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Sgathak
2003-05-06, 03:27
Anybody do it? I just started getting my feet in shape for it. It doesnt seem to take as long as people think it might, and it has left my feet in excellent shape.

Pragmatically, Ive also been able to toss out the weight associated with both socks AND shoes...

chief
2003-05-06, 08:12
i've seen a couple of people do it. of course they weren't exactly playing with a full deck! firewalkers unite!

BigSac
2003-05-06, 11:13
Three weeks ago I was on a day hike at Point Reyes National Seashore just north of San Francisco when I saw a man jogging barefoot uphill on a fairly steep grade. He had on bike shorts, a windbreaker tied around his waist, a water bottle and that was it. I was a little suprised because I was about six miles from the nearest trailhead. But of course this is California and you see a lot of strange things out here.

cldphoto
2003-05-06, 15:29
To each his or her own, I suppose. Personally, I use shoes; in the desert, there are all kinds of nasty poky things on the trails, be it animal, vegetable, or mineral. I go barefoot in the grass and on the beach, and that's about it.

FWIW, I believe several Olympians have run barefoot. I want to say there was a marathon medalist from Kenya that always went shoeless, even on asphalt. That's gotta hurt.

Sgathak
2003-05-07, 03:09
Not really... the human foot is designed to be used sans shoes. We have existed for 5 million years and only in the last 10,000 have we felt a need to cover them.

One of the people I got the idea from for barefoot hiking is Cody Lundin, a survival instructor from Prescott Arizona, who always hikes barefoot.

Barefoot hiking allows the body to work ergonomically... however we have allowed ourselves to become soft... Shoes allow for a weakening of the underfoot, ankle, calves, and knees. They also misalign the back. Hiking barefoot, even on short trips helps to correct that problem.

But then Im one of those guys who will head off into the woods with little more than a pocketknife for a week at a time and regularly practice traditional healthcare techniques soooooooooooo........... take my words with a grain of salt.

(but my FSO weight is 7lbs)

Sgathak
2003-05-07, 04:46
Oh, yeah... BigSac, the three chapters of Barefoot Hikers Assoc in CA are all located around the SF Bay. I wouldnt be surprised if you saw quite a few more.

chief
2003-05-07, 12:09
Originally posted by Sgathak

But then Im one of those guys who will head off into the woods with little more than a pocketknife for a week at a time and regularly practice traditional healthcare techniques soooooooooooo........... take my words with a grain of salt.

Done!

Sgathak
2003-05-07, 15:23
Awww... well now, thats kinda harsh ;)

cldphoto
2003-05-07, 19:55
Originally posted by Sgathak
Not really... the human foot is designed to be used sans shoes. We have existed for 5 million years and only in the last 10,000 have we felt a need to cover them.

One of the people I got the idea from for barefoot hiking is Cody Lundin, a survival instructor from Prescott Arizona, who always hikes barefoot.



I agree with the general gist of your post; yes, humans have gotten soft. Personally, I enjoy the fact that I can commute to work without predators trying to cull me from the herd.

As for Cody Lundin, Prescott is in the mountains, so hiking there is a world apart from hiking in the cactus forests around Tucson. Like I said, lots of painful, sticky things around here. The last thing I want on a hike is a segment of a teddy bear cholla branch buried in the arch of my foot. See http://www.jumpingcholla.com/jce_jumpingcholla.htm

It normally takes a pair of pliers to remove a cholla segment from skin. This would happen no matter how thick my callouses got -- I have seen cholla spines deeply imbedded in wood, i.e. my hiking stick, and in the thickly calloused foot pads of outdoor critters.

Anyway, as for barefoot marathons, turns out I was thinking of Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 Rome Olympic marathon barefoot.

maryphyl
2003-05-08, 00:10
I went hiking around Prescott a couple of months ago--plenty of cactus and the rocks were really rough textured. I could have gone barefoot on the trail though. Prescott is only 5000 feet so it is not really in the mountains--not above the Mogollon Rim.

Sgathak
2003-05-08, 00:29
There are times and places where barefoot hiking doesnt QUITE make sense.

