Tag Archives: black diamond trekking poles

The Second Day Of Summer

“Back on the trail mon.”

-IB TAT

It seems crazy, but the temperature this morning at 5:47 am was a crisp and cool 55 degrees. That’s almost unheard of on June 22nd of any year. The second day of summer! But it was. Of course, that translated into an outstanding hike in Ward Pound Ridge.

Since this week our students were testing, I wore my new Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots every day and broke them in instead of doing so out in the woods. I wasn’t actually sure that it would work, but based on this mornings hike, it proved to be an excellent idea. This is my fourth pair of the Vasque St. Elias backpacking boots and every pair has outperformed the previous one. They are just fantastic backpacking boots.

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As you can see by this picture and the ones at the start of the post, the amount of rain that we have had this year has made the woods a lush and vibrant green. Once again, I made it out early enough so that I only ran into one gentleman walking his dogs, one of whom could have been my labs’ twin brother. Not to make fun of either of them, but they both lumbered along with the same kind of dumb look. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

As usual, however, it was still nice just to be out in the woods doing some hiking. I’m still trying to get back to where I was prior to my unfortunate incident last summer and slowly but surely it’s happening.  I really felt good.

In just a few days the school year will be over and if I choose to do so, I can get out every day. In a recent post, I mentioned some hikes that I want to do this summer. I’m hoping that the 62 of days of summer break go as slow as the 2018-2019  school year went fast. My objective? Get as many hikes and miles in as humanly possible.

It’s going to be a great summer.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #10-6/22/19-4.4-45.7

Silence & Solitude Times Two

“Hike more, worry less.”

– Anonymous

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

– John Burroughs

Today’s hike is a day of firsts. First, today was the first time I have hiked after school since last year. Usually, at this time of the day, you see quite a few trail runners. Today, like on Sunday, I did not see anyone. I can’t remember the last time I went on two consecutive hikes and didn’t see another person. Like I said on Sunday, not seeing anyone else was fine with me.

“It’s ironic how we often forget the things worth remembering, but remember the things worth forgetting.”

-Anonymous

The second one involves my camera. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I changed the setting that shuts the camera down if it is left on for a certain amount of time. I believe that I had mine set for 4 minutes. So, when I took out my camera to take some photos of an absolutely beautiful day, it was dead. As a result, I am pretty sure that this hiking post will be my first with absolutely no pictures. I am certainly bummed out about it and I apologize (I personally love taking the pictures as they evoke the memories of each hike).

The hike itself was excellent. I have found a perfect four mile loop that I can do in under two hours that still gets the blood pumping and gives me that mental clearance that I am looking for. It still gives me more than enough daylight to finish and it’s early enough to still get stuff done at home if I need to.

Yesterday afternoon and into the night it rained pretty heavily. This gave the woods a very earthy smell. The smell of the woods after a nice rain is almost better than the smell of freshly cut grass. I think that it actually would have been pretty nice to be out hiking in the rain, but that is something that I will save for when school ends.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #9-6/11/19-4.0-41.3

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

 

 

 

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!!!

 

How To Cure The Non-Hiking Blues

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

-John Burroughs

I came across the following statement/question as I was perusing a Facebook page that dealt with hiking earlier:

How do you guys deal with the “9-5” grind? I literally can’t focus on anything else except going on my next hike. And I find that I struggle to deal with all of the bullshit that coworkers are.

So how do you deal with the constant urge to get out and hike during the workday? Obviously, you need money not only to live but to be able to go out on the adventures that you find yourself focusing on during the workday. So what you have to do is get it out of your mind is to use your time after the work day to get ready for that next hike.

