Monthly Archives: May 2019

My Favorite Place At A Snails Pace

“I dressed and went for a walk – determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer.”
–   Raymond Carver, This Morning

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Of course with the long weekend ahead of us, it makes perfect sense that I would make the choice to get out into the woods. So at 5:00 am I left a nice warm bed to make the journey over to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Even though it was 64 degrees, a pretty strong wind was blowing, making it feel much cooler than it was. Any way you look at it, it was perfect hiking weather.

Last year before my ill-fated backpacking trip, I had bought another pair of Vasque St. Elias GTX  backpacking boots. Finally, today, I decided to start breaking them in. Compared to the last three pairs I have had, these killed my feet. Instead of the usual Green to Red trail, I decided to tackle the Brown trail. At 5.3 miles, the terrain isn’t that bad and with a couple of hills thrown in, it makes for a really nice hike.

The start of the hike.

So off I went new boots and all, thinking it wasn’t going to be that bad. Now, of course, I can’t just blame the boots, because I was damn tired. For whatever reason, I had two speeds today-really slow and stop.

But that’s ok. I was still outside, I was still hiking and all was good! Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the perfect place to take stock of what’s going on and to also clear your mind. Getting out that early is almost beyond perfect solely based on the fact that at that time of the morning no one else is out.

The Brown Trail at different points.

For me, the fact that I get to hike alone and not be bothered by anyone or anything is exactly what I need to stay sane. Today I just wished my feet didn’t hurt as much as they did. But enough of the whining, even with the new boots it still beats being inside!

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #5-5/24/19-5.3-22.8

Nice And Easy, Cool And Breezy

“Hiking and happiness go hand in hand or foot in boot.”

-Diane Spicer

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Another beautiful day in the Hudson Valley to get out hiking! At 5:40 am, it was a chilly 48 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze. Since it is only my fourth hike, the idea was once again to keep things relatively easy.  I have to admit I’m still just a little apprehensive about really pushing it, but the good thing is the ankle still feels great.

After weeks of on again off again rain, the woods were pristine, and more importantly, they were alive.

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The start of a shelter, right off of the trail.

Looking at the forecast, Memorial Day weekend is looking pretty good to get some hikes in, Let’s hope so!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #4-5/18/19-5.5-17.5

Silence Is Golden

“The silence was an intense roar.”

-Jack Kerouac

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One of the things that I like the most about hiking is that I have the ability (if I choose the right trail and time), to hike in almost perfect silence. Besides the wind blowing through the trees or the occasional chipmunk or squirrel running through the woods, most of the time I am fortunate to be able to walk in complete utter silence.

This is indeed a beautiful thing based on the fact that my days are spent in a high school surrounded by 1,600 students. Needless to say, my days are filled with varying degrees of talking, screaming, and laughter, all at a decibel that would rival a jumbo jet taking off. All that for almost seven hours a day.

So it is silence that I seek the end of the day, especially at this time of year. Students know that the end of the school year is just around the corner and obviously so do the teachers. Thoughts are on the end of the year exams, completing work (on time and late), and just the frenzied free for all that all teachers call “the end of the year.”

So it is the time when the students walk out the door for the last time and the teachers are soon to follow that we each choose our destination and activity to recharge the batteries and regain the Zen needed to make it through another year.

I know, boo hoo for the poor teachers who have the entire summer off! All of that aside, we all should have a place where we can go and know that for even a short period of time nothing is able to disturb us so we can regain our sanity!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

The Beauty (And Zen) Of Mowing Your Lawn

“I mow my own lawn.”

-Ron Reagan

 

The before and after of mowing my lawn. A Zen Paradise!

When I started this blog I told a story about how much I loved mowing my lawn. The smell of gas, the roar of the engine and that awesome smell of freshly cut grasss is second to none. Although I missed an entire season of mowing last summer, I’m glad that I’ve been able to mow my lawn twice already this season. And as I knew it would be, it was almost as good as going on a hike. And to this day none of that has changed.

The two places that I feel most at peace are hiking and then mowing my lawn.

Now when I tell folks of my love of mowing, I always, yes, always get a strange look and the question, “Why?”

It’s hard to explain. When I am mowing my lawn I am laser-focused on what I am doing. If anyone tries to talk to me or yell at me from a distance, I always point to my ear as if to say “I can’t hear you.” Of course, there is always the safety issue. What if I were to divert my attention to you and I slipped on the grass? For safety’s sake!!!!! I’m pretty sure that would be worse than shooting my eye out.

So I am able to basically shut everything out, work stress, home stress and stress in general by doing the two things I love.

I recently read a story where doctors in Australia were writing prescriptions for people to be outside to help with stress etc. I wonder if my doctor will give me a prescription to mow my lawn?

