Wet Path Before Work

Last night it rained again...just what we need in Northern California. I left home a little early to try a short barefoot walk on a heavily wooded trail on the way to work. I parked behind a half dozen other cars under the freeway overcrossing, and walked on a soft shallow unpaved mud "sidewalk" to the trail entrance. A paved asphalt trail runs south (towards the Sawyer Camp trail), used by walkers, runners and bicyclers. My trail heads north. The gravel path went uphill at a gentle slope; the rocks were not sharp.

Soon the trail became covered with pine needles, and there were several standing pools of cool rainwater in the middle of the trail. Long grass, bent over with wetness, lined the trail in some areas. Going on a downhill portion, the eroded ground was covered with gnarly tree roots. I wondered again at how easy hiking downhill really is when your toes are free to feel the ground and compensate. Along a low-lying part of the path, there was a short expanse of very soft mud.

On the other side, I went up hill through long, saturated grass beside the path. At the top of the rise, there was another broad expanse of needles under a grove of pine trees, the ground spotted in places with mushrooms. On the far side of the grove, I saw another root covered descent, but my time was running short, so I had to turn around. Sunlight was just starting to appear on the treetops as I left the pine needles for the gravel path back to the street.

The only hazards I saw on the walk were some horse droppings--in accordance with Murphy's Law, these appeared at the narrowest part of the trail. Sometimes in plant-covered areas, there are a few spiky weedsto avoid. There was no litter, except for two discarded coke cans. I met no one this morning, either on the trail or back at the car area.

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