Tag Archives: Hiking

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

 

 

 

Has Spring Sprung?

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
― Anne Bradstreet

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Early spring last year at Ward Pound Ridge

It’s amazing what a single day can do your mind and your psyche. Tonight at 5:58 pm marks the official start of spring. Even though the temperature on my way in this morning read 26 degrees, my brain was still stuck on the idea of it being spring. In the northeast you still have to expect chilly nights, but the days will certainly get warmer each and every passing day. With that will come no snow, no mud and hopefully long afternoons of hiking after school.

The high temperatures between now and Sunday range from 48 degrees today to 55 on Sunday. In that range however, you do see a 39 slipped in on Saturday. But the good thing is that a 39 degree day on Saturday March 23rd is just a little bit different than a 39 degree afternoon in the middle of November.

With that said, I am pretty sure that I will head out to Ward Pound Ridge a couple of times in the next few days to venture out on a 3.5 mile loop that isn’t that difficult.

Here’s some info about spring that you  might find interesting that I got from The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

The vernal equinox signals new beginnings and nature’s renewal in the Northern Hemisphere! Many cultures celebrate spring festivals, like Easter and Passover.

Observe nature around you!

  • Worms begin to emerge from the earth. In fact, the March Full Moon is called “The Full Worm Moon” for this reason.
  • Notice the arc of the Sun across the sky as it shifts toward the north. Birds are migrating northward, along with the path of the Sun.
  • Speaking of birds, did you know that the increasing sunlight is what triggers birds to sing? Cool, eh? Enjoy our Bird Songs page.
  • Trees, shrubs, and flowers are sensitive to temperature and day-length, too! Since ancient days, people have used them as indicators of when the weather is right for planting. For example: Blooming crocus are your cue to plant radishesparsnips, and spinachSee more of nature’s signs.
  • Of course, the longer days bring warmer weather! Both we and the animals around us strip off our clothes and heavy coats!
  • Ready, set, plant! March is time to start gardens and sow seeds in many regions. See the best planting dates according to your local frost dates or our Vegetable Gardening for Beginners guide for gardening tips!

Here is the website: https://www.almanac.com/content/first-day-spring-vernal-equinox#

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hiking & The Brain

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I’m always on the hunt for articles or videos that stress the importance of hiking in relation to a healthy lifestyle. Here is a link to an excellent article on how the brain changes due to hiking. Even though the article was written three years ago, it is obviously still valid today. When you read it, you may think to yourself, “I already knew that.” As a hiker, you probably did.

https://www.collective-evolution.com/2016/04/08/doctors-explain-how-hiking-actually-changes-our-brains/

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Let’s Go Over The Basics…

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This is about 1/2 mile from the spot that has so far caused me just about nine months of hiking.  When I finally get out there no one will be able to say I’m not ready!

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

– John Muir

I’ve mentioned in previous posts the importance of being prepared when you go out hiking. It doesn’t what the length of the hike is, you need to have certain things with you, just in case. Just in case of what you might ask? Who knows!!!! The variables are constant and many. You really have to be prepared for what you know, and more importantly, what you don’t.

If you hike in the same area then you should be pretty familiar with the basics. I know that I plan for where I am going to be. If you hike in the same general area, this should make your planning a little easier. For example, what plants are poisonous, what is the terrain like, which snakes are poisonous and which ones aren’t and so on. This may seem like a lot of  information, but the more you know, the better prepared you will be just in case you run into trouble.

Here is a common list that I think is important to have even on short day hikes. It may differ from others that you have seen but I am making this based on personal experience. I learned the hard way last summer that you really, really need to be prepared.

1) Water-I know that I have beat this one pretty close to death, but it is a fact that even if you are heading out for a short hike, drink water before, during and after your hike. As a matter of fact, I bought two more of the 48 ounce Nalgene bottles a few weeks ago. This will bring me to 192 ounces of water even for a day hike. Since that comes to a nice 12 pounds of water, friends have told me I am crazy for carrying that much water. With my mishap last summer, I’ll file that under “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

2) Sawyer Squeeze-Ok. I know that with carrying that much water I shouldn’t need a purification system. Once again, you never know what is going to happen so I’ll file this under, “I know I’m crazy but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

3) Rain Poncho/Emergency Space Blanket-I have never really made it a priority to hike in the rain. Although I have been caught in thunderstorms during a hike, I have never set out to do a hike in the rain. This year I plan on making an effort to get out even in the rain. The poncho can also act as a nice shelter if something happens and I can’t get out of the woods right away. Of course The Emergency Space Blanket will help keep me warm.

