Tag Archives: Hudson Valley Hiking

Sunday At The Reservation

“I slow down when hiking. The rhythm of nature is more leisurely. The sun comes up, it moves across the sky, and you begin to synchronize to that rhythm.”
-John Mackey

It was another beautiful morning in the Hudson Valley. I would really love it if it were about 15 degrees cooler, but that’s ok, it’s just good to get outside. As you can see below, the sunrise was spectacular and an outstanding way to start today’s hike.

The most important thing that I have come to love about Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the flexibility that you have in determining the length of hikes. With the marked trails and the plethora of connector trails, you never have to do the same hike two times in a row. Going in the opposite direction of what you are used to also adds to the diversity of what the reservation offers.

So to mix things up today I traveled the initial mile on the Red Trail and then made a right turn on a connector trail. This trail took me to the Leatherman’s Loop Trail which I stayed on until it returned to the Red Trail. Almost immediately after getting back on the Red Trail, another connector trail veered off to the left and traveled through the woods until it came back again to the Red Trail. You then stay on the Red Trail until the finish.

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Happy Hiking!!!

2017 Mileage:

9/24/17-7.1-241.22

 

It’s Officially Fall!

“Our minds, as well as our bodies, have need of the out-of-doors. Our spirits, too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and the wind and the rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfumes of dawn and the smell of fresh-turned earth and the ancient music of wind among the trees.”

-Edwin Way Teale

“Although the vast majority of walkers never even think of using a walking staff, I unhesitatingly include it among the foundations of the house that travels on my back.”

-Colin Fletcher

If you have read this blog of mine, you know that fall is my favorite time of year. Apple picking, college football, cool days, cooler nights and of course awesome hiking make every day truly magnificent. Today I was back hiking the Labyrinth at Ward Pound Ridge. As I was in sight of the finish, I felt good and decided to make the left turn onto the Yellow Trail to add some mileage.

Making my way up the trail. I pulled out the map and saw that the RT Trail would soon take me off of the Yellow trail and then put me on the Red Trail for literally a couple of hundred feet. Heading up a small hill, it then finished on the Green Trail.

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On the Red/Green trail.

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My trusty pack and poles leaning on my favorite resting rock at 2.5 miles. 

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The view directly behind the rock where I take a break just before the Green trail veers off to the left.

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The trail about one mile from the finish.

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Some of the more interesting rock formations along the trail.

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More of the Red Trail.

 

From this point on I will be listing my mileage as an accumulation for the entire calendar year. Taking the information from my blog as well as my GPS, I have calculated that prior to the first hike of the summer I had hiked 45.2 miles. I am adding that to the 181.22 that I did for the summer, giving me a total of 226.42 miles. With the addition of the 7.7 miles that I hiked today, that brings my total for the year to 234.12 miles.

2017 Mileage:

Hikes from 1/1/17-6/26/17-45.2-226.42

9/23/17-7.7-234.12

Escape With Me…

“We travel not to escape life…but for life not to escape us.”

-Anonymous

No matter how long the hike, be it a short day hike, a weekend backpacking trip or a week long venture into the woods, part of the reason for getting out there is to escape. The first result after utilizing Google says that escape means to “break free from confinement or control.” Let’s face it, we are all subject to some form of “confinement or control” in our lives. At work or at home, the pressures of just being a member of society dictate that we have some time to get away, if only for a couple of hours.

In my humble opinion, the most important part of escaping involves disconnecting yourself from everything, mostly technology. Having a cell phone is good in case you have an emergency or you want to take pictures while you are on the trail. Otherwise, turn it off. No answering calls and no texting. And as much as I love music, I won’t bring my ipod with me on any day hike. If I am doing an overnight or multi night trip I’ll probably keep it in my pack for when I make camp after a long day of hiking.

Part of the “escape” for me is being enveloped by the woods around me. The changing terrain, the breeze making its way through the trees and the awesome views. You can’t fully embrace the disconnect unless you are truly disconnected! With all of the sounds in the woods acting as your own soundtrack, why would you make a conscious choice to disturb that?

So make the choice on your next hike to disconnect and then reconnect with your surroundings. You can thank me later!

Happy hiking!!!

 

Shed That Skin

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

“Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.”

