Monthly Archives: August 2017

My Favorite Summer Hikes

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
– Walt Whitman

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

Although the summer isn’t officially over for about three weeks, I return to work as a teacher tomorrow. What does that mean? That means summer hiking is pretty much done. I am hoping that I will be able to get out when I can, but the wonderful morning hikes that I have enjoyed the last couple of months will fade as quickly as the summer has.

Without a doubt, this summer has really been a good one for hiking. Although it has been filled with many rainy days, that was far outweighed by the beautiful mornings filled with blue skies and nice cool temperatures. This post is going to quickly cover my three favorite hikes of the summer. If you have been following my posts this summer, this list shouldn’t really surprise anyone!

Number One-Anthony’s Nose:

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Going to the Nose has been a source of refuge, peace and tranquility for many, many years. When I have good days, bad days and really bad days, the Nose has always been there. That’s all I have to say about that….

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Almost a perfect view!

Number Two-Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

This is a newcomer to my favorite list. In the past couple of weeks I have really come to love hiking here. Well maintained and blazed trails make hiking a really nice experience.  With the marked trails as well as the connector trails, you can shorten or lengthen a planned hike any number of ways. And if you don’t eat during your hike you can take advantage of the numerous picnic tables that are situated throughout the reservation. I am really excited about getting out there in the fall when the leaves change colors.

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The gateway to my favorite hikes in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The gateway to peace and tranquility!

Number Three-Bear Mountain

Located directly across the Hudson River from Anthony’s Nose, this hike has it all. Thigh numbing climbs, views up the Hudson, down the Hudson and all the way to NYC (if the weather permits).

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With the incredible amount of hikes in this area as well as thinking about the ones that I did this summer, it was difficult to pick my favorite ones. The ones that made my top three list were the ones that I have developed an affection for. Ones where I know I can go to recharge the batteries or just find some peace. They vary in length, but that isn’t the most important thing-keeping my peace of mind is.

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

“Act as the master of your life by putting your health, well being and happiness first.”

-Mariana Olszewski

“If you learn to create the right kind of climate in your body, mind, and emotion, your health and wellbeing and joy-everything will be taken care of.”

-Sadhguru

Being a teacher, I am blessed every year with having summers off. Although won’t see any kids until after Labor Day, I do have to go in tomorrow and Thursday for meetings. Every year in June I make a pledge to myself that I am going to get out and hike as much as possible. To get out and really put in the miles, see the views and do hikes I have never done before. Unfortunately, this usually ends up not being the case. Many times life takes over and prevents me from getting the hikes in that I have always wanted to do. And believe it or not, my own laziness has stopped me as well! Now I’m not saying that I haven’t hiked during past summers, it just has never been at the volume I would have liked.

As the school year drew to a close this year I made the same pledge. This will be the year that I get out as much as I can to do as much hiking as I could fit into the summer! I’m not going to lie, this school year was a really stressful one and the summer has been even more so. I really needed to commit to this!!! 

One of the other things that not many people know is that in November of 2014 I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. Although I have always hiked and rode a stationary bike, this was not only a surprise, but a life changing diagnosis.

When I left the office that day, I thought that not only my hiking days were over, but my life as I knew it. I was really disheartened (no pun intended) at first when I was doing the stress test and did not even last 30 seconds on the treadmill. I knew that if I had continued I would have dropped. When I met with my cardiologist a couple of days later, we talked about the diagnosis and what it meant for me. I asked him when I could resume exercising and much to my surprise he said that I could do so immediately.

So here I am almost three years later. I have gone from not lasting 30 seconds on a treadmill to doing an 11 mile hike last week and completing 27 hikes to this point this summer.

Please don’t think that I am fishing for compliments or sympathy. I am simply pointing out that even in the darkest moments (thinking I was quite literally given a death sentence) that you can come back from that and resume an active lifestyle.

The most important thing to take from this is: All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. At first it hurts and it sucks. We all have days where you don’t want to do anything, walk, ride, get out of bed. But you have to do it! I know for me the alternative was….well you can figure it out…

Red->Green (27)

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

-Nhat Hanh

“Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path.”

