Tag Archives: Anthony’s Nose

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!!!!

 

 

 

So What Does It Mean To Be A Hiker?

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

-John Burroughs

Anyone can hike. Go to the woods, put one foot in front of the other and you’ve pretty much got it. Right? Not so fast. Being a hiker, a true believer in the healing power of the woods is a mindset that can only be developed by spending countless hours on the trails and climbing hills that would kill any other mere mortal.

Many people say, “I like to hike.” Ok. But do you have what it takes to become a true “hiker?” Hiking, like any other sport, hobby or activity, has a vocabulary unique to its participants. Can you speak the language of the seasoned hiker? If you encountered a fellow hiker in the woods, would you be confident that you could make yourself understood? This isn’t as easy as it sounds.

As you are preparing for your next hike, pick up the shirt that you want to wear. What does it smell like? Imagine for the sake of argument that the odor emanating from the shirt is nothing short of horrific. What do you do? In my case, I would put it on and head out the door. But would you? What you smell like is just another form of identification for other hikers. It’s almost like dogs sniffing each other’s butts. That’s how we know who is the real deal and who is just playing the part for the day. Trust me, you can smell them a mile away.

What did you put in your pack to eat? Now, of course, this all depends on how long your hike is going to be, but hikers definitely have some do’s and don’ts when comes to being a true hiker. Trying to stuff a picnic basket into your daypack isn’t going to work and neither is bringing stuff to grill. You gotta keep it simple. If I know that I am going to be out for a full day and I am going to be covering 8-10 miles with some elevation, I’ll get a sandwich from the local deli plus some granola or protein bars to stave off the hunger pangs to keep me going.

Now if I know I’m only going to be out for a short hike of maybe 3-5 miles, I’ll bring granola bars, protein bars and other assorted garbage to keep my legs moving throughout the day. The good thing about logging the miles is that although you might eat a load of crap, you will still burn a great deal of it off during your hike. And of course, don’t forget the GORP!!

You may be asking yourself, “He’s talked about the language, clothes, and food, what about liquids?” Even though it is relatively obvious, water is the most important liquid to have on a hike. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I now go overboard with the amount of water that I carry. Even if I am going out into the woods (for what I consider a short hike) of between 3-6 miles, I’ll figure out the amount that I need to drink and double it. And now that they have Gatorade Zero, which has no sugar and I’ll take a few of those as a way to replenish my electrolytes.

At times, however, any good hiker might develop a thirst for a nice cold adult beverage. Especially if the hike you are on isn’t too strenuous and you have a nice view where you can sit for a while and contemplate life’s mysteries. Of course, the idea here is not to overdo it, because chances are you will have to drive home and you also don’t want to be a stupified slobbering mess walking down the trail.

Now please, I hope that in reading this you haven’t taken me too seriously. Hikers come in all ages, shapes and sizes and have their own rituals when it comes to preparing for a hike. I too, have my own rituals.

That is the glorious thing about hiking and adopting the lifestyle of a hiker. Being able to enjoy the outdoors doesn’t come in just one fashion or form. In my humble opinion, I believe that as long as you are out in the woods doing what you need to do, then you are ahead of the game.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Of Summer Hikes

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“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

– Aristotle

As the days get warmer and the school year winds down, my thoughts are obviously on what hikes I will be doing this summer. As is the case every year, now is the time when I pull out the maps and figure out where I’m going to go. It satisfies my soul to sit down and look at my maps and then figure out the approximate mileage for each hike.

So what am I looking at right now? The best thing about living in the Hudson Valley here in NY is that we have some of the best hiking in the tri-state area (NY, NJ & CN). We have hikes that are easy as well as those that will put you on your rear end when you are done. Anyway you look at it, no matter where you hike in this area, you are guaranteed, yes, guaranteed fabulous views. Mind-blowing,  Timothy Leary like views.

One of my first stops, either during the Spring or early summer, will undoubtedly be Anthony’s Nose. Sitting almost directly over the Bear Mt. Bridge, the Nose has been a favorite for over twenty-five years. A short hike from South Mt. pass at a tad just under four miles, it offers an almost uphill climb that guarantees a nice downhill ride all the way back to your car (with the exception of one small uphill).

The only negative about this hike, and it has been this way for many, many years, are the crowds that inundate this hike on the weekends. Whenever I head to the Nose I usually head up pretty early in the morning or on a weekday so I can avoid the crowds. And when I say crowds, I mean swarms of human beings that literally suck the life out of any type of Zen experience that this beautiful place may have to offer.

Just a quick caveat-I know it sounds a little snobbish to expect a hike with a view like the Nose to be empty all of the time, but what the hell, sometimes I need that solitude to get my head straight.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike Safely!

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With warmer weather upon us in the Northeast of the United States, that means many more people will be hitting the trails, myself included. As I have mentioned in several posts, I now treat even short day hikes as if I might have to spend a couple of days in the woods either due to injury or getting lost. Of course, everyone hopes that something like this never happens, but the one thing that I did learn last summer was that it is better to be safe than sorry. The couple of extra pounds of gear that I might now carry to guarantee keeping me warm and dry is well worth it.

