My amazing girlfriend Sonia and I recently went camping in the DuPuis Management Area of the South Florida Water Management District. It was a quick weekend trip that was quite amazing and I had tried something very new to me, Hiking Barefoot.
Leaving the car, my feet were protected by my normal, everyday, shoes. We hiked the east side of the loop trails in the beaming sun, taking several breaks whenever we found a spot of shade. Finally we arrived at the campsite near the end of the second loop,. We had planned on staying for the night, carrying all the necessary gear, food and extra water to do just that.
We took off our shoes, spread out over the ground taking an extended lunch. During which we decided to head back to the campground, which circled a little pond, since we had plenty of time to make it back. I decided I’d try walking out barefoot and put my shoes into my pack when we had finished lounging around. This would be new, and the terrain was mostly grassy so it shouldn’t be to bad to attempt. If it felt too rough I could always put my shoes back on.
I’ve never been good walking barefoot, pretty much I’m the biggest wimp ever, but during the last few months I’ve had a mild interest in doing so around the house. I would walk barefoot whenever taking out the trash and it has been getting easier. As I bent down to pick up my backpack a thought sparked through my mind, woah! I will have to carry this weight as well as my own, on my naked bare feet. I hoist the pack up and continue on anyway, out the way we walked in.
Sonia took the lead, watching for any ant mounds that might be trouble. This was my primary concern. Fire ants. I had thought about it on the way in, as we had seen some some areas with many ant holes. I feel like walking at speed shouldn’t be a problem, it is very likely the ants would not react fast enough to grip onto the foot before it lifts, but I wasn’t going to test it.
The grass was stiff, pokey and much more wild than the grass in the yard at home. Immediately after leaving the shaded areas the ground my feet would begin frying. Very much like eggs on a frying pan. Within a few steps I was hurrying to the next shaded area. It was just over three-miles to the car, and most of that was not shaded but rather filled with direct sunlight!
I made it out with a few brief ‘ow’ moments, turns out there were some thorns in the grass every now and again. Once we reached the car I inspected my feet and removed a splinter or two from the balls of my feet. There were four pinholes in the balls of my feet or on the toes and one minor cut. It felt pretty nice, but my feet need a lot more hardened conditioning before it would be a walk in the park!