Its also not something you just "do"... you need to work up to it... including the concept, which is often far scarier than the actual hike. It also means you need to be more cautious (dont walk into a Cholla for instance;))

But the Indian tribes along the border rarely wore shoes, and never more than light Yucca fiber sandles until the Spanish came in. Yuma, Papago, and the Tarahumara in Mexico (who still go barefoot through the desert... even running long foot races)

maryphyl
2003-05-08, 00:40
GRIN My feet stay pretty tough in warmer weather. I have never hiked more than a mile barefoot--always a little worried about that splinter. I cross streams barefoot and if there are very many crossings I prefer not to put the shoes back on too often.

Zero Day
2003-05-08, 09:38
I am ready to try it. I remember the first time I slept in the woods alone. A little spooky but a good emotional high. The same thing with sleeping “under the stars” with no shelter. There are times when these things work and feel good, other times it will not work. I guess it is all about the experience.

It fits well with my stove-less, cook-less, food-less hiking. Maybe I can get to FSO = 0 :D

BigSac
2003-05-08, 15:24
Don't let us get you down Squahak; I see where you're coming from--you're a suvivalist; you like to live off the land; there's nothing wrong with that; I can respect that. Many of us would be in big trouble if we lost our backpacks and boots in the middle of nowhere while fording a stream, and it could happen very easily. Those are good skills to have.

Sgathak
2003-05-08, 19:16
Don't let us get you down Sgathak; I see where you're coming from--you're a suvivalist

A bit... I come at the wilderness experience from numerous angles. Survivalism? Sure... inherint to survival is an understanding of the self, environment, tools, techniques, and other things not quite so tangible in and of themslevs. Theres a bit of minimalism in my views, no small amount of religion in my wilderness perspective, and simply a desire to see how far I can (safely) push myself and what I find to be of merit in the wildlands.

Not that I have a snowballs chance in hell of saving up either the money or having the freetime to go, this summer I have an opportunity to go to Russia again and spend a week in Siberia honing my wilderness survival skills. It would be a fantastic experience... but one I would wear shoes for ;)

Sgathak
2003-05-08, 19:59
It fits well with my stove-less, cook-less, food-less hiking. Maybe I can get to FSO = 0

Well... at least wear a loin cloth huh :D hehe

I once went out for 5 days with a pair of tire tread sandles, cut off BDU shorts, and a light wool blanket... total weight couldnt have been more than 3 lbs...but I knew the area... where to find water, what plants were edible, where to find good rocks for tools... It was an absolutly amazing experience.

Sgathak
2003-05-17, 05:57
Did a 5 miler barefoot the other day... my feet arnt QUITE yet ready for much more than that, but found it quite liberating and was FAR more aware of my environment... and not just where I was putting my feet... the feeling of the sand, rocks, sticks were a constant but my feet and legs felt "alive" the whole time... the stream crossings were an absolute joy (instead of "I gotta take my boots off AGAIN")... I saw more wildlife than usual as I was nearly silent along the trail... Deer, Elk, Coyote, Birds, and a little weasel playing with a peice of fern.

All in 5 measly miles.

Even if barefooting isnt something I stick with, the experience (even this small amount) will be something that sticks with me for a long long time.

cldphoto
2003-05-17, 22:19
I envy you, especially when it comes to the stream crossings! Too few of those around here, though I am hiking Aravaipa Canyon two weekends in a row in June.

maryphyl
2003-05-29, 22:51
What do you plan to do with your feet in Aravaipa? As I remember a lot of it is just walking in the stream--I think I must have worn tennies but I don't really remember.

cldphoto
2003-05-30, 00:39
It's a creek hike for over half the route. I had great experience last time with crew hiking socks and ratty sneakers. I was with two others who had Tevas and hiking boots; neither really worked well -- the Tevas kept filling up with pea gravel and the boots got too wet and heavy.

This time I'm taking some lower cut ankle hiking socks, but the same ratty shoes -- should be fine. Can't wait to do the hike.