Tag Archives: hiking quotes

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY HIKING!!!!

“We don’t stop hiking because we grow old – We grow old because we stop hiking.” – Finis Mitchel

“Hiking and happiness go hand in hand or foot in boot.” – Diane Spicer

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! I know, I know. It’s January 2nd!! That’s ok. A new year usually brings with it a whole new basket of resolutions that most people will not keep. I’m sure some folks will disagree with me, but at this point, I’m just keeping it real!

So, my resolution this year is a simple one. After a year of almost no hiking, I want to hike more in 2023 and capture those hikes through photographs.

In trying to achieve and keep that resolution going, however, I have to further refine how I prepare for my hikes.

Over the years, I have found that how I get ready for my spring and summer hikes has changed drastically since I was a younger lad.

Back in the day, my prep used to include the following: 1) Go to the trail and hike. Now? The script has flipped on this one, folks. These days I have to think about my knees and ankles and making sure my hiking route is written out in detail so if I get injured, my family will know where to lead the authorities.

Filling my day pack used to be a pretty simple deal as well. The contents used to consist of maps, water, snack, lunch, camera, bug spray, first aid kit, and other assorted nonsense.

As I have explained in previous posts, I can no longer use a traditional day pack and have to, instead, use a sling pack. Since they are much smaller, I have to now choose very carefully what I bring with me.

Most of the items listed above will stay, just more condensed and in smaller containers. I’ll start experimenting shortly with packing my sling pack as the winter progresses.

Physically this year, I am going to add training with resistance bands to my winter routine. After doing a great deal of research, it looks like it certainly couldn’t hurt, so I will add that to my regimen. I have also added specific exercises to help strengthen my ankles and knees.

The point of all this? To make sure that my hiking experiences are safe and continue to be fun. If hiking is painful and no fun, why hike? So preventive maintenance is the way to go.

Once again, Happy New Year and, of course, HAPPY HIKING!!!

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!!!!!

An Anniversary I Wish I Didn’t Have To Acknowledge

“Hiking is a bit like life: The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other…again and again and again. And if you allow yourself the opportunity to be present throughout the entirety of the trek, you will witness beauty every step of the way, not just at the summit.” – Anonymous

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

Today, 12/26/22 is the third anniversary of my heart attack. Since then, I have made changes to my life that I would think are for the better. After totally overhauling my diet, I find that I don’t crave all of the old crap that I used to. Candy is off the list (even sugar free candy, I can’t stand the taste of it). Fast food, like my favorite, Taco Bell, has also been filed in my brain as a “thing of the past.”

Physically, I feel better today than I have in years. It is amazing to me that you can feel bad for so long and not truly get it that something is drastically wrong. Talk about NOT listening to your body! Once COVID hit, unfortunately, it had my head spinning like a top. Can I still get out and hike? Should I hike?

In between the HA, CHF, and Type 2 diabetes, I have spent way too much time researching each of the conditions as well as how each can affect the others. I’ve probably learned way too much about ejection fractions and echocardiograms. I have also learned a great deal about the medications that I now take to keep my ticker ticking.

Mentally, the journey has been a little tougher. With COVID and the constantly changing messages regarding vaccines, masks, and, well, everything about the virus, it has been incredibly difficult to keep adjusting to every new idea that is floated to the American public. With all of that said, my focus remains on maintaining and also continuing to improve my health, both physically and mentally. I keep all of my doctor appointments and have learned that if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

So now I live my life much differently than I did three years ago.  It’s pretty clear that if I hadn’t changed my ways, today would more than likely look very different.

Hopefully, these changes will help to prolong a life that has been altered by years of bad habits and choices.

The most important thing? Stay positive and motivated!

Happy Hiking!

Back to Ward Pound Ridge

“I go on hikes expecting to see the great outdoors but spend most of the time lost in my own head.” – We Dream of Travel

“I love that moment in a hike when you snap to and suddenly realize for the last 10 minutes you’ve not been observing nature but have instead become a part of it.” – We Dream of Travel

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As much as I like and expect to post my hikes the same day, sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. In this case, I went out on Tuesday and the weather was awesome. With the wind blowing through the trees (with no leaves) it still sounded like a winter morning. As of last Tuesday, although it was still warm, the trees are still bare and the woods have a gloomy look to them. I think that it will only take another week or two to show its true colors!

