On Sunday, April 14th, the East Bay Barefoot Hikers met in Redwood Regional Park and hiked the West Ridge, Madrone, and Tres Sendas trails.
Fourteen people took part including myself, my son Gareth (12), Tim and his kids Christopher (7), the twins Jonathan and Hilary (5), Darren, Eric (12), Peter and his wife Sandy, Phoebe (10), Fred, Duane and Phoebe ("big" Phoebe).
Gareth and I picked up Eric, (little) Phoebe, Fred and Darren from various places in the white "Footmobile". We arrived at the trail-head around 1:00pm
After the usual preliminaries (including being photographed as a group by a friendly passer-by) we set off along the mostly sandy West Ridge Trail. The park authorities have seen fit to dump about ten yards of gravel right at the beginning of the trail. I'm tempted to bring a rake on the next hike there, arrive ten minutes early, and clear a nice foot-friendly path through it.
The pace was fairly quick on this day. The only "beginner" was Sandy ... and she wasn't exactly new to barefooting. She has tales to tell about summer barefooting in San Francisco in her younger days.
We encountered a couple coming the other way, who said "So, you're the Barefoot Hikers ?!!". "Yes !!" we said. "Great !" they said, "We're the bareheaded hikers" (they weren't wearing hats). There's always a new line.
We had a long leasurely stop for lunch at the picnic area by the archery range. Gareth and Phoebe were shown how to "whittle" using pen-knives by Duane. Darren told people of some of his research findings on barefoot issues.
After lunch, we climbed to the top of a hill known as "Redwood Peak". It was crowned by some very large, rounded rocks. There was NO view ... too many trees. The kids stood on the rocks to get to the maximum height.
We traveled back along the winding, silent redwood trails. The pine-needle and soft dirt covered surfaces were so cool, and pleasant that I felt as if I was literally "floating" along. One section of trail had "puddles" of yellow sand that young Phoebe insisted on sampling individually.
We encountered a few other incredulous hikers along the way. One rather portly-looky, bearded chap appeared from behind a tree exclaiming loudly "I can't believe what I'm seeing !", "I'd die without my shoes". I just shrugged, said "believe it!" and pressed on ... I wasn't in the mood for a debate with someone so terminally shod.
We rejoined the West-Ridge trail for the return leg. Gareth and Eric had been playing hacky-sack along there on the way out, and had lost the hacky-sack over a steep edge. Eric was determined to retrieve it and impressed us all with his barefoot climbing ability over very steep terrain. We thought it was lost forever, but he emerged from the brush, victorious.
Another great hike :-)
-- Mike Berrow
-- East Bay Barefoot Hikers
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