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Archive for July, 2011

Just Being Comfortable

Yesterday I wore shoes for the longest time in I don’t know when: 6 hours or so. I was at my nephew’s wedding, first at the church and then at the reception.

I supposed I could have flouted convention and done it barefoot, but on the other hand, it wasn’t my day, it was the bride’s (and groom’s). Also, bare feet just don’t quite go along with a full suit, in my opinion (even though bare hands seem to work just fine).

One thing that felt really odd was driving with shoes on from the church to the reception.

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Being Barefoot and Being Known

If you go barefoot a lot, you are probably well-familiar with the dreaded store confrontation. When one occurs, it is rarely something that makes you feel better afterwards.

But I’d like to talk about the flip side.

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Another Visitor

Here’s another photo from my back yard.

I’ve known we’ve had a nest of hawks in the area for a while, since I’ve heard a lot of the screeching that they make. I’ve also heard the crows harassing them. Finally, one of the hawks perched on a nearby dead tree, so I got a good look at it.

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Barefoot Mowing

So, how much of a risk-taker are you if you mow your grass barefoot?

I generally think that it is not that much of a risk (at least not over mowing with shoes on). In this entry I’m going to discuss many of the considerations I think apply to barefoot mowing.

You will have to do your own evaluation and make up your own minds.

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Feeling Appreciated

Yesterday I did a barefoot hike at Clear Creek Metro Park. Nothing special about it; I’ve done this particular hike quite a few times; it’s probably the longest hike one can do without repeating oneself. It is also quite soothing. Additionally, because yesterday was so hot and steamy, the trails were deserted and I did not see a single other person on my 6½ mile hike.

What is noteworthy is that at the end of the hike I picked up a park map. Not that I needed one. I know the trails pretty much like the back of my foot.

I picked up the map because it was a new map, recently redone . . .

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Traction

A story came out earlier this month with some new speculation about how your fingers and toe wrinkle when they get wet. One of the better articles is Pruney fingers grip better by Ed Yong over at Nature News.

It’s really no more than a hypothesis, but it is still intriguing.

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Irish Bare Feet

Earlier I talked about Scottish Bare Feet and how going barefoot was quite common, particularly among women and children, until about 150 years ago.

Things were similar over in Ireland.

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Elk! and . . .

Today I thought I’d write about (and reuse pictures from) something from about 5 years ago. My sons’ Boy Scout Troop made a trip to Yellowstone National Park, renting a bus and also hitting the South Dakota Badlands and Devil’s Tower along the way. One of the things we did was take some pretty nice hikes into some of Yellowstone’s backcounty.

On this particular hike, I wasn’t even barefoot. It was our second 10-miler in 3 days, and I was footsore from the previous one, which took us over the hoodoos around Mammoth Hot Springs. Even being footsore, I might have done OK, except that we started at Old Faithful, and I tenderized my feet on the very hot boardwalk rather early. Oh, well. Live and learn.

So instead I hiked the full 10 miles in flip-flops. Worked just fine, too, except it totally trashed the flip-flops. By the end, they had been pretty much squished down to nothing.

Anyway, we hiked from Old Faithful to Mystic Falls and on the way back we saw this elk just standing to the side of the trail, intently looking off in the distance and paying us no mind . . .

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This is just hilarious. Vibram (with their Five-Fingers) is suing Fila (with their Skele-Toes) for patent infringement. Here is an article about it.

I have to admit that I am a totally impartial observer, since I think they are both stupid. To paraphrase Tuco Ramirez (“Ugly”, from “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly”, “When you’re going barefoot, go barefoot. Don’t wear shoes.” And don’t pretend that they are not shoes.

But anyways, I have a hard time being sympathetic.

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The latest issue of Backpacker Magazine (August 2011) has an article on barefoot hiking. It’s on page 76, for those of you who want to browse it in a store. It’s the usual mix. In fact, the subtitle is “Yes, no, maybe. The experts debate the controversial new craze.”

On the pro side is long-time barefooter Richard Frazine, author of one of the books that started (or maybe rekindled) the trend towards acceptance of bare feet: The Barefoot Hiker. That was back in 1993.

Here are a few excerpts from the article.

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Lookout! Rock!

Yesterday I was back at Zaleski State Forest and did a 6-mile barefoot hike, with about a mile of bushwhacking. This time I was crossing back and forth over Hewitt Run, which is a tributary to Raccoon Creek. This also meant that I was on the seam between the area of the Zaleski Backpacking Trail and the northern edge of the Bridle Trails, so I spent time on both (and bushwhacked between the two). It was also a 90° day.

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Scottish Bare Feet

Did you know that until fairly recently in historical times, the Scottish, particularly the women and children, regularly went barefoot? (And by historical times, I mean about 150 years ago or so.) It was simply part of the culture.

Anyways, here is an interesting description of that.

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Here’s an anecdote from an old 1859 copy of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine:

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Unintended Consequences

But the good kind.

This is what happens when you have a bird feeder with sunflower seeds in it.

Sunflower

Sunflower

I’m not complaining.

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Barefoot Tennis

I’ve mentioned before that I play tennis barefoot. During the winter months, that’s about 2 hours a week, indoors. During the summer, the group I play with moves outdoors and I end up playing closer to 5 to 6 hours a week.

Here are just a few observations.

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