Thursday, June 14, 2012

Where Few Have Dared to Tread

So today, as the first day I'm actually attempting to make Primal changes to my life, I decided to add some "move slowly" activity to my life.
Now, I normally do plenty of that anyway... at my job, I spend 9+ hours on my feet, walking/lifting/carrying/standing (mostly standing/walking).  However, I wanted to get out and get some fresh air, and some sun, so I went to Arabia Mountain park, near my house.
I took my hammer, Deich, with me, because that's what Urban Primalist recommends.  You'd think that only 10 lbs wouldn't be a huge deal, but while it was certainly manageable, it DID make a noticeable difference in my trek.  In addition to this, I made some of the hike barefoot.
Minimalist/barefoot walking and running has become more popular lately, and I have to say that after attempting it, I can see what people are on about.  It definitely does make a difference in the way one walks.  Heavy shoes, with an intentional elevation difference between the ball of the foot and the heel, cause people to strike with the heel first when walking, and that seems to me to add impact to the leg that travels up to the knee and hip, it confines and deadens the foot, atrophying the foot muscles that are supposed to be balancing and supporting, and it removes a bunch of feedback from the ground around you.
I have to say, it was like having a whole new sense with which to absorb the world around me.  The path was relatively clear, being either bare earth or dead pine straw (that background image on my blog is from the trail I took for part of the trip) and I found myself taking shorter strides, paying more attention to where I was going to place my feet, and intentionally stepping with the balls of my feet first.  It's amazing how springy your own steps feel when you realize that it's supposed to work this way.
I could only do about a quarter mile of my 2.25 mile hike barefoot.  Partly because my body's not used to walking like that yet and it's going to take some time for me to develop the foot and leg musculature that I should've had in my adolescence.  Another reason, though, was that a good portion of my hike is over a large, flat, rock outcropping.  South Georgia is warm in the Summer and the rock was very hot to the touch.  I didn't want to develop heat blisters on my feet before I even managed to work the muscles at all.
I took some pictures of the trail, and thought I'd share them with you so you can see how I try, in my limited way, to get back to nature.

This is the wooded part of the trail, where I really felt like I was a hero on an adventure.  Shut up, I'm entitled to a little escapism.

 This is one of the stone cairns they have spaced along the outcropping in a meandering trail, so that you can see where you're supposed to go.  I of course wandered off the path.  The goal is to get to the lake, but I wanted to move around some more and see different perspectives of the place.  You can see the cairns in the background leading off toward the lake.

This is a small structure near where the path leaves the woods and you have to start following the cairns.  It reminded me of a weird, post-apocalyptic setting where some people have reverted to a paleolithic state, scribbling pictures and ideas on walls.  I preferred it to thinking about people coming out to getting drunk and high while vandalizing the nature reserve, though to do that I had to ignore the broken beer bottles and marijuana paraphernalia that littered this little place.

I think maybe the outcrop was a quarry at some point because their are clear, arrow-straight cuts along lots of the rock you see scattered about.  These pieces (which I feel could go toward making some very expensive, high-end tables and counter tops) were in a largish pit who's walls were as straight and smooth as the debris you see here.

This picture in particular makes me feel as though I'm in a scene from the Road Warrior.  The front of the sign was so sun-faded it was nearly impossible to read the warning to not vandalize and to report criminal activity to Parks and Recreation.

I plan on making at least one hike a week to try to get out of the house, but I'm hoping to find some different trails in other areas of the park for a change of scenery.  I'll let you know what I find.


  1. What a beautiful place to take your hammer for a walk. Barefooting really does offer a whole new dimension to appreciate nature. Great article :)

    1. Thanks! It was a lot of fun! I look forward to exploring some new trails and eventually running barefoot around te whole place!