Short, Slow And Relatively Easy…

“Mostly, two miles an hour is good going.”

-Colin Fletcher 

This morning was probably the nicest day of the summer. When I got on the trail at 6:30 am, it was 49 degrees. I was actually a little cold as I headed out into the woods but it only took a couple of minutes though for that nice chilly feeling to go away!

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As has been the case almost all summer, I didn’t see a single person the entire hike. Granted, the hike was shorter than most I have done but on a day like today, I expected to at least see some trail runners. That’s ok, the woods were practically silent as I made my way down the trail.

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If you take a left at the tree that is marked instead of going right as the trail markers tell you to, you can add another half of a mile to your hike. Today I didn’t and continued right. Most of the trail at this point is soft dirt with some rocky spots mixed in at different points.

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The picture above marks the beginning of only two short hills on this particular hike. This one is about halfway through the hike and the second one is almost at the end.

One of the cool things about Ward Pound ridge are the bridges that are found throughout the park. Although the ground was wet, I couldn’t see any running water and if you wanted you could just use the rocks on the left to escape the mud.

The rest of the hike was pretty easy. Nice flat trails and as I got closer to the finish, a breeze started blowing that didn’t help with trying to stay warm. But it was nice weather for the end of August.

I can’t complain about any aspect of today’s hike and tomorrow is looking just as good!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #28-8/26/19-3.7-123.7

Homemade Beard Oils

“Having a beard is natural. When you think about it, shaving it off is quite weird.”

“Beards are an acquired taste. Don’t like them? Acquire some taste.”

“There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who appreciate a good beard and those who are wrong.”

For every male out there who is bearded and hikes (or who doesn’t), I’ve got some something interesting that you might want to try.

Since I started growing my beard just over two years ago, I have used several different beard washes, butters, and oils. I have found that none of them come at a cheap cost. Imagine my surprise when I was surfing the web looking for ideas on beard care when I came across an article on making your own beard oil.

Seeing this, I did as much research as I could to see if it would be a difficult task. I learned about the different carrier and essential oils, what they did, how much they cost and the many different recipes that are on the internet.

Personally. I  like scents that are more earthy. Pine, patchouli, cedar, and sandalwood all should make suitable scents. I’ll mix and match different essential oils to see what I can come up with.

So with all of that research, where did it send me? Amazon of course. I read reviews of the many different brands of both the Carrier and Essential oils, as well as bottles to store them, and graduated cylinders. I found literally hundreds of different items for each scent, cylinder and bottle. So I just picked some with decent reviews and made the purchase.

As I waited for everything to arrive, I looked for recipes that would involve Cedar and Pine, two essential oils that, according to what I read, go well together.

Even though the directions were easy enough to follow, from what I have read, you have to be very careful with the essential oils. Too much of this, and too little of that and you can screw up that particular bottle.

So today I created a nice Cedar and Pine 2 oz bottle of beard oil with the earthy, woodsy smell that I love. Here is the recipe that I followed for this scent:

2 oz of Jojoba Oil (Carrier Oil)

5 drops a Cedar Oil (Essential Oil)

5 drops of Pine Oil (Essential Oil)

As I get more scents, I will try different recipes, but with this one, I just wanted to get my feet wet to see what I could do. Personally, I think that it turned out really well. It isn’t too strong, but it also isn’t so weak that you can’t smell it.

Has anyone else out there tried to make beard oils?

Homemade Necklace Holder

“That’s the thing with handmade items. They still have the person’s mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone.” 
― Aimee Bender

In just three days my daughter will be heading off to college at SUNY Albany, a school about two hours from where I live. She was looking on Pinterest a few days ago and saw a necklace holder like the one you see pictured and wanted to buy it. I told her that we could easily make one and it would literally take minutes to do so.

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So we went to our local hardware store (Home Depot) and bought a six-foot 1 X 4 and cut off an 18-inch piece. We then got 7/8″ cup hooks that will actually hold each of her necklaces.

After cutting the wood, I first sanded it down with some pretty coarse sandpaper and when I finished with that, I used a much finer paper to give it a really smooth finish. I thought it would have looked nice with a nice semi-dark stain with a glossy finish, but I was overruled by my daughter who wanted to paint it to match her dorm room.