As always, the hiking was nice. I kept it slow and soaked in the warm air and the silence, taking a different loop than I did the previous hike. It was all good with the exception of my left hand which I injured the week before. It made gripping my trekking pole more difficult than it should be. All in all, any hike is a good hike so I was happy and even happier that the next few days were kind of rainy and with the temperatures fluctuating the way they have been, I won’t journey out in the rain until it gets warmer.

But journey out I will. I have plans to go to Bear Mt., Fahnestock State Park, and the Black Rock Forest. I just have to plan my hikes more carefully than I have in the past. Since I am now retired, that is not an issue.

Here are some photos from my last hike.

The result of going to the bathroom at 3:30 am. All is good. This made gripping my trekking difficult.
A section of side trail.
Still more side trail. SILENCE!
Some debris left over from the winter. They did a nice job clearing the trail.
Part of the main trail.
Some more trail.

Feel free to check out the site, “We Dream of Travel”. A great deal of useful information for all hikers.

4/13-3.2/5.9

HAPPY HIKING!!!

First Hike Of The Year

“Hiking is not escapism; it’s realism. The people who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; we are returning to where we belong” – Jennifer Pharr Davis

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.” – Paulo Coelho

Today was a beautiful 64 degrees, a perfect day for a hike! With that said, I did get out and I did learn some lessons on the first hike of the year.

  1. Contrary to what I thought, the gnats were out today in force. Of course, since I thought it was to early in the season, I didn’t bring any bug spray. Lesson learned! Bug spray goes with me for every hike now.
  2. The sling pack, even with the minimum amount of gear (read yesterdays post) will still take some getting used to. It is made to sit evenly on your back, but it is just different. I’m not going to lie, I miss my Kelty Day Pack.
  3. Although I have been riding my studio cycle for over a year, it doesn’t use the same muscles as hiking. Every Spring I go through the same breaking in period with my legs. Unfortunately, it takes a little longer these days now that I’m getting older.

All in all, even though my first hike of the year was only 2.7 miles, it felt great to be outside. Walking on the soft earth eased the pain of using all of the different muscles that I usually don’t use, and it felt great.

When I arrived, the parking lot was pretty full for a Friday afternoon. I didn’t see anyone in the lot, and I didn’t see anyone until the final 300 yards. I was able to stop several times, take some photos and soak up the silence. The breeze moving through the trees was pure bliss and the absence of literally any sounds made it just about as perfect a hike as you are going to get.

I think for the next few days I am going to do this loop to get my “trail legs” back. Even though this loop has a couple of very small inclines, it will definitely help me with getting used to hiking and then longer hikes.

It feels great to be on the trail again!

2.7/2.7 Miles

HAPPY HIKING!!!   

Adventure Awaits

“Without adventure civilization is in full decay.” – Alfred North Whitehead

“I think I’m quite ready for another adventure.”-Bilbo Baggins

“The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot”― Werner Herzog

After several weeks of absolutely beautiful weather and the mornings getting warmer, I think it is about that time to get back out into the woods. Before December 26, 2019, hiking was a carefree affair and I have always treated it that way.

Ever since that day, however, I have had to rethink how I go about engaging in even a short day hike. To complicate matters, when I had my defibrillator implanted on July 31, 2020, it made that puzzle even more complex.

As I have written in previous entries, the use of my trusty Kelty Day Pack is now one of the past. I spent a great deal of time looking for alternative packs, not knowing of course, that they make sling packs that wouldn’t put undue stress on the area where the defibrillator is under my skin. Due to its positioning, any type of weight, even in a two strap small daypack, could damage the defibrillator.