What can you do after work and in between hikes? Here’s a list:

  1. Keep your gear in good condition. Clean your pack inside and out. Hang it to dry if you were hiking in the rain.
  2. Clean your boots. Check your laces for frays, if they are wet, set them somewhere to dry. Don’t put them near a heat source because the excessive dry heat could damage them.
  3. Replace anything that you used on the hike. First aid equipment, duct tape, sunscreen and especially TP.
  4. Figure out how to work that GPS that you bought and never figured out.
  5. Clean your trekking poles.
  6. If needed, clean your maps.
  7. Plan your next hike. And the one after that and the one after that. I do this and it allows me to focus on my work during the day and my hikes at night.
  8. Clean your hiking clothes every so often. Now I get it that if you are on a three or four-day adventure, you might start to smell. But day hikers really have no reason to smell like a thru-hiker.
  9. Learn how to use a compass and try navigating a hike.
  10. Plan hikes you might not necessarily go on. For instance, I almost never hike in the rain. This year, my goal is to do exactly that as often as I can.
  11. Read anything and everything on the internet about hiking. New gear, hikes, thru-hiker stories, wilderness first aid, hikers blogs.
  12. Youtube is a fascinating outlet for people doing everything that I have listed above. As with everything else the quality of some videos are not as good as others, but following AT and PCT thru hiker vlogs are a wonder in themselves.
  13. If you photograph or video your hikes, make sure your batteries are charged and your gear is ready to go.
  14. If you can’t get outside to hike or walk, get on a stationary bike to get in shape for those spring hikes.

So there you go, If all you can do is think about hiking at work, do it at home. Not only will you save yourself trouble at your job but you will also be better prepared for your next outdoor adventure.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Shakedown #1-Ramapo-Dunderberg

app trail blog image_edited

A while back I made a decision that when I retired I would hike the Appalachian Trail. Even though it is almost two years away, I am glad that I have that time to plan for this six month adventure. As I have watched videos of thru hikers, I have come to one conclusion. You have to know what gear you need/want and you have to know whether it works for you or against you.

On Wednesday of next week I will be heading out to Harriman State Park with two friends to backpack the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Running a little over 21 miles, the trail begins at the Tuxedo RR station and ends on route 9W on the opposite side of the park.

I am considering this my first shakedown hike in preparation for the AT. A shakedown hike is described by Brian Lewis as a “…longish backpacking trip where you try out your gear and associated process to find out if there are things you can improve (in either) before your thru-hike. And hopefully it will also confirm that hiking somewhat longer distances is something you really want to do.” My first shakedown will be three days and two nights.

Will I like the gear that I have? Will I want to do another trip, maybe longer before I make any final decisions? I don’t know. Only time will tell!

Over the next few days I am going to post some of the new gear that I have as well as the tried and true that I am pretty sure I will use on the AT.

Please feel free to leave your comments!

Happy Hiking!!!

Please read more about shakedown hikes here:

https://thetrek.co/why-shakedown-hikes-important-new-backpackers/

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/shakedown-hike-gear-review/

https://sectionhiker.com/shakedown-hikes-arent-just-for-backpacking-beginners/

Why The AT? Then Again, Why Not?

Image result for appalachian trail sign

“To travel, to experience and learn: that is to live.” –Tenzing Norgay

In a little under two years I will be eligible to retire from my job as a special educator. In NYS, teachers can retire at the age of 55 if they have 30 years in the system. Directly after high school I spent four years in the Marine Corps, then went to school and worked other jobs for  several years before teaching.

So what does this mean? It means that my time in education is near an end. So what next?

As I mentioned in my previous post, my first goal in retirement is to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. As a matter of course, the first question that everyone always asks anyone with a similar goal is “Why?”

With that said, let’s get the “why” out of the way.

My first adult real life challenge came in October 1983 when I reported to Parris Island, SC for basic training with the USMC. Without a doubt, this was the most difficult thing that I had done in my life, both physically and mentally. To describe it as three months of pure hell would be an understatement!

After being discharged I began hiking more than I ever had and used this as my primary form of exercise during the months that were suitable for hitting the trail. The rest of the year was spent riding a stationary bike in an attempt to try to get and stay in shape. This remains true to this day.

So, when you look at my love of hiking and put that together with a lifelong desire to accomplish difficult tasks, a thru hike almost seems inevitable. Why not?

More on this as I continue my research of the AT and engage in some more self reflection.