-Nhat Hanh

It was another beautiful morning here in the Hudson Valley for hiking! When I started at 5:50 am, it was a pretty chilly 52 degrees with clear skies. What a great day to be out in the woods! Today’s hike was a decent one. I did my favorite Red Trail, came back around and then figured I would also do the Green Trail as well. Excellent hiking!

Since I am having some issues downloading pictures, today’s post will be photo free!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/28/17-9.1-151.82

The Beauty Of Flowers

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

-Victor Hugo

“The earth laughs in flowers.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Just living is not enough…One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.”

-Hans Christian Andersen

Today my kids and I visited with my dad and at this time of the year his yard is always filled with some really beautiful flowers. Of course I couldn’t resist taking pictures of them so I could share them with you. For me, they give me a sense of well being and overall peace. I was actually thinking of framing a couple of them.

The first one is my favorite. I have always loved the darker orange like colors.

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I love the contrast between the two colors.

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The contrast here is also striking. 

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A little psychedelic splash!

The these last two photos remind of some of the animation sequences in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

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Can you see the orange glow of the fire inside? Mesmerizing…

 

Say It Ain’t So…(26)

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

-John Ruskin

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Who would have thought that on August 25th the temperature at the start of my hike at 11:45 am would be 68 degrees with very low humidity? Not me!! This summers weather has been absolutely crazy.  In between all of the rain and the relatively low temperatures, hiking certainly has been interesting. Since I got a pretty late start today, I went ahead and hiked what I am now calling the Modified Red Trail. This gives me a good hike with some distance, several climbs and flat sections.

Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/25/17-6.1-142.72

The Three Stooges

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

― Anatole France

“Animals are such agreeable friends―they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”

― George Eliot

Here is a post that has nothing to do with hiking!

We have three members of our family who bring a great deal of happiness to the humans in our house. You have seen Jase a few times and he is the biggest of the three. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that because he is the largest animal that he rules the roost. He takes the brunt of the abuse from the other two. (Never mean spirited!)

Luna, the rabbit, can  be the most intimidating of the three. Totally unassuming, she roams around the house and drinks water out of the dogs water dish and will not let him drink until she is finished! If he tries, Luna will let him know he needs to wait. Hmmm…the dog weighs 90 pounds!

Serius the cat, thinks that he is stealthy but he is not to good at it. He spends most of his time attacking the dog (never maliciously) and waits for the dog to respond. Much to his dismay, the dog never even tries to retaliate. But he keeps trying.

Anyway, it’s great having three animals with such different personalities in the house. Even though they kind of harass each other from time to time, it’s always nice to see the rabbit and the cat sleeping together or the dog and the cat sitting with each other on the couch. Each one is a full member of the family!!!

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Jase

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We couldn’t find Luna until we looked under my daughter’s bed. She probably wanted to be left alone!

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Serius doing what he does best.

My Dogs Are Barking!!!! (25)

“Holy crap my feet hurt.”

-MPD

I have been wanting to do a long(er) hike for a couple of weeks. With the exception of few hikes earlier in the summer, most of my excursions into the woods have averaged between 4-6 miles. As is usually the case, I know that physically it would not be an issue to do a longer hike, it always ends up being a mental one. Today, however, I really wanted to do at least ten miles.

I decided that I would hike the Red Trail twice with a little extra on a side trip on a connector trail. The trail was so nice, I had to do it twice! Storms had moved through last night so I anticipated the rocks on the trail being a little slick. Besides that, the humidity was pretty low and the temperature was around 65 degrees. Pretty decent hiking weather!

Back 20-25 years ago, hikes longer than 10 miles were not uncommon. At my advanced age of 52, however, I don’t want to do anything stupid to where I couldn’t hike due to an overuse injury. Since I really haven’t done any long hikes in some time, I thought today was the day!

Please forgive this first picture, but I was even a little shocked when I took my boots off and this is what I saw!

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My crusty feet after 11.5 miles.

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The first moment when I realized that it was daytime!

After hiking for about 3 miles, I thought it would be a good time to stop and eat some breakfast.

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After I finished the first loop, I took some time to change my socks and air out my feet. I also used this time to get my feet and mind psyched for the next loop.

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During the second loop, I almost stepped on this little guy. Luckily he didn’t run away until after I had snapped a couple of pictures.

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Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/23/17-11.5-136.62