Tag Archives: hudson valley ny

Hiking & The Brain

bw tree

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!!!

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!!!

  

You Need More Live Music In Your Life

trippy

Who doesn’t love live music? With many bands, you can often travel beyond the normal limits of your everyday existence. It’s a chance to escape all the insanity that this world has to offer. Even though I have known about this website for many years, I am just now really digging deep into a catalog of fantastic live music.

Archive.org, is truly the place to go if you are looking for some outstanding jam bands, some that are well known and others that aren’t. It’s worth a look just to hear some bands that you may otherwise never get a chance to experience.

The format of archive.org is a simple one. If the show is a soundboard, you will more than likely just be able to stream the show. Audience versions or perhaps lesser known bands soundboards can be downloaded.

After a friend suggested that I check out Twiddle . I streamed a show from early February of this year and was pleased with what I heard. One of the things that I like about Twiddle is their ability to put out some intense Grateful Dead covers. Not to downplay their originals, because they also cut through the nonsense and set up a really tight groove that you can no doubt dance to. I’ll have more on them in other posts and I go through some more of their shows.

Speaking of dancing, Organically Good Trio, a band from Boston, plays some seriously funky music interfaced with a dose of reggae and some mellow and trippy guitar. I am currently listening to a show from 3/16/18 where they opened for Dumpstaphunk at the Brooklyn Bowl. I haven’t heard a tune yet that I didn’t like.

If you do check out this show, make sure that you pay special attention to Wild West, Grow Your Own and No Hard Times. This is just some really good music.

Now I have to admit that many of the bands that I will choose to listen to will be because I find their name cool, weird or just really out there. If the music is good, I’ll write about it.

More at another time.

Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles (Part 1)

trekking poles

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!!!

How To Cure The Non-Hiking Blues

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

-John Burroughs

I came across the following statement/question as I was perusing a Facebook page that dealt with hiking earlier:

How do you guys deal with the “9-5” grind? I literally can’t focus on anything else except going on my next hike. And I find that I struggle to deal with all of the bullshit that coworkers are.

So how do you deal with the constant urge to get out and hike during the workday? Obviously, you need money not only to live but to be able to go out on the adventures that you find yourself focusing on during the workday. So what you have to do is get it out of your mind is to use your time after the work day to get ready for that next hike.

What can you do after work and in between hikes? Here’s a list:

  1. Keep your gear in good condition. Clean your pack inside and out. Hang it to dry if you were hiking in the rain.
  2. Clean your boots. Check your laces for frays, if they are wet, set them somewhere to dry. Don’t put them near a heat source because the excessive dry heat could damage them.
  3. Replace anything that you used on the hike. First aid equipment, duct tape, sunscreen and especially TP.
  4. Figure out how to work that GPS that you bought and never figured out.
  5. Clean your trekking poles.
  6. If needed, clean your maps.
  7. Plan your next hike. And the one after that and the one after that. I do this and it allows me to focus on my work during the day and my hikes at night.
  8. Clean your hiking clothes every so often. Now I get it that if you are on a three or four-day adventure, you might start to smell. But day hikers really have no reason to smell like a thru-hiker.
  9. Learn how to use a compass and try navigating a hike.
  10. Plan hikes you might not necessarily go on. For instance, I almost never hike in the rain. This year, my goal is to do exactly that as often as I can.
  11. Read anything and everything on the internet about hiking. New gear, hikes, thru-hiker stories, wilderness first aid, hikers blogs.
  12. Youtube is a fascinating outlet for people doing everything that I have listed above. As with everything else the quality of some videos are not as good as others, but following AT and PCT thru hiker vlogs are a wonder in themselves.
  13. If you photograph or video your hikes, make sure your batteries are charged and your gear is ready to go.
  14. If you can’t get outside to hike or walk, get on a stationary bike to get in shape for those spring hikes.

So there you go, If all you can do is think about hiking at work, do it at home. Not only will you save yourself trouble at your job but you will also be better prepared for your next outdoor adventure.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Could It Be True?

phil and chuck

Phil on the left and Chuck on the right.

“Winter is nature’s way of saying, “Up yours.”

~Robert Byrne

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”

~Robin Williams

Even though the two of them are almost always wrong, Staten Island Chuck and Punxsutawney Phil have predicted an early spring. Although it would be really, really nice for that to come true, I’m not going to be placing any bets on today’s results.

It would be exceptional, however, if they were both right. I’m usually pretty happy letting winter take its course and enjoying the snow for as long as it lasts. But for the last few years I have longed for the snow to be gone as quickly as possible.

To have clear trails devoid of snow, maybe a slight chill in the air, would still make it worth getting out there. The trees, still bare enough so they provide no coverage from the sun would actually be a benefit. The feeling of the late winter sun warming your face as you sit on a rock resting and drinking water is beyond words.

Oh well, at this point who knows where the rest of the winter will take us. Each day that passes only means warmer days ahead and this means many days of hiking! With temperatures a week ago hovering at night in the low negatives, a little later this week the high will be 53. Will they be proven correct????

HAPPY HIKING!!!