Tag Archives: heart diseasse

2023 Catskills Fire Tower Challenge

“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.”

– Henry David Thoreau

If you are reading this, you probably enjoy hiking. I know that I do. But one thing that makes hiking better is a challenge! I received an email today from the NYS Department of Conservation that had in it the 2023 Catskills Tower Challenge.

If you hike to each of the towers listed between 1/1/23 and 12/31/23, you will receive a certificate of completion as well as a very cool commemorative patch! (Shown above)

Here is a map showing the locations in the Catskills of each of the towers.

I won’t list all of the particulars here as I am sure that if you are like me, you like to do your own research. I can tell you that I have already Googled the distances from my house to each of the towers as well as the distance of each hike. I am thinking that since most of these are between 1.5-2.0 hours away, so I will try to do at least two a day, if not more! That will be a decision that I will make at a later date.

So, to get you started, here is the NYSDEC website address:

http://www.dec.ny.gov

You can use the link or Google Catskills Fire Tower Challenge. When you get to the site, all of the information that you need to plan for and complete the challenge is there.

One thing that is guaranteed is that no matter what order you decide to hike these in or the season you hike them, you are going to be treated to unbelievable views that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else!

Let me know in the comments if you think that this might be something that has piqued your interest and may consider attempting.

HAPPY HIKING!!!!!

Back On The Trail…Soon Enough

As the coldest air of the season sets in, thoughts turn toward spring hiking. When I was younger, the idea of hiking in the cold, rain, and snow was never an issue. One time in the early 2000s, my hiking buddy and I hiked Anthony’s Nose in a blizzard. While it was an awesome hike, it probably wasn’t the best decision I have ever made.

As I have grown older, my desire to hike in extreme conditions has waned. The need for every hike to have an epic view has waned. Needless to say, my hiking priorities have changed, and every chance that I have to be out in the woods is just that, a day spent on the trail. If the hike is two miles or eight, the focus is on the hike, not on checking off boxes that some folks think are important.

So, why am I telling you this? Today is the day before Christmas, and with the “once in a generation” storm now over, the frigid air has settled in, and it truly feels like winter. All I can think of now is planning hikes for the spring. With new maps in hand, my thoughts are now consumed with preparing for and getting out hiking.

While It is true that I have not been able to get out hiking much in the last year, it is my hope that 2023 will be much different. I miss being out on any trail. I miss the smell of the earth, the feel of the trail under my feet, and most of all, just being outside.

The first step in this process is complete. I have updated each of my maps: Bear Mt. (Northern & Southern), East and West Hudson, and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Now I can pore over them and revisit hikes of the past, as well as combining different trails to make new hikes.  

As in the past, this sometimes time consuming task is a vital one. I don’t find many things to be calming, but this happens to be one of them. Sitting with each of the maps, I can spend hours going over trails, distances and calculating the time needed to complete a hike. It is, quite simply, soothing.

Does this mean I won’t venture out before spring? We’ll see…

So feel free to join me as I begin my journey back to the trail.

Don’t Forget The Diet

“I saw many people who had advanced heart disease and I was so frustrated because I knew if they just knew how to do the right thing, simple lifestyle and diet steps, that the entire trajectory of their life and health would have been different.”-Dr. Oz

“Think about it: Heart disease and diabetes, which account for more deaths in the U.S. and worldwide than everything else combined, are completely preventable by making comprehensive lifestyle changes. Without drugs or surgery.”-Dean Ornish

One of the things that I have thought a great deal about since my heart attack is my diet. I have always exercised, but as an adult, my diet has been shit. I mean seriously, if you live in America, the choices you have to live a really, really bad lifestyle are endless. Taco Bell (used to be my favorite), McDonalds, BK, KFC and all of the rest contribute to a great deal of misery and unfortunately, death in this great nation of ours.

During the nine days I was in the hospital, I was able to do something that I don’t think I could have done if I was home. I actually detoxed myself off of sugar and any foods that are really bad for you. Since my daughter was home from school, I sat down with her and with the help of the internet, we figured out a diet that would suit my diabetes and heart condition. She spent (according to her) several days going through the house getting rid of anything that didn’t fall into the new plan of healthy eating.

So, after leaving the hospital, I went home not really sure if I was going to have the willpower to stick to a diet that didn’t include at least some of my favorite crappy foods. Fortunately, I think that since I was able to detox in the hospital, when I got home it was much easier to stay off of the garbage. Fourteen months later, I can say that I am still not eating the useless foods and have adopted what I think is a pretty good diet. I can also tell you that with the change in diet and the continued exercise, I feel better than I have in years.

After several months I found that although many of the recipes I was eating were really good for my diabetes, they were high in sodium, which isn’t great for the heart in regards to water retention.

So once again I went to the internet (Amazon this time), and I found an excellent cook book with recipes from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association entitled, Diabetes and Heart Healthy Meals for Two.

The best thing about this book is that it runs the gamut of everything that you would want to eat, from soups and salads to meats, poultry, and vegetarian dishes. It also includes side dishes, breakfasts and dessert. Seeing as how it addresses both Diabetes and people with Heart Conditions, it makes a perfect cook book to use if you are trying to eat healthy.

Of course, I am not an expert in all things healthy, but I can tell you that I haven’t found any recipes that have not been edible. They’ve actually been really good.

Now the question that I have been wrestling with for these many months as I recover and also stay isolated from anyone who might kill me with COVID is this: If I had been eating better over the course of the last 30-40 years, would I have developed heart disease and diabetes? Although my mother had a bad ticker, it was her life long addiction to cigarettes that did her in.

One thing that you will never see me do is blame anyone but myself for my medical conditions. So many people these days spend their lives blaming everyone but themselves for the condition that they are in.
Only one person has that responsibility and blame and that person is you.

I Just Want To Hike

“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary

Hiking and happiness go hand in hand or foot in boot.-Diane Spicer

It has been a long year. Starting with my heart attack (actually on 12/26/19), it quickly went from bad to worse with the onslaught of COVID, and it didn’t seem like anyone could catch a break. With that said, I can count my retirement as a blessing. Truly a dysfunctional workplace, those poor folks are in the midst of trying to figure out what it is going to be like when they return in just a few weeks. 

Due to my hearts poor functioning, I had to wear a portable defibrillator for seven months instead of the forty-five days that they originally thought. On 7/31/20, I finally had a defibrillator implanted and have been recovering from that. 

My biggest wish, however, is to get back into the woods. My daughter and I went for a walk the other day and it just wasn’t the same. I want to walk on the dirt and feel the breeze as it filters through the trees. I want to take pictures of stupid things like rocks, trees, and insects. I want to be able to choose my route instead of watching the tv while I ride. 

But I still have an issue that I am trying to figure out. The spot where they implanted the defibrillator is just above the left breast. So when I go back in a week, I need to ask my doctor if I will be able to even carry a pack. The strap of even a daypack goes right over where the defibrillator is and when my pack is filled with everything I need even on a short hike, will put pressure on the device. I don’t know how much weight, if any, I will be able to carry.

So my question goes out to all the hikers out there. Do you know of any alternatives in terms of packs that would alleviate that situation? I figure that I would need to carry two Nalgene bottles, my first aid kit, GPS, and other assorted necessities. 

Feel free to put any suggestions in the comments below.

HAPPY HIKING!!!