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Stoic Hiking

Last night I wrote a post based on the three essential parts of the Stoic Philosophy:

Control your perceptions.

Direct your actions properly.

Willingly accept what’s outside your control.

When I did so, and I really don’t know why, I directed it at work because that was the first thing that I thought of. Now I want to spend some time to see how it relates to hiking. Sometimes I forget that this blog is primarily about hiking and I stray…just a little bit.

So how does this meditation pertain to hiking? Every time I plan a hike, especially one I haven’t done before (and those I have), I take out the map and do some planning. I will admit that every time I look at a map and see the contour lines close together my anxiety levels rise. Why? Because that means climbing hills. And the closer the lines are, the steeper the hill is.

My perception is that the hike will be difficult because of the hills and this then lends itself to thoughts about whether I want to do that hike or not.

As I continue my planning, I always think about whether or not I am prepared to do that hike. Obviously, some are more challenging than others and only you know what you are ready and capable of doing. So, in this case, you have to direct your actions properly. If you have been training then it shouldn’t be so bad.

Lastly, and most importantly, you have to willingly accept what is outside of your control. The hills, rough terrain and bad weather should mean nothing. Why? Because you have no control over them. They were there before you planned your hike, they will be there during your hike and they will most certainly be there after.

You just need to accept everything that goes with the hike and go for it. Imagine all of the people you won’t meet, the views that you won’t see and the pictures you won’t take because you let things that were out of your control dictate whether you hiked or not.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Accept What’s Outside Of Your Control. Truly a Fine Idea…

Control your perceptions.

Direct your actions properly.

Willingly accept what’s outside your control.

It took me a very long time to figure this out. So many hours of wasted mental energy fighting fights that I knew I couldn’t win but fought anyway. Now, it just isn’t worth the stress.

Especially when we talk about work, the people in charge of us have agendas that they will undoubtedly force on us day after day. They already know what they want and yet pretend that they care what we think. Agendas that we have no control over. They want us to believe that we are part of the decision-making process, but we really aren’t.

I see my colleagues every day getting all worked up over what they know deep down inside they can’t change, but they keep trying over and over again and then get upset when things stay the same. Those in charge may lead them or you to believe that they are part of the process.

A part of a process that has been predetermined. So I will tell you now. Don’t sweat the small shit.  Our bosses know what they want and they will continue to pretend to include us in the “decision” making.

Go ahead, I dare you. Prove me wrong.

A Triumphant Return!!!

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My pack and poles are back in business.

“The silence was an intense roar.”

-Jack Kerouac

Today is a good day. Today I decided that it was time to get back on the trail. Even though I have been riding the stationary bike to get ready to hike, it wasn’t easy. It really wasn’t easy. I did a nice 3.2-mile loop at Ward Pound Ridge and the one nice thing about many of the trails at WPR is that the number of hills are minimal.

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Unfortunately, even these small “inclines” almost killed me today. But that’s ok. It was magnificent just to get out. It has now been 269 days since I have hiked. When I started hiking it was a glorious 41 degrees. The sun felt great on my face and the fact that I was actually outside and on a trail made it that much better.  With almost clear blue skies and no wind blowing, the silence in the woods was blissful. You don’t realize how loud and noisy the world is that we live in is until you are smacked in the face with an extended period of silence. Pure bliss!!!

 

So what does this mean? Since I had no issues with my ankle, I am going to resume my old hiking schedule for the time between now and when school ends, which is “get out as often as possible.”

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The calendar may say it is spring, but this small pond tells a different story!

Peace to everyone out there!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike#1-3/24/19-3.2-3.2

 

 

 

Soule Monde

“Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.”

-Aldous Huxley

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In my never-ending search for good funky jamming music, I have come across once again, two guys who know the true meaning of funk. I mean really cool fluid funk that you have to dance to. The band is called Soule Monde.

Composed of only drummer Russ Lawton and Hammond B3 Organist Ray Packzkowski (both members of TAB), they often seek the company of like-minded musicians with the only thought being of producing a collaborative effort that will melt the mind. Standby for an altering of consciousness!

You would think that the missing guitar and organ produced bass line most of the time would take away from the quality and depth of the music, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With guests dropping in like Trey Anastasio (1/10/19). an element of musical exploration is added that you wouldn’t necessarily see with TAB or Phish for that matter.

These two guys trade grooves almost to the point where you would think Mr. Spock had a mind meld on them. But it isn’t just one groove that sustains an entire show. It’s a carefully coordinated mixture of movement from both of them that actually compliment each other throughout a show. Now granted, I am basing this on videos that I have seen on YouTube as well as recorded shows on archive.org and not only can you feel the intensity from the musicians, but the audience as well.

As luck would have it, they are playing tonight 3/21 in Port Chester, NY and I will not be able to attend the show. I would think, however, that with The Capitol Theatre’s close proximity to NYC, they may not be playing alone. And that would be a good thing.

 

 

Has Spring Sprung?

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
― Anne Bradstreet

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Early spring last year at Ward Pound Ridge

It’s amazing what a single day can do your mind and your psyche. Tonight at 5:58 pm marks the official start of spring. Even though the temperature on my way in this morning read 26 degrees, my brain was still stuck on the idea of it being spring. In the northeast you still have to expect chilly nights, but the days will certainly get warmer each and every passing day. With that will come no snow, no mud and hopefully long afternoons of hiking after school.