-Buddha

As an educator I get to mark the end of summer two different ways. First, I see the return to school. Second, the date finally arrives when it is really, truly over. Today, September 22nd is that day. As I noted in an earlier post, my goal this summer was to get out as many times as I could. Looking at things statistically, from 6/27-9/21 I went on 31 hikes that covered 181.22 miles averaging 5.85 miles per hike.

Overall I think that this summer was an excellent one. I was able to clear my mind and get some weight off of my shoulders. The hikes this summer only reinforced one thing-that getting out in the woods can truly be therapeutic. Each mile that I spent walking the trails, carefully meditating on every step that I took, helped me shed anger that had been building up since the end of June.

Feeling the cool breeze in the morning, watching the sunrise and looking over the Hudson Valley on my many different hikes allowed me to shed that proverbial snake skin.  According to the web site Wonderopolis, “snakes shed their skin to allow for further growth and to remove parasites that may have attached to their old skin.” I couldn’t have said it any better!

So what is the goal now? The goal is to keep moving forward…

Happy Hiking!!!

Serenity Now…

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
-Hans Selye

Hikers always seem to have a love/hate relationship with the very trails that provide them with serenity that they seek. The miles spent with your pack and boots are a testament to your committment to getting out on the trail as often as you can. But even with that committment we always have peculiarities that set us apart from let’s say, people who play tennis. Some people will hike in any kind of weather. Me? I don’t mind the heat or cold and I can spend the day hiking in a drizzle. I draw the line, however,  with heavy rain, snow or sleet.

The weather isn’t the only thing that will test the relationship you have with the trails you  love. I know folks who would much rather hike with a partner or a small group instead of going it alone. Me? I don’t mind the social aspect of hiking with a friend or two but anything larger than that kills the vibe. And going solo? No problem. I thoroughly enjoy the time spent away from people (whether I like them or not) to gain or regain some perspective in my life.

Lastly, part of the adventure or thrill of hiking is what you see along the way. I have a friend whose destination on a hike always has to include a view. While views are nice, they certainly aren’t the be all and end all of a hike. There is, however, something to be said about the close feeling that you get from the woods as you make your way down the trail. I know that I am as equally fascinated by a mushroom on the side of the trail or a stone wall in the middle of nowhere as I am with a great view looking over the Hudson River. Others may not agree, but that’s the beauty of going out and doing your own thing.

This all contributes to the complicated love/hate relationship that hikers have with the places where they love to hike. The whole point of getting out there is to do your own thing. We don’t see a right or a wrong and from day-to-day the relationship can change. Just saying…

Happy Hiking!!!

A Nice Mental Enema (30)

“Can you help me get my head on straight just a half an inch so I can muddle on through?”

-Assembly of Dust

It appears that summer is on its way out and fall is on its way in! Although the forecast has temperatures heading into the mid 70’s to posssibly 80 midweek, the signs are already here that the seasons are changing. The nicest thing about hiking today was the fact that between Monday (when I last hiked) and Saturday, enough leaves had fallen so you had the awesome crunching sound as you made your way through the woods.

As it has been for a couple of weeks now, the temperature was in the mid 50’s with a nice breeze whenI hit the trail at about 10:15 am. For me that it is a pretty late start, but when the alarm on my phone went off at 5:00 am, my brain said, “no way.” So I waited.

Once I got on the trail however, it was all good. I did my favorite trail again and it was glorious! It is long and varied enough to give you not only a good physical workout, but a decent mental cleansing as well.  That’s all I want and it’s all I need.

Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

9/9/17-6.0-175.22

 

The Labyrinth + Connector Trails= Relative Peace (29)

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” 

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” 

-John Muir

After a day of rain on Sunday, the weather today was next to perfect! Once again, temperatures were in the mid 50’s with clear skies and a nice breeze. When I hit the trail at 5:40 am, it was still pretty dark but I knew that with an earlier than usual start I would have a  little more flexibility with how far I could go.

I decided that after yesterday’s post I am renaming the Red Trail, “The Labyrinth.” It only seems fitting since I have hiked it numerous times and have likened its benefits to a traditional Labyrinth.

Today’s trek first took me on the The Labyrinth, back around to a connector trail to the Leatherman’s Loop and I finished by heading back on a very short loop from the yellow to the end of the red.

One of the best things about the cool weather has been the absence of any blood sucking thugs. It’s been really nice not to have to spend entire hikes swatting and slapping these beasts away from me. I can’t remember the last time that I had to actually use any bug spray on a hike.

Another nice day and another really nice hike!

Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

9/4/17-9.2-169.22