Back On The Trail!!!

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”

-Jack Kerouac

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If every morning could be like this morning, hiking would always be easy and life would be perfect. With clear blue skies and a starting temperature of 48 degrees, it was a beautiful morning to get out into the woods for a hike.

Since this is only my third hike since my surgery, I’m still keeping things kind of slow and trying to stay on trails that I know aren’t that difficult. So at around 5:30 am I headed out to Ward Pound Ridge. With a Phish show from 12/29/18 playing on the Jeep’s stereo, all was right with the world.

All told I hiked 5.1 miles this morning. I think that once I can get out more often than I

am now, my legs and feet won’t hurt as much as they did. They know as well as I do that they haven’t been out in the woods for a loooong time. But that’s ok. I’ve got between now and the summer break and then two glorious months to try and get out every day.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage:

Hike#3-5/11-5.1-12

A Foggy Day In May

“Without adventure civilization is in full decay.”

-Alfred North Whitehead

Despite the fog, a mud-covered trail, and only hiking twice in the last ten months, today’s hike was beautiful. Needless to say, it was tougher than I thought it would be. Ever since being given the go-ahead by the PT and the doctor, I have been riding the stationary bike to get back into hiking shape.

Even with the riding,  as well as being very familiar with Ward Pound Ridge, it was still strange being out on the trail. Strange, yes, but very, very nice. Ok, so now the plan is to keep riding the bike and then hike when I can. It looks like hiking is back on the schedule! It felt good to be out again.

So today I decided to head out to Ward Pound Ridge since I know the terrain pretty well and the loop I chose really wasn’t that difficult. The whole idea was just to get out into the woods and to get the legs moving.  Even though the scar from the surgery burned a little and the left side of my foot is still numb, the ankle held up fine.

I am looking forward to the rest of the spring and then a long summer of hiking…

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage:

Hike#2-5/4-3.7-6.9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Let Them Know, It Could Save Your Life

“We don’t stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking.”

-Finis Mitchell 

“A ship is safe in harbor. but that’s not what ships are built for.”

-John A. Shedd

I was on Facebook the other day and I was reading a post by a gentleman by the name of Rob Davidson who came up with an interesting form to leave for folks when you go hiking. Not only did I take a great deal of it to make my own form, but I also added a section on the back where I list each of the medications that I am taking and any allergies that I may have.

Now, believe me, it’s not that I didn’t take my safety and the safety of others seriously prior to last summers mishap, but I’ve taken it a step further. The form, which is two-sided provides your family and potential rescuers with all of the information that they will need to assist in finding you if something goes wrong on a hike.

The best thing about this form is that it is quick and easy to fill out and just as easy for anyone who picks it up to understand. As Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts ma’am.” Only the most critical and pertinent information should be provided to your family and the authorities. As far as I am concerned, the less useless information folks have to sift through the better. That makes sense, yes?

So at the top of the form, we have my name and then the date that the hike is happening. Obviously, if you are going for multiple days, you would include them all.

Next is a pretty critical section. “If you don’t hear from me by:” says it all. This gives the reader a time and date to expect you back or hear from you. Please note the caveat below because we all have had times where you could just be running late and not in any kind of trouble.

Equally as important is your itinerary. Where are you hiking? Will you be on multiple trails? Do you plan on spending some time on a particular viewpoint? Where will your car be parked? These are all questions that you should consider when completing this section of the form.

Next, I have included a section where you can tell the reader whether you are hiking solo or with others. Did you just get separated from a group? Did you fall ill or injure yourself and others have gone to get help? If I was hiking with another person, I would also include at least one additional phone number so if my phone has no service, it may still be possible to contact that other person.

The last three sections are easy ones. All you have to do is describe what you are wearing, provide a description of your car with the license, plate number, cell phone and lastly, what medications you are taking.

When I was a younger man I would have scoffed at the idea that I needed to fill something like this out just to go on a day hike or an overnight backpacking trip.

But when you are hit directly in the face with a serious dose of reality, it tends to change your mind. I would suggest that hikers of all ages at least take a look at the form and then decide, “Is it worth the five minutes out this form to let my family and loved ones know where I am?”

If not, I would suggest asking Aron Ralston the very same question.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Obviously, the boxes below would be larger for the areas of trip information, hiking solo or with others and medications. 

Hike Plan For Michael Doyle

Date:

 

 

If you do not hear from me by:

 

If you do not hear from me by the time above, I may be in trouble, running late or may have no service on my cell. Please check for voicemail messages or texts that may give you more information.

Trip Information:

 

Am I hiking SOLO or with OTHERS?

 

What am I wearing?

 

Car/Cell:

 

Medications Currently Taking:

 

 If you have any questions or comments please let me know!!!!