Tag Archives: Hudson Valley Hiking

Now It Feels Like Mid August

“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”

– Albert Einstein

Wow…at 6:30 am this morning it was 71 degrees with humidity that could have chocked a cat. Since it was so humid, I knew that I was going to take it much slower than I usually do. And believe me, I’m pretty slow on a normal day!

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The trail heading into a curve.

Obviously, since it was so humid, I started sweating immediately. Every step that I took just meant more and more sweat covering me as the gnats circled my head and did their best to infiltrate the liquid defense system I had sprayed on myself prior to the start of the hike. Thankfully they proved to be more of a nuisance than anything else.

As they have been so many times in the past, the woods were almost perfectly silent with the exception of an occasional bird letting me know that I wasn’t alone. It was beautiful! The video below is a minute and five seconds of serenity. This is what it sounded like for the entire hike. You can’t ask for more than this.

On my way out of the woods, I did encounter a group of hikers. They struck me as kind of odd based on a few observations. First, not one of the group (10 people and 3 dogs) had a pack. Second, with the absence of packs was also the absence of water. And third, they were all dressed as if it was late October. The first thing that I thought was if they were wearing jeans and jackets and had no water, how could they hike for any distance? With the warm temperatures and high humidity, it could make for a potentially dangerous situation.

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I have no idea why I took a photo of my boots. I was sitting on a rock, taking a break when it struck me to just take a picture of my boots. Hmmm……

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #27-8/17/19-4.6-120.0

Back On My Feet, Again

“Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey.”

“Injuries are our best teachers.”

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The view at the start of the hike an hour later than usual.

Being injured sucks. Not being able to hike sucks. Even if it’s only for a few days. Last year I couldn’t hike for half of the year because of the surgery on my ankle, and over the course of the last couple of weeks, my left knee has been bothering me. Bothering me to the point where I haven’t been able to hike or ride the stationary bike.

Is my injury a result of getting older? Overuse? Could it be genetic? I know that many in my family have bad knees and maybe it’s now my turn. I certainly hope not. Some of my family members can’t walk a straight line these days. The fact that I have been very, very careful with what I have been doing the last few months has me thinking really hard about what could have caused it. With that said, the bottom line is I need to get back out into the woods.

I am going stir crazy. Utterly crazy.  If you follow my blog, you know that hiking is my refuge, the thing that I do when I need to think or blow off steam. When I can’t hike, I get really cranky.  As it stands right now, I am in super cranky mode.

So today to I headed out into my sanctuary to see how the knee feels.

I actually picked a decent day to head back out. I ended up starting about an hour later than I am used to, but that’s ok. When I got up at 5, there was no way I could get out of bed so I waited until 5:30 and pretty much walked out the door. When I got to Ward Pound Ridge, it was a crisp 59 degrees with a slight breeze. This is not typical weather in our area for mid-August. At this time of year, we are usually looking at a great deal of heat and humidity, even at 5 or 6 am.

Needless to say, my knee didn’t feel that bad. I did make sure to keep the pace relatively slow and I avoided any rocks that looked sketchy. I know that sounds kind of wimpy, but I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore than I already was (or had been).

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More huge rocks at Ward Pound Ridge.

The picture below represents parts of the Leatherman’s Loop. As with most of the trails at Ward Pound Ridge, they are made of soft earth and tend to be rolling rather than steep ups and downs.

Overall I would call this hike a success. It was nice out and even though I started later than I have been, I didn’t see a single person. Pure bliss!!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #25-8/12/19-4.5-111.1

“No Drama Thank you, I Believe I’ve Had Enough”

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“The older I get, the more I realize I don’t want to be around drama, conflict or stress. I want a cozy home, good food and to be surrounded by happy people.”

I have no idea who wrote this but it speaks volumes. I don’t think it is too much to ask to be able to just live your life minus all of the nonsense that others seem to be driven to thrust upon you. Conflict and stress are killers. Killers of the soul as well as the physical body. This is truth.

At times, although it is incredibly difficult to do so, you have to let stupidity slide off of your back. We all work with people who thrive on the negative and enjoy spreading discontent and making other folks lives miserable.

Ignore them. Don’t allow that kind of misery to consume you so that you are so stressed that it negatively has an effect on your physical and mental health. I will admit that I have been guilty of it myself. But honestly, I just can’t handle the BS anymore. Nor do I want to.

For what it is worth, I’ll say it again. The drama, conflict, and stress? It just isn’t worth it. It’s a shame that some folks may never realize this. I am not happy that it took me 54 years to figure out the value of avoiding stressors that have negatively impacted my life.

From this point on, don’t engage me if all you have to spread is discontent. All I am asking for is to be left alone. To do my job with the minimum amount of interference and hassle. Is that too much to ask for?

I am searching for a much better work/life balance that hasn’t been tainted by the idiocy that seems to be the norm nowadays. I am expelling from my life the folks who are constantly spewing negativity and hate for my remaining workdays.

What do you folks think? Is it worth cutting off the people who do not contribute to your well being? When does it become more important to look after yourself and not become awash in the stupidity that sometimes surrounds us and wraps us like a cloak on a cold day?

