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Pre-dawn Hour – 80º

July 28, 2011
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This morning I got out at 5:30 for a short walk of 4 miles.  Looking into the Nevada dawn, the moon hung low over the hills, crescent turned up like the horns of a bull dragging the sun slowly over the horizon.  After a moment’s appreciation, I turned my back and headed west.

3 more days before the walk.


Healthy Community Walks

July 26, 2011


While I was walking on the consistently flat track at the local college yesterday, enjoying a surface far better than the roads I’ve been walking, a very teacherly thought struck me.

To encourage the community in healthy lifestyle, I could set-up a regular walking schedule with a twist.  I could provide short readings of a few paragraphs, or reproductions of art, or simply lead a discussion of science news and philosophy, the directions we don’t often get to enjoy in our day to day lives.

The walk sessions would nurture the mind as well as the body and give walkers more than just the exercise they could do on their own.

7 more days to the sea

First Steps Video

July 24, 2011

This is the text of the Steps to the Sea with images from my usual walking area and from the ocean at Goat Rock.

Walking into the Dawn

July 23, 2011
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Walking into the Dawn

Last night I stayed in Lodi at a friend’s house.  Since we were all leaving early, I got up at 4:30 to get a short walk before departure.  The delta breeze was brisk and cool but drier than that of the ocean though the train passing sounded like the continuous thunder of waves on the beach.  Meanwhile, the starlings calling good morning to each other around the well-lit, perfectly level residential streets reminded me with every step that this was terrain my feet did not know.

I headed west until the sun rose then turned and walked into the dawn.

8 days.

Modified Stride

July 20, 2011

With my feet still giving me a bit of pain, I set out to walk this morning with a new stride motion.  Less knee extension and a bit more flexion meant softer impact and probably more importantly, less flexion of the achilles. I also played with a more toe-in position for my feet which reminded me of the poem “Hitch” by Nick Bantock (reproduced here without permission, also recited many times during my walk without permission).


On a boat, ona lake, on the twenty-third,

I witnessed and event that was really quite absurd.

A pigeon-toed pigeon towed a pigeon and a toad.

Who sank, from verbal overload.


Overall, I feel better.  My time was slightly longer but I stopped to ask for art supplies from a house getting torn up for remodel and to talk with a neighbour about taking their gorgeous Alsation out for walks and also a leap into the roadside shrubbery when the traffic demanded more space.


12 days

Steps to the Sea

July 19, 2011

The sun slants low into the forest, lighting redwood, madrone, elm and oak.

A light breeze sighs in the canopy.

Birds twitter and sing in every direction as squirrels chatter and scold.

This is where my steps to the sea started. Without knowing, the event started in my doctors’ offices. “Exercise is one of the best remedies you can do for the things going on with your health” she said.

I started walking. It’s important to me to contribute to my community, so within a week or two I was asking myself how I might make my walking something others would benefit from as well. I thought about ways I could encourage my friends and neighbours to join me, sharing my healthful activity with them. That seemed too small. I thought of putting together a site dedicated to exercise, activity and health. I was developing concepts for how I would present it when I realised my master’s of science and experiences with both marine biology and my LifePlace, the bioregion of the Napa River watershed, could all go together in this and benefit populations much broader than my original vision.

I planned to walk from my home to the ocean. It would highlight how closely connected we are to everything around us, even though we may spend most of the day indoors. Our use of resources and disposal of consumable goods like plastic shopping bags impacts the land but we can work to limit the ramifications. Connecting our shopping with the ocean, I think first of the bags and bits of plastic which resemble jellies or even plankton in the eyes of hungry creatures or parents out to fill their babies’ bellies. Turtles, whales and others fill their bellies with plastic. Birds stuff it into their young. Imagine starving because your body tells you that you need no food since you’re full and yet you get no nutrition. These animals slowly starve to death. I hope to highlight this aspect of our place in the web of life.

This connection at large and small levels ties us together in a consilient interdependence we cannot ignore, or do so at our own peril. However, when I attempted an unsupported marathon carrying two gallons of water on my back, I realised there were limitations to the body even when mind and spirit were willing.

I decided to start at my local library as a symbol of knowledge and information to walk the 52 miles out to the Pacific as a way to encourage others to educate themselves on their own lifeplaces. St. Helena to Jenner in one day. I would complete my own epic quest.

Carrying cameras, I could record the event and make a documentary. To manage this I decided to split the walk into four days. I would film and upload each day, allowing myself nearly unlimited footage.

Then the challenges began and allies appeared.

The schedule changed, leaving  me with only one option which would still satisfy my goals.  I had to do it in one day.

I injured my feet having purchased the wrong shoes for the task ahead. Looking for expertise from the running community, I spoke to the owner of Fleet Feet in Santa Rosa. She was tremendously helpful, going so far as to replace my shoes with a model better suited to the style of use I planned. Unfortunately, I still needed to take a few days off. I went 4 days off. I tried another day out but hurt enough to consider stopping after only one mile. Instead of stopping I decided to plan another day off.

Now I’m walking again, and a good thing, since my event has been shifted back to a one-day affair less than two weeks away.

I’ll walk through my LifePlace to Jenner, to the ocean. Fort Ross Lodge has made available to me a wonderful discount so that I might recuperate in the solitude and peace there above the cliffs. My steps to the sea will have ended but my work to educate on our land must continue.