Monthly Archives: July 2019

Heat And Humidity Be Damned

“You can make a step and touch the earth in such a way that you establish yourself in the present moment, and you will arrive in the here and the now. You don’t need to make any effort at all. Your foot touches the earth mindfully, fully, and you arrive firmly in the here and the now. And suddenly you are free-free from all projects, all worries, all expectations. You are fully present, fully alive, and you are touching the earth.”

***A quick note-When I arrived Ward Pound Ridge this morning, the sun was just rising and it looked magnificent. So I pulled over and went to take my camera out to get a photo and of course I had left it at home. Needless to say, this post will not have any photos.

And just like that, the humidity is back. I decided once again to hold off on hiking yesterday because of the heat and humidity, a wise choice by my estimation. But today I did get out, humidity be damned. As I fully expected, the bugs were insane, even with bug spray. Listening to them buzz and watching them dive bomb me brought back many fond memories.

But that’s ok. I have said in the last couple of weeks that the only thing that I could hear on my hikes have been my hiking sticks and boots hitting the earth. Despite sweating from the very start of the hike, the simple fact that I was out hiking was awesome.

Since the humidity was as high as it was (at 5:15 am), I took more water than I usually would and also had an extra Gatorade to keep myself hydrated. Even as I sit here writing this post, I am drinking a nice cold bottle of water.

I can’t think of anything else I would rather have been doing this morning or even at this moment.

The quote above talks about being in the “here and now.” As I make my way around the various loops in Ward Pound Ridge, I try to focus on everything that is going on around me. Unfortunately, the last couple of hikes have had a glaring absence in the number of chipmunks, squirrels, and birds. Although they do provide an excellent distraction as I hike, the silence is beautiful, especially when I take breaks.

Hiking provides a cleansing of the mind, a mental enema if you will. Be in the moment, no matter how long or short it may be. It is your moment, your time to not be burdened with the pressures of your life. Enjoy the solitude and the silence.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #24-7/31/19-4.0-106.6

 

The Day Of The Gnat

“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

I didn’t think it was possible, but I found something much worse than horseflies. Much worse than the loud buzzing and divebomb attacks that always go with them. What am I talking about? Gnats. Teeny tiny little gnats that seem to travel in very large packs and then search out every available orifice to annoy, annoy and annoy again and again.

For the entirety of my hike today, these gnats swarmed around my head and never gave up in their quest to harass and annoy me. First in my eyes, and then my nose. No amount of bug spray could deter them. I felt horribly invaded.

Despite that, my motto remains the same, any hike is better than no hike at all. However, these tiny minions of Satan did push me to the limit. Wow…..

A connector trail on the left and the red trail on the right.

Photos of the trail and the woods.

I did pass this lovely little swampy area which multiplied the number gnats tenfold. Good times!

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Swampland

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A nice quiet area along the trail.

 

One of the main reasons that I took this trail was to see how the bees nest was doing. This is the rebuilt bees nest two days after my last hike. I do have to warn you if you get to close to the nest, the bees tend to get a little irritated (sarcasm intended).

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Today was a little slow going as compared to the other day. I don’t know what was going on but I just felt sluggish. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #23-7/28/19-4.0-102.6

Hike Like An Antelope

“Set the gearshift to the high gear of your soul.”

-Phish

Today’s hike was a little on the weird side. Not only was there no breeze during the entirety of my hike, but it was totally silent. No squirrels, birds, chipmunks. Nothing. In all of the hikes that I have done in Ward Pound Ridge, this is the first time I have encountered total and utter silence. It’s been close before but never like this.

It was as close to perfection on a hike as you can get. The start of the hike was also pretty cool. With the sun still not up, the moon was perfectly silhouetted against the blue sky.

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As the hike began, it was odd to see the entrance to the woods covered in the same mist that is usually reserved for the heavily wooded areas just to the east of this area.

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Moving into the woods, it felt really good to be out again. It was especially nice because the only sounds that I could hear were my hiking sticks hitting the ground and the sound of my boots on the earth. To say that it was outstanding both physically and mentally would be a serious understatement.

“Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.” 
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

The loop that I have been doing is an excellent way to start the day. It’s not too easy, not too hard, it just happens to be just right. It looks like for the time being I’ll be sticking to my four-mile loop while I explore some reoccurring health issues.

 What follows are some pictures taken along the loop.

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Trails along the loop as well as a connector trail.

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Trail markers along the loop.

I have been keeping an eye on a bees nest for the last couple of weeks.  When I happened upon it a couple of days ago, it was gone! The only part of it that was left was the top of the nest. I can only think of three ways that the nest could have disappeared. First, due to the proximity of the nest to the trail, perhaps the staff of Ward Pound Ridge decided to get rid of it. Second, some pretty severe storms had moved through the area and maybe it was blown off of the tree. With that said, I couldn’t find the remains of the nest. And lastly, maybe a fellow hiker took it upon themselves to get rid of it.

Needless to say, I was surprised when I saw it today and the bees were busy rebuilding a new nest.

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A new nest in the same exact spot as the old one.

New nest on the left, old nest on the right.

Let’s see how long this one lasts.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #22-7/26/19-4.4-98.6

Back On The Trail, Again…

“Got a blank space where my mind should be, Got a Clif Bar and some cold green tea, Got clouds that seem to follow me, Got strange demands piled up on me,
Got memories, Got memories, Memories of being free.”

-Trey Anastasio

 

After a week of blistering heat, rain, and thunderstorms, it was finally nice to get back out on the trail again. Just to refresh everyone’s memories, I made the choice to not hike, even in the very early morning based on my fear of becoming dehydrated. Temperatures were in the 90’s with the humidity just as high. In the mornings when I would start my hikes, temperatures were already in the mid to high 70’s to low 80’s. So every day with the exception of yesterday I rode my stationary bike to keep the legs moving.

 

Being outside was a welcome respite from the days of oppressive heat and humidity. I think that this morning was the first time it has been in the very low sixties with practically no humidity in a couple of weeks. It was outstanding to feel the air on my face and hear the sound of my boots hitting the moist trail with every step.

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Looking down on a connector trail.

 

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This entire area is famous for rock walls that are in the middle of nowhere. These rock walls were used as property boundaries by farmers and landowners.

 

As you can see by the pictures, the woods are as green as they were in April and May. I have seen summers where by this time on July the woods are a barren brown from the lack of rain. But not this summer. We are being treated to something relatively rare for this area of the Northeast in late July-a lush green landscape.

 

Since the humidity was as low as it was, the sun actually felt good when you actually encountered it as it rose through the trees.

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As always, Ward Pound Ridge offers excellent hikes and the loops I have been hiking this summer have offered me the solitude and silence that I have been looking for.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #21-7/24/19-4.1-94.2

Don’t Let Them Into Your Head

“As you get older you really just want to be surrounded by good people. People that are good for you, good to you and good for your soul.”

Facebook has this great page called “Higher Perspective.” The purpose of the page is “to bring together like-minded individuals focused on personal growth and expanding their consciousness.” Now to some, this may sound a little crazy, but they do offer some really good advice for many different situations. I especially like the fact that they say “through the sharing of pictures, art, music, ideas, stories, history, and other information, we can help the population gain a higher perspective on life and improve our global situation. We can be better to our planet, better to our brothers and sisters and better to ourselves.”

That is where I found the quote for today’s post. Every day people watch the news and all you hear is negativity and hate. Is this any way to go through the one and only life we have? Those folks who know me know that I frequently say that it is a waste of mental energy to constantly engage or think about those people who really have no interest in your well being.

Even though I have said that many, many times, it has been increasingly more difficult to live by those words. It is truly a shame that people treat others the way that they do based on their beliefs.  And that last comment is meant for both sides of the political aisle.

It truly is time for folks to start treating each other with some dignity and respect. To stop the name calling and making assumptions about others based on who they follow politically and what they believe.

Regardless of what people believe, we do live in the greatest nation on earth. We live in a country where you are free to believe what you want and think what you want without the fear of retribution from the government or others.