As with everything else in life we make choices. Some are good and serve us well, some aren’t and prove to be destructive to us and those around us. You can choose to ignore the nonsense if you want to. Make that choice.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Heat And Humidity Be Damned

“You can make a step and touch the earth in such a way that you establish yourself in the present moment, and you will arrive in the here and the now. You don’t need to make any effort at all. Your foot touches the earth mindfully, fully, and you arrive firmly in the here and the now. And suddenly you are free-free from all projects, all worries, all expectations. You are fully present, fully alive, and you are touching the earth.”

***A quick note-When I arrived Ward Pound Ridge this morning, the sun was just rising and it looked magnificent. So I pulled over and went to take my camera out to get a photo and of course I had left it at home. Needless to say, this post will not have any photos.

And just like that, the humidity is back. I decided once again to hold off on hiking yesterday because of the heat and humidity, a wise choice by my estimation. But today I did get out, humidity be damned. As I fully expected, the bugs were insane, even with bug spray. Listening to them buzz and watching them dive bomb me brought back many fond memories.

But that’s ok. I have said in the last couple of weeks that the only thing that I could hear on my hikes have been my hiking sticks and boots hitting the earth. Despite sweating from the very start of the hike, the simple fact that I was out hiking was awesome.

Since the humidity was as high as it was (at 5:15 am), I took more water than I usually would and also had an extra Gatorade to keep myself hydrated. Even as I sit here writing this post, I am drinking a nice cold bottle of water.

I can’t think of anything else I would rather have been doing this morning or even at this moment.

The quote above talks about being in the “here and now.” As I make my way around the various loops in Ward Pound Ridge, I try to focus on everything that is going on around me. Unfortunately, the last couple of hikes have had a glaring absence in the number of chipmunks, squirrels, and birds. Although they do provide an excellent distraction as I hike, the silence is beautiful, especially when I take breaks.

Hiking provides a cleansing of the mind, a mental enema if you will. Be in the moment, no matter how long or short it may be. It is your moment, your time to not be burdened with the pressures of your life. Enjoy the solitude and the silence.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #24-7/31/19-4.0-106.6

 

The Day Of The Gnat

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”

– Walt Whitman

I didn’t think it was possible, but I found something much worse than horseflies. Much worse than the loud buzzing and divebomb attacks that always go with them. What am I talking about? Gnats. Teeny tiny little gnats that seem to travel in very large packs and then search out every available orifice to annoy, annoy and annoy again and again.

For the entirety of my hike today, these gnats swarmed around my head and never gave up in their quest to harass and annoy me. First in my eyes, and then my nose. No amount of bug spray could deter them. I felt horribly invaded.

Despite that, my motto remains the same, any hike is better than no hike at all. However, these tiny minions of Satan did push me to the limit. Wow…..

A connector trail on the left and the red trail on the right.

Photos of the trail and the woods.

I did pass this lovely little swampy area which multiplied the number gnats tenfold. Good times!

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Swampland

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A nice quiet area along the trail.

 

One of the main reasons that I took this trail was to see how the bees nest was doing. This is the rebuilt bees nest two days after my last hike. I do have to warn you if you get to close to the nest, the bees tend to get a little irritated (sarcasm intended).

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Today was a little slow going as compared to the other day. I don’t know what was going on but I just felt sluggish. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #23-7/28/19-4.0-102.6

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

Don’t Let Them Into Your Head

“As you get older you really just want to be surrounded by good people. People that are good for you, good to you and good for your soul.”

Facebook has this great page called “Higher Perspective.” The purpose of the page is “to bring together like-minded individuals focused on personal growth and expanding their consciousness.” Now to some, this may sound a little crazy, but they do offer some really good advice for many different situations. I especially like the fact that they say “through the sharing of pictures, art, music, ideas, stories, history, and other information, we can help the population gain a higher perspective on life and improve our global situation. We can be better to our planet, better to our brothers and sisters and better to ourselves.”

That is where I found the quote for today’s post. Every day people watch the news and all you hear is negativity and hate. Is this any way to go through the one and only life we have? Those folks who know me know that I frequently say that it is a waste of mental energy to constantly engage or think about those people who really have no interest in your well being.

Even though I have said that many, many times, it has been increasingly more difficult to live by those words. It is truly a shame that people treat others the way that they do based on their beliefs.  And that last comment is meant for both sides of the political aisle.

It truly is time for folks to start treating each other with some dignity and respect. To stop the name calling and making assumptions about others based on who they follow politically and what they believe.

Regardless of what people believe, we do live in the greatest nation on earth. We live in a country where you are free to believe what you want and think what you want without the fear of retribution from the government or others.

That is why as I get older, I have less and less tolerance for the nonsense. People who treat you badly shouldn’t be a part of your life. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you have to say something. Especially if it is mean and hurtful.

So I have made a conscious effort to distance myself from people that I only have negative interactions with. If they happen to be co-workers, I will treat them with the respect that they are due as a co-worker. After that, nothing. It isn’t worth wasting the mental energy.”

What say you? Am I crazy? Am I expecting too much? Can you at least agree that a little peace and quiet would be nice for a change?

How do you deal with the negative actions of others? For me, it has been and hopefully always will be through hiking and being outdoors.

Let me know through the comments section what you think.