Tag Archives: black diamond trekking poles

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

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

Back On My Feet, Again

“Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey.”

“Injuries are our best teachers.”

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The view at the start of the hike an hour later than usual.

Being injured sucks. Not being able to hike sucks. Even if it’s only for a few days. Last year I couldn’t hike for half of the year because of the surgery on my ankle, and over the course of the last couple of weeks, my left knee has been bothering me. Bothering me to the point where I haven’t been able to hike or ride the stationary bike.

Is my injury a result of getting older? Overuse? Could it be genetic? I know that many in my family have bad knees and maybe it’s now my turn. I certainly hope not. Some of my family members can’t walk a straight line these days. The fact that I have been very, very careful with what I have been doing the last few months has me thinking really hard about what could have caused it. With that said, the bottom line is I need to get back out into the woods.

I am going stir crazy. Utterly crazy.  If you follow my blog, you know that hiking is my refuge, the thing that I do when I need to think or blow off steam. When I can’t hike, I get really cranky.  As it stands right now, I am in super cranky mode.

So today to I headed out into my sanctuary to see how the knee feels.

I actually picked a decent day to head back out. I ended up starting about an hour later than I am used to, but that’s ok. When I got up at 5, there was no way I could get out of bed so I waited until 5:30 and pretty much walked out the door. When I got to Ward Pound Ridge, it was a crisp 59 degrees with a slight breeze. This is not typical weather in our area for mid-August. At this time of year, we are usually looking at a great deal of heat and humidity, even at 5 or 6 am.

Needless to say, my knee didn’t feel that bad. I did make sure to keep the pace relatively slow and I avoided any rocks that looked sketchy. I know that sounds kind of wimpy, but I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore than I already was (or had been).

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More huge rocks at Ward Pound Ridge.

The picture below represents parts of the Leatherman’s Loop. As with most of the trails at Ward Pound Ridge, they are made of soft earth and tend to be rolling rather than steep ups and downs.

Overall I would call this hike a success. It was nice out and even though I started later than I have been, I didn’t see a single person. Pure bliss!!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #25-8/12/19-4.5-111.1

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