of Morro Rock. Still chilly, though, and windy . . . which kept all but a few brave humans and horses away.


And shore birds . . .



And kite surfers.


And maybe a stray human or two.


Until there was nothing but cloud and rock and water and sand.

What’s the point of this blog post? (I’ve been doing some research, and was once again reminded that blog posts pretty much always need a point. Captain Obvious, you are so correct-as-usual.)

What’s the point of hiking and trail running barefoot?

What’s the point of asking “what’s the point?”? (Now that was a tricky bit of punctuation, thank-you-very-much.)

I could reply with, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” But that wouldn’t really make sense, so I won’t.

Or I could just admit that right now my profundity reservoir (unlike our actual California water reservoirs, which are now full after So. Much. Rain) seems a bit depleted; let the images speak for themselves.  And fragments of sunrise silence.

Bigelow's monkey flower Feb 2019 ABDSP

Happy [barefoot and/or desert-to-the-sea trails]! (And thanks for all those decades of trusty newscasting, Mr. Dunphy.)


6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2019 2:09 pm

    Hi Thea,
    I think the cold/heat thing is way more about what you get used to. I can’t imagine dealing with the heat you go running in. The cold I worked into gradually the first year by running up and down the stairs to get my blood flowing before I went out in it. After that first year it hasn’t been much of a problem down to about freezing. There are sherpas in Tibet that go barefoot in way worse than anything I can imagine… Oh, if I had just started going barefoot at an earlier age!
    I keep seeing stuff about the Wim Hof thing, but haven’t looked into it. I do love nose breathing. Not sure if he does that or not.
    One thing I notice with the cold is my feet tend to be stiffer in terms of reacting to rocks and gravel, so those tend to be more painful. Also I’ve got the beginnings of arthritis in my toes and I’m sure the cold doesn’t help that. Oh well, I’ll keep up the barefoot running/walking/hiking thing until I can’t and I can always put casts on my feet after that!
    Go for it with the violin stuff! It can be really fun, especially if you find a couple of like minded people to learn some music with and play together. Fiddle music is nice that way, but there are also ways to do that with classical music too. As long as you keep the fun factor in the foreground it is very rewarding! Let me know if I can help out in any way. Spread the addiction!
    All the best, Scott

    • March 8, 2019 12:42 pm

      Nose breathing is the best! I learned about it reading Scott Jurek’s book, and have been enjoying the challenge ever since (speaking of challenges: my goal when hiking out of Grand Canyon each time I visit is to see how much I can do with only nose breathing). (And I just looked up the Wim Hof breathing in terms of the nose: they are nose in, mouth out . . . so . . . heck with that 🙂 ).

      Fiddle music is definitely the best! I remember (and hope my fingers remember if/when I get my violin repaired) “Devil’s Dream” and other songs . . . I have a whole book of them . . . you’ve got me inspired to revisit that part of my life and maybe find a MeetUp group to have fun with. Here’s to a sunny weekend!

  2. March 3, 2019 10:16 pm

    Thank you Thea!

    Maybe the point is being present in those beautiful places all the way to experiencing them with the souls of your feet, and then sharing that in words and pictures.

    All the best,

    • March 5, 2019 7:09 am

      Your comment made my day; thanks for the “soul/sole” wisdom 🙂
      In other news: how is the snow in your area? Bare-footable?

      • March 5, 2019 11:05 am

        I went out in it a couple weeks ago and felt fine, until I got home and my feet started stinging. Later that evening I found a little blood blister on the bottom of one of my toes. Frostbite? Packed snow in the 30s is way different than deep snow in the 20s. Slush is bad too, as it saps heat so quickly. I feel fortunate my lesson wasn’t more costly. Right now it is dry and cold. A couple of degrees warmer would make going for a run way more tempting.

        On another note a friend has been doing a podcast series of interviews with people in their relationships with the violin family of instruments. Makers, musicians, wood cutters, dealers, historians, and even the police and detectives who helped recover a stolen Strad.. He recently released an interview he did with me. It is at

        All the best,

      • March 5, 2019 7:33 pm

        Wow . . . it’s difficult to imagine barefooting w/temps in the 20s or 30s, let alone on snow! Yikes! A couple of weeks ago we had a freakish afternoon storm . . . the temperature dropped from 55 to 40 while I was driving to the nearby trailhead, but I thought, “well, I’m here, might as well try to run.” The trails were closed, the paved road around the perimeter of the park was a river of chilly water, the wind was blowing . . . and I lasted about 10 minutes before the weird feeling on the bottom of my feet–it seemed like they were coated with something thick, but it was just numbness–made me realize there’s a time to be brave-and-barefoot and there’s a time to hop back in the car and turn the floor heater up all the way. Made me want to go all in with the “Wim Hof” method of cold acclimatization, until I realized . . . it’s usually just not that cold around here 🙂 (PS . . . by the way . . . have you heard of/tried the Wim Hof thing?) (PS #2: I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast interview; half my lifetime ago (that was weird to think of) I started violin lessons at age 30, and got a lot of joy learning how challenging an instrument that is. Not too long ago, I opened the case, only to discover one of the tuning pegs was stripped out, but I’ve been thinking about re-dabbling in this most challenging of ways to not annoy the neighbors 🙂

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