Did you know that bare feet are much quieter?
Yesterday was another great fall day for being out, so I decided to hit one of the major trails at Hocking Hills. There were a lot more people than where I usually hike, and what struck me was just how much quieter I was than they were.
I hiked the “standard” Hocking Hills hike from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls. This runs through a gorge and has a number of locations with wooden or rock stairs going up and down along the edge.
Early on I was just hiking along, slowly catching up to a pair of guys. As they hit one of these stairs, their feet sounded like wham, wham, wham. Then I went up; not a sound (well, maybe my creaking knees).
A bit later I had the same thing happen again, with a father carrying his kid in a baby backpack. I followed along for a long time without his being aware of me, and when he ascended some stairs, whomp, whomp, whomp.
Bare feet are just so much quieter than the monster lug soles on so many hiking boots.
At Cedar Falls, there is a fairly new (last 10 years or so) bridge over the main creek there. It is a fairly attractive bridge.
But it is hell on bare feet, which also means that it is hell on any dog trying to cross it. Here’s what the deck looks like up close:
Looks awful, right? I bet even Ken Bob couldn’t run across that surface.
My techique is just to take it nice and slowly, and spread out the points over the sole of my foot for each step. I’m sure it’s even harder for a dog (I know when she was younger and my dog could accompany me that she hated it), since the structure of my feet have more surface area to spread out the load better.
Another highlight of that area of Hocking Hills is Rose Lake. As I headed up a lesser-known trail (this time completely away from other people), I was on the hilly part, and there were a lot of fallen leaves on the ground.
But bare feet are quieter even on fallen leaves. At one point I startled a 2-point buck. I must have gotten within about 30 feet of him before he noticed me (and, truth be told, before I noticed him). It was only when he snorted and bolted that I saw him. I actually have this happen fairly regularly.
Anyways, here’s the view from the dam for Rose Lake. At least some of the trees still have their leaves.
And maybe you’d like a shot without me in there ruining the scenery:
Finally, here’s a shot looking back towards the dam, with the sun setting over there on the right a bit.
Hiking barefooted is just so much more nature-friendly, and that includes being able to blend with nature instead of imposing our discordant sounds upon it.
(PS. I hope you enjoy my titles for these entries as much as I enjoy trying to think up good ones.)