So, when I found the sling pack, the one issue with just about all of them is they are all about half the size of my Kelty Day Pack. This presents its own set of questions and issues. Now, after a heart attack, congestive heart failure, and being diabetic, I am more than thankful that I can still hike. With that said, I have to be even more cognizant of what I bring with me even on a short three mile hike. All of this, of course, due to limited space in my sling pack.

What changes, then, have I made to my routine for preparing for a day hike?

First and foremost, I leave a detailed description of where I am going, where I will be parking and how long I expect to be gone. This means that the days of switching up hikes or adding mileage on different trails is one of the past. That is of course after I text someone I know and let them know about the change.

I used to bring two bottles of water but that had to be cut down to one due to size restrictions. Of course, I bring TP, hand disinfectant, hand sanitizer, my Garmin GPS, water filter and my camera. I am going to get some photos with my new phone to see what the difference in quality is like and if the phone ones prove to be better than the camera, I will switch to that. Otherwise, I will make room for the camera.

Since it is spring and weather is what you would expect, the need for extra layers of clothes is not needed. This alone saves a great deal of room.

Medically the only issue that might arise (besides something catastrophic with my heart) is low blood sugar. I find, at times, that after exercising my sugar takes a dive and then needs to be corrected. For this I will bring Glucose tablets. Unfortunately, I have suffered the effects of low blood sugar a few times and it is unpleasant to say the least. I just need to really stay on top of it while I hike and when the hike is finished.

Since my plan right now is to go out tomorrow morning, I think that I am going to stay with my tried and true hiking area in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. I am more than familiar with the trails and at this time of year I shouldn’t have any problems finding water to filter if the need arises.

I have to admit that while I am looking forward to getting out, I am also a little apprehensive. I’ve only been out a few times since last year and I really want to make sure that I get out at the very least a few times a week. I guess to do that I need to take the first step.

Of course, here in the Northeast, even though spring is here now, summer will drop on us like a hammer sooner rather than later. And when that happens, the mornings won’t be the joys that they are now. When the humidity hits it will bring with it the gnats and mosquitoes, making each hike a journey into who will survive.

Let’s all be thankful for bug spray.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

It’s Just Around The Corner…

“Hike more, worry less.”-Unknown

“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.” – G.M. Trevelyan

“Without adventure civilization is in full decay.” – Alfred North Whitehead

It has been a long winter. In between snowstorms and the cold, I haven’t been out hiking in quite a while. But the time is coming. Just the other day it was 51 degrees.          Of course, it wasn’t the same 51 degrees that will feel much warmer in the next few weeks, but 51 is much, much better than 21.

So, what do I have to look forward to? Now that I am retired, my days are my own. For now, I ride my studio cycle as often as I can, but as soon as it is possible, I will be out in the woods. For now, it looks like I’ll be spending a great deal of time in the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. I want to spend some time there to get myself into shape for the more strenuous hikes in Bear Mt. and across the river. Each of the hikes will of course be documented here on the Zen Hiker.

Although I mentioned it in an earlier post, I have had to make adjustments as to the type of daypack that I can carry, even for short hikes. Because of an implanted defibrillator, I can not use any type of pack that has two straps. Apparently, if I have any type of weight in my day pack, it will put unnecessary stress on the point of implantation. As a result, I had to look for pack with only one sling in the center so I could avoid the defibrillator. This is much more difficult than you would think. After a great deal of research, I decided on the RUSH MOAB™ 10 SLING PACK 18L.

In a Best of 2021 Sling Bag list, the reviewer says, “Get your gear in order with this fully customizable tactical bag made from water-resistant and incredibly lightweight 1050D nylon. The fully cushioned adjustable shoulder strap makes it easy to find your customized fit. This sling pack offers plenty of organized storage areas. An interior stash pocket paired with a hydration pocket and a pass-through port make it easy to stay hydrated too.”

Although the size of the bag will take some getting used to, it’s just one more thing that I have to make adjustments for if I want to keep hiking. I can’t tell you how many times I have scoffed at the idea of being a minimalist, even if it is for day hikes, but at this point I don’t have much of a choice.

So, then the question becomes, “What should be a priority for me to carry on my day hikes?”