4) First Aid Kit-I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. This one gets filed under, “you could be screwed if you don’t have one.”

5) Multi Tool/Fire Starter/Boonie Hat-Once again, pretty self-explanatory, always handy if you need them and a huge problem if you need them and don’t have them.

6) Map/GPS (Garmin Etrex 30)-Even though I know many of the trails that I hike on, having a map of the area is always essential. I don’t carry a compass anymore because I don’t stray from the trail like I used to 15-20 years ago. My days of bushwhacking are done. My GPS, a Garmin is used just to calculate exact mileage. In the old days, I would almost have to guestimate how far my hikes were.

7) Kelty Zephyr Daypack/Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles/Vasque St. Elias GTX Hiking Boots-I saved the best for last. For over two decades now I have hiked with my Kelty Zephyr Day Pack. Since I have no reason to retire it, I will use it for another year. Second, I did have to buy new trekking poles after snapping one of mine last year. My boots? They remain the same and probably will for at least the next few years. I still have the almost new ones that I never got to wear last summer, plus I got another pair a couple of months ago for just about 50% off. Can’t beat that with a stick!

So there you have it! I have read many, many different “essentials” that you should take day hiking. I have adapted my list to accommodate my own personal situation and I am hoping that it will make for a outstanding summer of hiking.

What are your essentials? Do they differ much from my list? What would you add or take away?

HAPPY HIKING!!!

It’s Closer Than You Think…

“I felt free and therefore I was free.” 

-Jack Kerouac

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This is what I’m talking about.

I can sense it. It’s almost time. The weather for the next few days looks like it should be for mid-March. With temps in the mid 40’s during the day and high teens to the early twenties at night, most of the snow has melted and now all we are left with is soul sucking mud. Even though we didn’t get a whole lot of snow this winter, the amount of rain we saw was unbelievable. It seems like it has rained non stop for months. As a result, we now have mud that will literally stop you in your tracks.

But that too shall pass. The trails will soon be clear and the warm air of spring will come. Oddly enough, however, one day out of nowhere it will be so hot that I’ll be trying to get my hikes in very early in the day just to beat the heat. But that’s ok. School ends on June 26th and we return on August 28th. That’s 62 days of hiking glory!

But let’s worry about the here and now. With the days getting longer and longer and more days between now and the end of school than in summer itself, I’ll be making plans to get out. Until then, my pack, poles and boots sit waiting.

Happy Hiking!!!

  

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles (Part 1)

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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!!!

 

The Itch Is Back…

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Better hiking days are ahead!!!!!!

As I sit here writing this, a cold freezing rain has finally stopped falling, leaving that annoying glaze of ice on everything. It doesn’t look so bad, but you know the second you step on it you’re going for a ride.

I don’t mind the snow so much, but freezing rain, sleet, and ice are a whole different ball game. The sound of it hitting the ground sounds fills me with a feeling of dread, of impending doom. Especially if I happen to be driving or hiking.

Anyway, I am officially done with winter. Usually, I don’t care if it hangs around and we get a few more storms than we are used to, but I’ve had it already. The snow and freezing rain can stay away and the cold can stay where it belongs (Canada, eh). We need spring here immediately.

But here’s the point of this post. Here’s the bottom line.

Something always happens every year around this time. The itch returns. It’s kind of like at Christmas where instead of dreams of sugar plums dancing in my head, I start dreaming of hikes and then I start giving my hiking gear the once over. That knowing look that my pack and I will soon be back in the woods, watching spring turn to summer and  I spend about twenty minutes going through my day pack to make sure that I have everything that I need. When it dawns on me that I am not going out, disappointment sets in and I put everything back in the pack with the same care as handling a newborn. I know that day will come.

So now I wait. Looking at the weather forecast, I don’t think that winter is done with us and we will get more of the white stuff before we can enjoy spring.

It wasn’t that long ago where I would head out in just about any weather condition. It didn’t matter what the weather was like, I would go hiking. My friend and I even hiked to Anthony’s Nose in the middle of a blizzard about twenty years ago. Needless to say,  I do not recommend that.

And then I fractured my ankle last June. Although it has been almost eight months since the fracture and subsequent surgery, I have only been hiking one time. I missed the entire summer, fall and winter days that haven’t been so bad. That has made the itch to get back outside that much worse.

So this year I will wait until the trails are clear. I know it may sound stupid, but I am waiting strictly out of fear. The fear that I may slip and fall again. I have been hiking for about forty years and never worried. Now I do.

Looking at the big picture, however, It’s probably for the best. Until the time comes I can keep unpacking and repacking my day pack.

HAPPY HIKING!!!