That is why as I get older, I have less and less tolerance for the nonsense. People who treat you badly shouldn’t be a part of your life. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you have to say something. Especially if it is mean and hurtful.

So I have made a conscious effort to distance myself from people that I only have negative interactions with. If they happen to be co-workers, I will treat them with the respect that they are due as a co-worker. After that, nothing. It isn’t worth wasting the mental energy.”

What say you? Am I crazy? Am I expecting too much? Can you at least agree that a little peace and quiet would be nice for a change?

How do you deal with the negative actions of others? For me, it has been and hopefully always will be through hiking and being outdoors.

Let me know through the comments section what you think.

Is It Worth It? I Think Not!

“The safety of the people shall be the highest law.”

-Marcus Tullius Cicero

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”

-Frank Lane

Twenty years ago I would have hiked in any kind of weather, and I did. My friend and I even hiked in a blizzard to Anthony’s Nose just to see what the Bear Mt. Bridge looked like when it snowed. We used to go out at noon on days when the temperature was near 100 degrees and the humidity was almost as high. Days when it was raining? No problem.

These days, however, I am a little more cautious when I hike. I know that I have mentioned this before, but with the renal failure I experienced last summer, any forecast of excessive heat truly scares me. So for our area for the next three days, this is what the weather looks like:

EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 8 PM EDT SUNDAY… * HEAT INDEX VALUES…AROUND 105 TO 110 TODAY AND AROUND 105 TO 115 SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. * TIMING…12 PM TODAY THROUGH 8 PM SUNDAY. * IMPACTS…EXTREME HEAT CAN CAUSE ILLNESS AND DEATH AMONG AT- RISK POPULATION WHO CANNOT STAY COOL. THE EXCESSIVE HEAT MAY QUICKLY CAUSE HEAT STRESS OR HEAT STROKE. 

I have decided that even though I go out very, very early in the morning, I am not going to hike today, tomorrow or Sunday. When I went out on Wednesday and hiked 5 miles, I drank two 32 ounce bottles of Gatorade Zero (Orange of course) as well as two 48 ounce bottles of water. When I got home I immediately drank another 48 ounces of water and continued this throughout the day.

Folks, don’t be stupid. If it is going to be this oppressively hot and humid, it just isn’t worth it. Now if you live in an area where this type of weather is the norm, some adjustments can be made, but you still have to be careful.

The good thing is I will still be able to ride my stationary bike which is in a nice air-conditioned room with a television. I will also hydrate as if I was out hiking.

I guess the bottom line is this: Is that hike really worth it? Especially for folks that may be a little older or have a chronic medical condition, hiking in hot and humid conditions like this could be a death sentence. Much better days are ahead!!!!

Take it from someone who knows. It isn’t worth it.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section.

Buzzing And Biting The Day Away

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”

-Mary Davis

Today was one of those days where I walked out the front door and then almost turned around and went back to bed. The humidity was so thick and oppressive that it literally stopped you in your tracks. Needless to say, once I started hiking it wasn’t long before I was soaking wet. Along with the humidity came the dreaded dragonflies. Buzzing, landing, and biting was the tale of the day. It seemed that no amount of bug spray could keep them at bay.
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Even with the humidity, it was still nice to be outside and as usual, I didn’t see anyone on my hike. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting this kind of weather until tomorrow when we are supposed to get some of the remnants of Barry.

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This year the woods are the greenest that they have been in years. It makes the hiking much more serene than if the woods weren’t as vibrant. That’s the whole reason to be out there.

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I’ve been following the progress of this bees nest for almost two weeks now. Although now it doesn’t seem to be getting bigger in size, it is getting heavier because it is weighing the branch down. I am also surprised that with its proximity to the trail, that no one has messed with it. I guess that is a good thing.

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No matter what the weather, the silence still provides a pleasant reprieve from everything else going on. The joy of just being able to sit on a rock and think makes every minute of every hike worthwhile.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #20-7/17/19-5.0-90.1