“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — an endless prospect of magic and wonder.”
— Ansel Adams
“We must go and see for ourselves.”
— Jacques Cousteau
One of the things that I love most about fall hiking are the trees. No longer covered in leaves, the bare branches stand a lonely guard over the rest of the woods. I don’t know why, but I find that once they have been prepped for winter, they are truly fascinating. At dawn or under a clear blue sky, each branch, large and small, present themselves as the one true guardian of nature as it sinks into its winter slumber.
The transformation that has taken place in the woods at Ward Pound Ridge over the last month and a half has been incredible. My first exposure to these trails was late July, when summer was already in full swing. Now, as time passes and the leaves have fallen, the view changes almost daily.
“Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.”
What a beautiful and exhilarating morning! I decided that on my hike today (11/4/17) I would test out the headlamp that I recently purchased (previous post). Starting out at just about 5:20 am, it was still fully dark and would remain so for almost the full duration of my hike. I also finally got the chilly morning that I have been waiting for! Even though the temperature was 35 degrees, it didn’t feel that cold and as I entered the woods, it was almost perfectly silent. The only sound that I could hear were my boots shuffling through the fallen leaves as I walked up the trail.
With the exception of the last 15 minutes of the hike, I used the headlamp to illuminate the ground as I walked. I thought at first that it would be difficult to see the trail in front of me, but the lamp proved to be very effective in making sure that I could see any rocks or roots that could prove to be an issue as I hiked.
The picture below, although it is a really crappy cell phone photo, shows you how well the trail was lit during this hike.
As I made my way out of the woods, I saw the last of a huge moon setting and when I turned to the east, I was treated to a beautiful sunrise.
For several months now I have wanted to get a headlamp so I could either do some night hikes or just start my hikes earlier than I normally do. I went to Amazon and google just to do some research and I decided that the LED Waterproof Headlamp Flashlight, Rechargeable Zoomable Headlamps Adjustable Cree T6 Headlight for Camping Hiking Hunting Running Working Outdoor Sports with 18650 Batteries,Charger and USB Cable was the best choice for what I am looking to do.
At $16.88, the headlamp is basically everything that it was advertised to be. I was actually surprised at how bright the lamp is and how well it illuminated the trail and surrounding woods. In regards to the fit, after about 15 minutes of wearing the lamp, I didn’t even notice that I had it on. When I bent over to tie my boots or open my pack, it stayed securely on my head.
Instead of getting into all of the nuts and bolts of this headlamp, I have included the description below that was on Amazon. Overall, it was definitely worth the money. This will open up an entirely new world of hiking!
Ultra Bright & Modes: Max Output 800 Lumens CREE XML-T6 LED Bulbs with a Lifespan of 100,000 hours, Light Up to 200 meters (600 feet) Above. 3 Modes (High / Medium / Strobe), the Synchronous Rear Red Indicator Light on the Battery Holder Plays a good Warning role at Night
Focusable & Rotatable: 90 Degree Rotatable Lamp Head (Stretching to Adjust its Focus) allow you to Light Up Anywhere you need. Elastic Headband make it Fit Snugly on your Head or over a Baseball Cap, No Brain Squeeze or Bobbing. Detachable Lamp Head also can use a Headlamp or Waist Lamps, Easy to Install in Pocket Travel Bag, Backpack, Hat Brink etc
Multipurpose: Hands Free Headlight Prefect for Indoor and Outdoor Activities, like Jogging, Biking, Caving, Backpacking, Night Fishing, Walking your dog at Night, Household Work, Auto Repair, Emergency Kit or on Construction Helmet Hat
Waterproof & Heatproof – GREAT FOR INDOOR AND OUTDOOR USE: No more struggle in hot or rain Or ultra sunny weathers makes this light qualified and usable at all seasons all the time, Made with high quality Aerial Aluminum Alloy to prevent damage in rainy or hot weathers Great for camping, hiking and running.
“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”
The trail at the start of the hike.
After not hiking for several days, I got back on the trail on Thursday to see what I could see. And finally, I saw some pretty intense fall colors as I made my way around the Green Trail and up a rocky road to a shelter. Due to a busy week, not only have I not been out hiking, but I also did not get on my stationary bike as much as I would have liked. Needless to say, my legs felt out of sorts and I knew that I was moving a little slower than I usually do.
Some nice fall colors in the woods.
With that said, it did feel good to get the legs moving and to breathe in the crisp fall air. Today I did bring my decent camera with me so I was hoping to get some decent pictures that adequately represented the day. Although it wasn’t brilliantly sunny, as the sun set it keep peeking through the clouds offering me a pretty nice array of colors and shades within the clouds.
Every time I go to Ward Pound Ridge now the trees are more bare and the woods seem more expansive than they did just a few weeks ago. Since I started to hike at WPRR during the summer, everything was cloaked in a sea of greens. Now, if even just for a couple of days, the trees resemble a huge bowl of stuffing that sits on the table at Thanksgiving.
Like the bowl of stuffing that is waiting to be eaten, the leaves fall and are reclaimed by the earth. It is truly an awesome time to be hiking. Today was definitely the coldest morning in a many months. At my usual start time of around 6:20 am, the temperature had dropped to 38 degrees. As I stretched and waited for it to get a little lighter (and warmer), I put on the flannel jacket that I had stashed in the back of my jeep.
Even at that time of the morning I could tell which of the shelters were occupied because of the distinct smell of a dying campfire. As I approached one shelter, it was so quiet that I could hear the slow roar of someone snoring. When I actually passed the tent and the snore was at its loudest, I could only feel sorry for anyone who might be sharing a tent with him.
“When we are pushed and pulled in many different directions, we lose our sovereignty. We’re not free. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away anymore. Resist. Each mindful step is a step toward freedom. This kind of freedom is not political freedom. It’s freedom from the past, from the future, from our worries and our fears.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
After an unexpected trip to Albany on Friday the 13th, I was left with a couple more hours of daylight than I was used to. Knowing this, I decided to go for a hike. The weather was beautiful and a nice cool breeze washed over the woods. Despite the fact that I had driven over four hours, I felt surprisingly good as I made my way on to the trail. My goal at first was to walk the original 5 1/2 miles of the Labyrinth but I hoped to do more.
Finishing the last couple of hundred yards of the first loop, I still felt good and knew that I would be able to do a few more miles. Instead of doing the Red Trail again, I broke off when it intersected with the RT and followed until it met up with the Yellow Trail. This brought me back to the car.
Truly an exercise in trying to find your inner peace!
Another day, another hike, another near miss with the rain. Only this time I didn’t even know it was supposed to rain! Heading out right after work, I decided to do the loop that I did on Sunday, only this time I would go past the connector trail and continue on the Red/Yellow Trail to the finish.
When I was about a half of a mile from the end, I saw this leaf suspended in mid air. At first I was a little freaked out because I couldn’t see anything holding it up. It just kept turning with the slight breeze that was blowing. Even when you look at the picture, you can’t see anything!!!
As I finished the hike and stretched my legs, I felt the familiar drops of rain as it went from barely raining to pouring in a matter of a couple of minutes. Once again, I got lucky and didn’t get soaked!