I came across an article from National Geographic entitled, “Day hikers are the most vulnerable in survival situations. Here’s why. A new study looks at who lives and who dies when lost in the wild” that basically confirms what I have thought for a very long time. Basically, the majority of people who get lost and are put into situations where they have to spend a night or two, or three in the woods aren’t the backpackers, but instead, are the folks who planned only to be out for a day hike.

That is why I’ll say it again now, I am a strong advocate for people to prepare for a day hike as if you might have to be out in the woods for two or three days. I perfectly understand that when people head out for a day hike, they have no intention of getting lost or injured, but it happens.

Do you know how many people I’ve seen hiking carrying nothing but a small water bottle?

Here is the link to that article and to posts I have written that address the same subject. I’ll beat that dead horse just a little bit more, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/2019/04/hikers-survival-tips/?fbclid=IwAR3tsQZ0WB81OsYi1H3YHvX6sRzezRjH_jepLSDmpdzFJfmU8RM58hfcmIc

“Let’s Go Over The Basics…” from March 19, 2019 (The Zen Hiker)

“Hiking Solo? Leave An Itinerary!” from July 24, 2018 (The Zen Hiker)

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles (Part 1)

trekking poles

One of the other casualties of my pre-empted backpacking trip last summer was one of my hiking poles. As I planted the right pole after my foot was stuck in the rock, I fell to my right and the pole snapped in half. Now I had used these Black Diamond poles for many years and never had a problem with them. Of course, this was an extraordinary circumstance so the years of service they had given me made a new pair of them worth looking at again.

So now that hiking season is almost here and my ankle is pretty much operating at 100%, I decided to get a new pair of hiking/trekking poles. As I do with any potential gear that I might purchase, I spend a great deal of time researching what would be the best poles to buy. After doing what amounted to several hours of comparing specs, prices, and reviews, my search brought me right back to Black Diamond. Although I have used Leki poles in the past, I now always end up with Black Diamond.

So I ended up buying the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles.  Originally priced at $139.95, I paid $83.97, a nice 40% savings (from Amazon). Here are the specs:

Size: 68-140cm 
Color: Black/Red
  • Imported
  • 2″ high
  • 3″ wide
  • Dual-density grip and 360-degree padded webbing strap
  • Non-slip foam grip extension
  • Control Shock Technology
  • Double Flick Lock Pro
  • Interchangeable carbide Tech Tips and low-profile trekking baskets

 

Although I haven’t been out hiking with these poles yet, I have had a chance to use them.

Trying to get to down the hill to my car on ice-laden snow is no easy task. Using the poles

made it much easier to down the hill and into my car. I can’t wait to get out on to the trail

to really test them out. When I do that I’ll post a more in-depth review.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

My Favorite Place

“When you leave a beautiful place, you carry it with you wherever you go.”

-Alexandra Stoddard

Looking across the Hudson River and directly above the bridge is Anthony’s Nose, a favorite hiking destination for many folks in the Hudson Valley and beyond! The Nose is accessible from several starting points, all which offer varying degrees of difficulty.

Why is this my favorite place? For over 20 years, in good times and bad, the Nose has been a place where I could go for peace, quiet and when available, solitude.

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Favorite Place

My Favorite Summer Hikes

“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

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

Although the summer isn’t officially over for about three weeks, I return to work as a teacher tomorrow. What does that mean? That means summer hiking is pretty much done. I am hoping that I will be able to get out when I can, but the wonderful morning hikes that I have enjoyed the last couple of months will fade as quickly as the summer has.

Without a doubt, this summer has really been a good one for hiking. Although it has been filled with many rainy days, that was far outweighed by the beautiful mornings filled with blue skies and nice cool temperatures. This post is going to quickly cover my three favorite hikes of the summer. If you have been following my posts this summer, this list shouldn’t really surprise anyone!

Number One-Anthony’s Nose:

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Going to the Nose has been a source of refuge, peace and tranquility for many, many years. When I have good days, bad days and really bad days, the Nose has always been there. That’s all I have to say about that….

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Almost a perfect view!

Number Two-Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

This is a newcomer to my favorite list. In the past couple of weeks I have really come to love hiking here. Well maintained and blazed trails make hiking a really nice experience.  With the marked trails as well as the connector trails, you can shorten or lengthen a planned hike any number of ways. And if you don’t eat during your hike you can take advantage of the numerous picnic tables that are situated throughout the reservation. I am really excited about getting out there in the fall when the leaves change colors.

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The gateway to my favorite hikes in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The gateway to peace and tranquility!

Number Three-Bear Mountain

Located directly across the Hudson River from Anthony’s Nose, this hike has it all. Thigh numbing climbs, views up the Hudson, down the Hudson and all the way to NYC (if the weather permits).

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With the incredible amount of hikes in this area as well as thinking about the ones that I did this summer, it was difficult to pick my favorite ones. The ones that made my top three list were the ones that I have developed an affection for. Ones where I know I can go to recharge the batteries or just find some peace. They vary in length, but that isn’t the most important thing-keeping my peace of mind is.