Here is a list of must haves:

  1. Water-How much depends on how long.
  2. Water Filtration-Instead of carrying to much water, if I know that I am going to be hiking near water, I can use my Sawyer Squeeze.
  3. First Aid Kit
  4. Cell phone for emergencies
  5. Toilet Paper
  6. Camera-I have a Canon, but if my new phone takes pictures that are comparable, I’ll use that.

All of these items will go into the main compartment of the bag. In the smaller, less exposed pockets I will keep my wallet, FOB for my vehicle and the map of the area that I am in.

As much as I would like to carry what I used to, it just won’t be possible. But that’s ok. I will be out hiking!!!

Ward Pound Ridge

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Unknown

 “A walk in nature walks the soul back home.” – Mary Davis

Three days ago my friend and I went to Anthony’s Nose. Today, even though I hiked alone, I wasn’t alone. WPR was packed with people at the trailhead and it made it difficult at the beginning to get by other hikers. As I made my way up the trail, however, the crowds thinned out and I did get to enjoy some moments of peace and quiet. This hike reminded me again of why I really enjoy hiking in the early morning. No people!!!!

As you will see in the two pictures below, I also came across this lengthy inhabitant of the woods. From a distance I though for sure it was just a stick and then it moved!!!! I took the pictures and then moved on my way.

An unexpected friend on the trail.
He wasn’t too happy to see me.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The next photo shows my favorite rock to take a break at about the two mile point. If you notice, I had too get a new pack. Since I had a defibrillator implanted, I can no longer use a conventional daypack with two straps as it would place pressure on the spot of the implant. So after a little research, I found a 10 liter sling pack. This will take some getting used to.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

When I Return…

“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.”-G.M. Trevelyan

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”-Beverly Sills

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”-Mary Davis

 

So in my time being quarantined because of Covid and my recovery, I have been able to plan my eventual return to the woods. Being a little leery about going out for the first time, my hiking partner of well over twenty years has agreed to accompany me when that glorious time comes. I have decided that my return hike is going to be an old favorite.

Even though I have hiked Anthony’s Nose over 300 times over the years, I still love it and haven’t had the chance to hike it in a couple of years. As I have noted in other posts, one of the attractions to the Nose is that it is pretty much uphill the entire way there and downhill on the way back.  The views are excellent and if we go on a weekday morning, the crowds won’t be so bad. It is unfortunate, but on Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s, trying to hike in peace is impossible.

With that said, the views from the Nose are outstanding. Once you get to the top, it overlooks the Bear Mt. Bridge and Bear Mt. itself. On the way back (or the way there), you can also stop at another viewpoint that gives you excellent views north on the Hudson River.

Depending on how far you want to hike will determine where you start your trip to the Nose. For my return, we will begin and end on the AT at South Mt. Pass. This will be just about a 4-mile hike.

You may be asking yourself why I am telling you this and here is the reason why. I am going stir crazy being cooped up in my house! If I can’t actually get out into the woods, I’ll write about it.

For all of you that can get out, I salute you and take a hike for me!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

I Miss Hiking

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”-Mary Davis

“Walking is a man’s best medicine.”-Hippocrates

I miss hiking. Something that I have been doing pretty consistently my entire adult life has taken a back seat to Covid-19 and recovering from my heart attack. What do I miss most? Here is my top ten list:

  1. Being outside.
  2. Being outside with my fellow hikers.
  3. The feel of the earth under my feet as I am walking through the woods.
  4. The breeze rustling the trees and cooling me off.
  5. Taking pictures of the myriad of things that I see on my hikes.
  6. Being able to think without being bothered by anyone.
  7. The isolation. Being able not to think about anything,
  8. Exploring new hikes.
  9. Hiking familiar trails and seeing new things.
  10. Posting my hikes on my blog.
  11. (Bonus) Disconnecting from everything electronic (except my camera).

So, for now, I ride my studio cycle to help with the recovery as well as get in shape for the eventual time that I can get back out into the woods.

HAPPY HIKING!!!