Tag Archives: Bear Mountain

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!!!!

 

 

 

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!!!

 

Keeping It Light Until The Time Is Right

“Hike more, worry less,”

-Anonymous

Today was the first hike of the summer break!!! I am going to keep the distance short today and tomorrow since I will be out backpacking Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Twenty three miles of fun on the trail!

With that said, this morning it was pretty humid and you could tell that the thunderstorms that rolled through last night had dumped a ton of rain on the trails.

Even with the humidity it was still nice to get out and get a hike in. I’m looking forward to our trip to Harriman!

Here are some photos from this mornings hike:

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A stretch of the Leatherman’s Loop that was especially beautiful today.

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A stream that runs underneath the trail.

 

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Same stream as above.

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A connector trail just before the Red Trail.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #18-4.7-106.6

Which Way Photo Challenge-(CCW)

For this challenge I chose three photographs that I have taken while hiking. The first denotes where vehicle travel ends and foot travel begins on a trail in Harriman State Park. The second and third were taken in Bear Mt. State Park along the Appalachian Trail. 

Second Reservoir 2597_editedIMG_6852IMG_6851

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

Thinking About The Summer

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

– Jawaharial Nehru

 “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

-Henry Miller

After a lengthy cold spell, within the last week temperatures have actually made it up into the high forties to the mid fifties. I have to admit, feeling the (relatively) warm air made me think of spring days and being out in the woods. Looking over my maps of Harriman State Park and Bear Mt., I decided that just after the school year ends in June, I’ll backpack the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail.

Starting at the Tuxedo Rail Station, the trail runs through Harriman state park into Bear Mt. where it ends on route 9W right next to the Hudson river. At just about 22 miles, the current plan is to split it up into three days and two nights of what some web sites have said is relatively difficult hiking. Although the trail does have two lean to shelters along the way, I am bringing a tent just in case I show up at one and it has already been occupied by too many fellow hikers. With that saud, I am not thinking that this is going to be an issue because I am planning on doing this hike from a Tuesday to a Thursday so I will miss the weekend folks. More on that later.

So what am I doing now? I spent some time on the internet looking for a checklist that would help me get the stuff together that I will need for this short adventure. The decision to find a list was an easy one. I have backpacked before and gotten to my destination only to find out that I forgot to pack things. Here is the REI checklist that I am using:

001

As I continue to plan for this excursion, I will post updates with some gear info, planned route and other stuff.

Happy Hiking!!!