Monthly Archives: September 2015

Should I or shouldn’t I?

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

Henry David Thoreau

Even though I briefly touched upon this subject in my first blog, I thought a more concise explanation was necessary.

As I was contemplating the merits of writing a blog about my journeys throughout the Hudson Valley, I found myself conflicted. Conflicted about what you may ask? How could I possibly have an issue with writing about my favorite (and maybe not so favorite) hikes? Well, It seems as though many of the hikes in the area were relatively unknown until they either appeared in a magazine, newspaper or blog. After people read about them, all of a sudden they became the place to go. Whereas in the past, even on a weekend, many excellent hikes that never had many people were now packed to the gills.

A classic example of this is Breakneck Ridge. Ever since it was voted the #1 hike in North America, it is now inundated with hikers every weekend and holiday. When I say inundated, I don’t mean a small trickle of folks. I really mean a swarm of people from places as far south as New Jersey and well into Dutchess county and north. It even now has its own tiny Metro North station! You used to have to walk to the Ridge from the Garrison station a couple of miles away.

A good friend of mine who I have been hiking with for over twenty years, used to love to hike Breakneck Ridge. When he does go now, he says that the number of people has multiplied exponentially and with it the amount of trash, poor behavior and destruction to the trail. So I thought about and I had to make a decision. If I write about the hikes I love, would I also be contributing to the demise of the places I go to reclaim my sanity and zen? I decided that it would be better to share the hikes I love as well as why I love them and hope that others will treat every trail with the same amount of affection and reverence that I do. Anyway, if I decided that I wouldn’t write about my experiences hiking in the area, what would I write about?

Why hike?

People often ask me, “Why do you hike?” You would think that this would be an easy question to answer, but it isn’t. Is it because I love the outdoors? Sure. Is it for the physical benefits that I get to help ease the transition to old(er) age? Of course. But it is much deeper than that. Hiking provides me with a sense of well being that can only be found at the top of hill after hiking for several hours. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. I have found that each season and each type of weather provides its own type of solace.

John Muir summed it up perfectly when he said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.” Who can argue with that? I have been hiking for a good part of my life and with each passing year I find the woods calling me to them more often than not. Feeling the earth under my feet, if only for a few miles, has done more to set my head straight after a bad day than anything that a doctor could prescribe.

  So the next question is, “Why blog?” And my answer to that is, “why not?” The goal of this blog is simple. I want to share my love of the Hudson Valley and the outdoors with everyone who chooses to read this. If even one person who has never had the pleasure of hiking in this area decides to get out and go hike, then  good for them. They will hopefully then experience the same sense of well being that I have come to expect every time that I venture onto a trail.