Barefoot Hike with the TV Crew

On Sunday, March 3rd, the East Bay Barefoot Hikers met in Diablo Foothills Regional park and hiked the Castle Rock trail with a TV crew sent by Extra Entertainment Magazine. They tell me that this show has a total country-wide viewership of about five million. This is the second filming session organized by Kelly Murphy of Extra. The first part was of Richard Frazine back in January. ....

January 23rd

I have just completed a full-blown television taping session for EXTRA, a California based programme that will be splicing footage of me in with footage to be shot of Mike Berrow's East Bay Barefoot Hikers for an upcoming special on Barefoot Hiking. I had a producer, a camera man, and a sound man with me for nearly 4 hours. They shot about 2 hours worth of me answering questions and bringing up web pages on my computer at home, and then shot a segment wherein J.D. and I did some actual barefoot hiking on the still snow cover'd Mattatuck trail. J.D. was not happy about our house guests, and did some barking, but at least he did no worse than that. I shall try to get copies of the video tape. With any luck this might really put Barefoot Hikers on the map:-)

Richard Keith Frazine

Twenty people took part in the barefoot hike, including myself, my son Gareth (12), my daughter Gillian, Tim and his children: Christopher (7), and the twins Jonathan and Hilary (5), Darren, Dan, Ivan, Carol, Jeanne, Debra, her son Eric (12), Nicole (11), Kathy, Barbara her son Sean (11), Paul and Joni. We also had three dogs along.

Darren, Gareth, Gillian and I arrived early (at 11:45AM) . A short while later, as Tim and his kids arrived ... it began to rain.

By the time Paula Burton and her crew arrived (ten minutes later), I had my umbrella up. Rain !! Today of all days ! (we had been lucky with the weather until then). I was worried that this was going to decimate the turnout. Fortunately, most were en-route and were stalwart enough not to let rain deter them.

I chatted with Paula as the others arrived. She was concerned about the effect of the rain on the TV equipment, but the camera and sound guys just covered their gear with special waterproof bags and said "don't worry". I could sense Paula getting more and more surprised as more people kept arriving.

Before we could begin the hike, Paula and crew wanted to interview me sitting on a tree stump in the dry (under a very large tree). They "wired me for sound" with a microphone that had it's own transmitter and Paula asked the usual series of questions. These got me going quite nicely. The interview lasted about 15 minutes. I think I did OK ... it will be interesting to see what "sound-bites" they clip out of it (EXTRA is a very fast- paced show ... they tell me the final piece (incl. Richards interview and walk) will only be 2 to 3 minutes (?) long).

While this was going on (so obnoxious!), the poor East Bay Barefoot Hikers were patiently waiting in the rain. I was glad to get the hike underway. The crew came along with us filming and interviewing us as we walked along (sometimes filming and walking backwards with the sound guy "driving"). Paula did not go barefoot. She claimed that with the wet slippery ground and having to interview people in motion ... she couldn't cope with it.

Although the rain was light and steady ... it was warm !. We soon discovered that it gave the ground an interesting "just wetted" feel ... and started to thoroughly enjoy the experience. Nicole and Gareth called out from ahead about a particularly gooey section of mud. Soon pretty much everybody was sampling it with glee. The film crew (who were interviewing Kathy and Sean as they walked along) rushed up to capture the sight of all the adults and kids enjoying the "gourmet mud".

Paula admitted that we seemed a lot more sure-footed than her and the crew on the steeper and slippery sections of trail. I was asked "what are the downsides to barefoot hiking" I answered ... "well, occasionally I will pick up a small thorn, but they are usually pretty easy to pluck out. They are really nothing compared to the blisters (that I told you about earlier, that I no longer get, and that used to bother me much more)". I omitted actually saying the bit in brackets because I didn't want to be repetitive. Thinking about it later, if they cut that a certain way, it would sound like "we get thorns and worse ... we also get blisters". I begin to see how quotes out of context can so easily happen. I called Kelly Murphy later and asked her to make a note of it.

There are a large number of stream-crossings on this trail (it's actually the same stream meandering back and forth). On a typical day, we would be in for a delightful series of trail sections of various consistencies, alternating with cool pebbly foot-baths. Today, however, it was clear we were not going to get as far as usual. Although the rain was thankfully warm, we were all getting quite drenched. I was hoping to at least get as far as the first stream crossing. This we did, but Paula and the camera-crew didn't want to get their shoes wet and continue with us. We encouraged them to remove footwear ... but to no avail. They satisfied themsleves with a few final interviews and filming the party crossing the swollen stream. It was at this point that, in response to Darren's quip "I believe in the Right to Bear Arms and the Right to Bare Feet", that the sound guy chirped up with "I think we've got our sound-bite !!".

The party went just a little further and ate lunch under a large tree. Funny, as soon as the TV crew turned around to go back ... the rain stopped !!. We weren't too long eating lunch, and being as wet as we were, we decided to take the return journey the same way we had come. With the rain stopped and the media attention removed, it was more like a regular hike again. Most of us felt that was kind of fun to walk in the rain (reminded me of my College hiking days in Wales). Even so, getting thoroughly wet usually (both from desire and practicality) means a truncated hike.

When we got back to the parking lot, the TV crew was still packing up. So, we chatted with them a while longer (off camera).

I'm told by Kelly Murphy that the tentative date/time for the airing is Saturday 30th of March at 4pm.
In the Bay Area that is on KPIX (channel 5).

-- Mike Berrow

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