Tag Archives: Hudson Valley Hikes

Hike Like An Antelope

“Set the gearshift to the high gear of your soul.”

-Phish

Today’s hike was a little on the weird side. Not only was there no breeze during the entirety of my hike, but it was totally silent. No squirrels, birds, chipmunks. Nothing. In all of the hikes that I have done in Ward Pound Ridge, this is the first time I have encountered total and utter silence. It’s been close before but never like this.

It was as close to perfection on a hike as you can get. The start of the hike was also pretty cool. With the sun still not up, the moon was perfectly silhouetted against the blue sky.

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As the hike began, it was odd to see the entrance to the woods covered in the same mist that is usually reserved for the heavily wooded areas just to the east of this area.

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Moving into the woods, it felt really good to be out again. It was especially nice because the only sounds that I could hear were my hiking sticks hitting the ground and the sound of my boots on the earth. To say that it was outstanding both physically and mentally would be a serious understatement.

“Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.” 
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

The loop that I have been doing is an excellent way to start the day. It’s not too easy, not too hard, it just happens to be just right. It looks like for the time being I’ll be sticking to my four-mile loop while I explore some reoccurring health issues.

 What follows are some pictures taken along the loop.

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Trails along the loop as well as a connector trail.

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Trail markers along the loop.

I have been keeping an eye on a bees nest for the last couple of weeks.  When I happened upon it a couple of days ago, it was gone! The only part of it that was left was the top of the nest. I can only think of three ways that the nest could have disappeared. First, due to the proximity of the nest to the trail, perhaps the staff of Ward Pound Ridge decided to get rid of it. Second, some pretty severe storms had moved through the area and maybe it was blown off of the tree. With that said, I couldn’t find the remains of the nest. And lastly, maybe a fellow hiker took it upon themselves to get rid of it.

Needless to say, I was surprised when I saw it today and the bees were busy rebuilding a new nest.

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A new nest in the same exact spot as the old one.

New nest on the left, old nest on the right.

Let’s see how long this one lasts.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #22-7/26/19-4.4-98.6

Let’s Not Repeat Last Year

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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

– John Muir

A year ago today, after a night of heavy rain, I experienced the single worst day of hiking that I ever have had in over 40 years of being out in the woods. For those of you who don’t know, at approximately noon on 6/28/18, I slid on rock and as my left foot became wedged between a “^” shaped stone, I fell to the right and heard a loud crack. As I tried to get up, I knew something was really wrong.

As my two hiking companions called 911 and set up a tarp for shade, I began throwing up and realized that something was much more wrong than my ankle. I began passing out and after several hours, park rangers arrived to carry me out of the woods.

To make a long story short, due to being dehydrated, my kidneys were failing and I spent six days in the hospital before they could perform surgery on the broken ankle. The end result? A summer of sitting on my rear end. It was a long and incredibly boring summer.

So now, a year later, the only residual effects I have is half of a foot that is numb most of the time. I was told that this might happen but now it is getting old.

But today, as most of the days have been recently, have been kind to anyone hiking. Temperatures haven’t been that bad and for the most part, and the humidity has been acceptable. Almost perfect hiking weather.

 

 

Now you have to remember that I am out on the trail usually no later than 6 am, with most days being earlier so I wouldn’t expect too many problems with the heat and humidity.

 

 

This morning I did a reverse loop of one of the many that I have completed in Ward Pound Ridge. Although it was pretty much uphill for the first mile, that was ok, I didn’t feel bad and I have to get used to hiking some hills anyway.

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That’s one of the many things to love about Ward Pound Ridge!

Happy Hiking!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #12-6/28/19-4.1-54.3

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

Another Beautiful Day

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

-John Burroughs

Every couple of years I need a few days of hiking in the middle of the day to remind me why I get up at 4:30-5:00 am to get out into the woods. I can’t even tell you how many people I encountered today from the front, the rear, the left, and the right. It was absolute insanity. Thankfully summer vacation will be here soon so I can return to my 5:00 am hikes. It is so much more peaceful.

Of course, I fully acknowledge the fact that anyone can hike at any time, but I if I wanted to hang out with that many people when I hike, I would. That partially explains the very, very early morning hikes. When my feet first hit the trail during the summer, it usually isn’t even light out yet. I can’t explain how blissful it is. The other reasons, of course, have to do with the heat of the summer.

IMG_4608  About two hundred yards from the finish to this hike I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. As I looked down, the snake in the picture actually went to bite me! As it slithered off the trail, I immediately took off my pack and got my camera out. I am assuming it is just a large garter snake that was sunning itself on the trail before being startled.

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #7-5/27/19-4.0-32.1

Back On The Brown

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

-John Muir

I know that I have used this quote before, but it speaks so much to why I hike. I don’t think I need to explain, the quote says it all.

We have been blessed with weather this weekend that has been just about as good as it can get. I didn’t get up at my usual five am this morning to hit the trail but instead waited until just about 11:30 am. With a starting temperature of just around 80 degrees, it was much warmer than I was used to, but also noticeably cooler once you got into the woods. A strong breeze was also blowing, making it seem even cooler.

Since I just did this hike the other day, I won’t bore you with the particulars of the hike except that I was moving much faster than the other day. I don’t what the deal was, but I felt much better than I did on Friday.

So instead, I took pictures of different areas of the Brown Trail to share with you.

At certain points, this trail runs parallel to a stream, which due to recent rainfall was still running quite strongly. In a few weeks, it will slow to a trickle if the rain stops falling.

 

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #6-5/26/19-5.3-28.1

 

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

 

 

 

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!!!