Monthly Archives: May 2019

Another Beautiful Day

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

-John Burroughs

Every couple of years I need a few days of hiking in the middle of the day to remind me why I get up at 4:30-5:00 am to get out into the woods. I can’t even tell you how many people I encountered today from the front, the rear, the left, and the right. It was absolute insanity. Thankfully summer vacation will be here soon so I can return to my 5:00 am hikes. It is so much more peaceful.

Of course, I fully acknowledge the fact that anyone can hike at any time, but I if I wanted to hang out with that many people when I hike, I would. That partially explains the very, very early morning hikes. When my feet first hit the trail during the summer, it usually isn’t even light out yet. I can’t explain how blissful it is. The other reasons, of course, have to do with the heat of the summer.

IMG_4608  About two hundred yards from the finish to this hike I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. As I looked down, the snake in the picture actually went to bite me! As it slithered off the trail, I immediately took off my pack and got my camera out. I am assuming it is just a large garter snake that was sunning itself on the trail before being startled.

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #7-5/27/19-4.0-32.1

Back On The Brown

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

-John Muir

I know that I have used this quote before, but it speaks so much to why I hike. I don’t think I need to explain, the quote says it all.

We have been blessed with weather this weekend that has been just about as good as it can get. I didn’t get up at my usual five am this morning to hit the trail but instead waited until just about 11:30 am. With a starting temperature of just around 80 degrees, it was much warmer than I was used to, but also noticeably cooler once you got into the woods. A strong breeze was also blowing, making it seem even cooler.

Since I just did this hike the other day, I won’t bore you with the particulars of the hike except that I was moving much faster than the other day. I don’t what the deal was, but I felt much better than I did on Friday.

So instead, I took pictures of different areas of the Brown Trail to share with you.

At certain points, this trail runs parallel to a stream, which due to recent rainfall was still running quite strongly. In a few weeks, it will slow to a trickle if the rain stops falling.

 

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #6-5/26/19-5.3-28.1

 

Return To Stormville

“When I go to a country, I go to flea markets, antique stores. I am always looking for something.”

-Ursula Andress

Wow!!!! What a beautiful day in the Hudson Valley. Today was day one for the flea market in Stormville, New York and that where we were headed at 7:00 am. Nice and cool at 55 degrees, a stiff wind was blowing that made it feel almost like a fall day. But the sun was out and the light coats that many people had were quickly taken off and packed away. As I made my way up and down the aisles I encountered many familiar faces, but the names associated with the faces escaped me.

Very early Saturday morning.

As the sun rose, more and more people flooded into the parking lot and descended on the market, dragging the wagons they brought with them to carry away whatever prizes they may find.

Vendors setting up for the day.

The most interesting thing about this flea market is the way that it is split up. All of the way in the back are a couple of rows of stocked with sneakers, socks, flags, incense, birdhouses, you name it, they’ve got it.

Moving up the rows, you find vendor after vendor with all kinds of antiques.

Food and drink vendors.

And finally, pretty near the entrance, you will find all of the different food vendors. All incredibly overpriced. Overall, the Stormville Flea Market is pretty cool with lots of different “stuff” for every kind of collector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?