Since it has been very humid the last few days, I let the paint dry for longer than I usually would. My daughter then picked the side that she wanted facing out and I drilled short pilot holes so the hooks could easily be screwed in. I’ll have to adjust some of them so they are all aligned.

The final part of the project involves my daughter putting pictures of her and some young ladies on it that she babysits. The total cost of this small project was between $7-$9 dollars. On some websites, I have seen them go for $25-$40 dollars. Wow!!!! I’m in the wrong business!

 

Black Cat Appreciation Day

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ said Alice. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the cat. ‘We’re all mad here.’

-Lewis Carroll

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.”

-Joseph Wood Krutch

Allow me to introduce you to Sirius, our black cat. I am introducing you to him because today, August 17th, is National Black Cat Appreciation Day.

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Sirius a couple of months after we rescued him from the Briarcliff SPCA.

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Sirius hanging out in my daughter’s room.

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Some more relaxing…

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Doing what he does best…nothing!

Now It Feels Like Mid August

“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”

– Albert Einstein

Wow…at 6:30 am this morning it was 71 degrees with humidity that could have chocked a cat. Since it was so humid, I knew that I was going to take it much slower than I usually do. And believe me, I’m pretty slow on a normal day!

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The trail heading into a curve.

Obviously, since it was so humid, I started sweating immediately. Every step that I took just meant more and more sweat covering me as the gnats circled my head and did their best to infiltrate the liquid defense system I had sprayed on myself prior to the start of the hike. Thankfully they proved to be more of a nuisance than anything else.

As they have been so many times in the past, the woods were almost perfectly silent with the exception of an occasional bird letting me know that I wasn’t alone. It was beautiful! The video below is a minute and five seconds of serenity. This is what it sounded like for the entire hike. You can’t ask for more than this.

On my way out of the woods, I did encounter a group of hikers. They struck me as kind of odd based on a few observations. First, not one of the group (10 people and 3 dogs) had a pack. Second, with the absence of packs was also the absence of water. And third, they were all dressed as if it was late October. The first thing that I thought was if they were wearing jeans and jackets and had no water, how could they hike for any distance? With the warm temperatures and high humidity, it could make for a potentially dangerous situation.

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I have no idea why I took a photo of my boots. I was sitting on a rock, taking a break when it struck me to just take a picture of my boots. Hmmm……

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #27-8/17/19-4.6-120.0

A Summer Ride

“Happiness starts with a wet nose and ends with a tail.”

“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished.”

Our dog Jase absolutely loves to go for rides. Of course, during the summer, he expects one at least once a day. If he doesn’t get one, he lets you know it! Watching that tongue flop in the wind from my side-view mirror makes every trip worth it.

What a great dog.

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Jase enjoying his trip to….well….nowhere.

The Humidity Is Here To Stay

We are wind, we are wind
And we can’t hold on
Hold on to anything we see that’s gone
We’re gone in a heartbeat, fleeting, it’s gone
We are wind, we are wind
We crumble into nothing, we are wind
Two parts me, folded together
For one brief moment everything fits
The sun

-Trey Anastasio

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A shelter not too far from the start of the trail. You could easily bring small children for an overnight at this shelter.

Today was an interesting day at Ward Pound Ridge. I did a really nice 4.3-mile loop and I actually saw two people trail running. I almost never see anyone when I’m out hiking early in the morning but today I saw two people. That is almost unheard of! The first guy would have scared the hell out of me but he had the common courtesy to yell, “good morning” when he was about 20 yards behind me. Good thing that he did because I was in a good rhythm and had no idea he was there.

The news said last night that it was supposed to be less humid this morning than it has been. I really didn’t find that to be the truth and ended up sweating like it was going out of style. With that said, it was still nice enough out and the promise is that the humidity is going to stay with us for the next three or four days. I can’t wait.

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A connector trail on today’s loop. 

So even with the promise of really high humidity in the morning, I’m already planning tomorrows hike. If you have noticed, I have kept the hikes at just around four to four and a half miles. I think it would be a good idea to keep it at that for a little while longer.

When the weather gets cooler I’ll probably think about some longer hikes but with the weather the way it is, hydration has to be my main concern. Gatorade Zero before, during and after the hike as well as 96 ounces of water. Of course, then the rest of the day will be spent getting rehydrated.

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One of the more interesting rock formations on the hike,. 

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #26-8/15/19-4.3-115.4