The high temperatures between now and Sunday range from 48 degrees today to 55 on Sunday. In that range however, you do see a 39 slipped in on Saturday. But the good thing is that a 39 degree day on Saturday March 23rd is just a little bit different than a 39 degree afternoon in the middle of November.

With that said, I am pretty sure that I will head out to Ward Pound Ridge a couple of times in the next few days to venture out on a 3.5 mile loop that isn’t that difficult.

Here’s some info about spring that you  might find interesting that I got from The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

The vernal equinox signals new beginnings and nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere! Many cultures celebrate spring festivals, like Easter and Passover.

Observe nature around you!

  • Worms begin to emerge from the earth. In fact, the March Full Moon is called “The Full Worm Moon” for this reason.
  • Notice the arc of the Sun across the sky as it shifts toward the north. Birds are migrating northward, along with the path of the Sun.
  • Speaking of birds, did you know that the increasing sunlight is what triggers birds to sing? Cool, eh? Enjoy our Bird Songs page.
  • Trees, shrubs, and flowers are sensitive to temperature and day-length, too! Since ancient days, people have used them as indicators of when the weather is right for planting. For example: Blooming crocus are your cue to plant radishesparsnips, and spinachSee more of nature’s signs.
  • Of course, the longer days bring warmer weather! Both we and the animals around us strip off our clothes and heavy coats!
  • Ready, set, plant! March is time to start gardens and sow seeds in many regions. See the best planting dates according to your local frost dates or our Vegetable Gardening for Beginners guide for gardening tips!

Here is the website: https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox#

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hiking & The Brain

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I’m always on the hunt for articles or videos that stress the importance of hiking in relation to a healthy lifestyle. Here is a link to an excellent article on how the brain changes due to hiking. Even though the article was written three years ago, it is obviously still valid today. When you read it, you may think to yourself, “I already knew that.” As a hiker, you probably did.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/04/08/doctors-explain-how-hiking-actually-changes-our-brains/

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Let’s Go Over The Basics…

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This is about 1/2 mile from the spot that has so far caused me just about nine months of hiking.  When I finally get out there no one will be able to say I’m not ready!

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

– John Muir

I’ve mentioned in previous posts the importance of being prepared when you go out hiking. It doesn’t what the length of the hike is, you need to have certain things with you, just in case. Just in case of what you might ask? Who knows!!!! The variables are constant and many. You really have to be prepared for what you know, and more importantly, what you don’t.

If you hike in the same area then you should be pretty familiar with the basics. I know that I plan for where I am going to be. If you hike in the same general area, this should make your planning a little easier. For example, what plants are poisonous, what is the terrain like, which snakes are poisonous and which ones aren’t and so on. This may seem like a lot of  information, but the more you know, the better prepared you will be just in case you run into trouble.

Here is a common list that I think is important to have even on short day hikes. It may differ from others that you have seen but I am making this based on personal experience. I learned the hard way last summer that you really, really need to be prepared.

1) Water-I know that I have beat this one pretty close to death, but it is a fact that even if you are heading out for a short hike, drink water before, during and after your hike. As a matter of fact, I bought two more of the 48 ounce Nalgene bottles a few weeks ago. This will bring me to 192 ounces of water even for a day hike. Since that comes to a nice 12 pounds of water, friends have told me I am crazy for carrying that much water. With my mishap last summer, I’ll file that under “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

2) Sawyer Squeeze-Ok. I know that with carrying that much water I shouldn’t need a purification system. Once again, you never know what is going to happen so I’ll file this under, “I know I’m crazy but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

3) Rain Poncho/Emergency Space Blanket-I have never really made it a priority to hike in the rain. Although I have been caught in thunderstorms during a hike, I have never set out to do a hike in the rain. This year I plan on making an effort to get out even in the rain. The poncho can also act as a nice shelter if something happens and I can’t get out of the woods right away. Of course The Emergency Space Blanket will help keep me warm.

4) First Aid Kit-I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. This one gets filed under, “you could be screwed if you don’t have one.”

5) Multi Tool/Fire Starter/Boonie Hat-Once again, pretty self-explanatory, always handy if you need them and a huge problem if you need them and don’t have them.

6) Map/GPS (Garmin Etrex 30)-Even though I know many of the trails that I hike on, having a map of the area is always essential. I don’t carry a compass anymore because I don’t stray from the trail like I used to 15-20 years ago. My days of bushwhacking are done. My GPS, a Garmin is used just to calculate exact mileage. In the old days, I would almost have to guestimate how far my hikes were.

7) Kelty Zephyr Daypack/Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles/Vasque St. Elias GTX Hiking Boots-I saved the best for last. For over two decades now I have hiked with my Kelty Zephyr Day Pack. Since I have no reason to retire it, I will use it for another year. Second, I did have to buy new trekking poles after snapping one of mine last year. My boots? They remain the same and probably will for at least the next few years. I still have the almost new ones that I never got to wear last summer, plus I got another pair a couple of months ago for just about 50% off. Can’t beat that with a stick!

So there you have it! I have read many, many different “essentials” that you should take day hiking. I have adapted my list to accommodate my own personal situation and I am hoping that it will make for a outstanding summer of hiking.

What are your essentials? Do they differ much from my list? What would you add or take away?

HAPPY HIKING!!!