Tag Archives: Inner Peace

Peace And Tranquility

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.”

-Mother Teresa

It’s amazing how a single hike can change the attitude of a person for the better. I guess some people meditate to keep their sanity, some folks read and others listen to music. As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s been five very long months since I have been able to get out and enjoy the one thing that I truly love to do.

I missed a summer where it rained more often than it didn’t. I missed the change of seasons where the colors went from a dark green to darker oranges, reds and yellows. As the days passed, the temperatures fell and the hiking would have been easy. I missed interacting with my fellow hikers on the trail.

So as I made my way over the dirt, rocks and ice today, I felt that sense of peace that I have been missing since June. Even though I know that every day can’t and won’t deliver the same peace and tranquility that today did, I am thankful for today.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

The First Ride Back

“Your body can stand almost anything. It’s your mind you  have to convince.”

-Anonymous

After 65 days of no form of aerobic exercise, I was finally given permission by my surgeon and physical therapist to start riding the stationary bike again. Up until June 28th I had either hiked or rode my stationary bike no less than 6 days per week for the past three years. Of course I had regularly exercised prior to that, but not at the distances that I had been able to work up to.

When I decided to ride bike today I really didn’t know what to expect. How long should I ride? How much resistance should I put on the bike? And the biggest question, How much is it going to hurt?

So I climbed on the bike with just a little bit of hesitation and set my stopwatch for 15 minutes. I took a deep breath, put the resistance on two and started pedaling.  Starting pretty slowly, I was surprised that I didn’t feel any pain. Of course the doctor and the PT had told me that since it is not a weight bearing exercise it probably wouldn’t hurt, but what do they know?

One minute passed, then five, and at the fifteen minute mark, the alarm sounded. Since I didn’t feel any pain, I decided to go for another fifteen minutes. When that fifteen minutes ended I was even more shocked to find that I still wasn’t in any pain.

I will admit that as I climbed off of the bike and began stretching, I felt a great sense of relief.

I’ll count this first workout on the road to recovery a success!

 

 

Hiker Culture

What do I love about hikers? Pretty much just about everything. With the exception of a couple of folks, I can tell you that every hiker that I have ever met have been unique individuals who have great stories to tell of one hike or another. Over the years the number of hikers that I have encountered has grown ten fold and for the most part that has been a good thing. I love seeing the sweaty smiling faces as I pass them on the trail. The greetings of “What’s up?” and “Have a nice hike!” stay with me as we each move past each other in our own space and time.

But what else is it about hikers? What has attracted to me to this culture of hiking and its intrepid travelers? Many things. But before we get into some specifics, what is culture?

A very simple definition of culture that I got from the Cambridge dictionary is the following and says that culture is “the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time”. I would think that hikers, no matter what kind, fit this definition. They are an incredible diverse group of individuals that come together and create their own dialect, customs and lifestyle. So, what are my top three characteristics or values of what I see as hiker culture?

Overall, hikers are an incredibly welcoming group. It doesn’t matter what how old you are, your race, weight, height or religion, If you are out traversing the trails, then you are a full fledged member of the group. They aren’t afraid to break bread with strangers or share what they have if they encounter someone who may not have planned a hike properly.

I have also found that hikers aren’t afraid to ask for assistance from other hikers if they aren’t sure of where they are or where they may be going. And this is the coolest part. If they can, they will help you! Out comes the map and together you will work towards a solution to get you on your way. Although both of these provide an example of a sense of community, they are on different levels.

The one thing that truly makes me proud to be part of this tribe is the respect that fellow hikers have for trails that they are walking on. Words such as “Leave No Trace” actually mean something to people who hike. I can count on one hand the number of times that I have had to pick up trash while hiking. To me, that sends a powerful message.

Now remember, this list is by no means a comprehensive one. I have chosen my top three and shared them with you.

What are the values or characteristics that define hiker culture for you?

Happy Hiking!!!

 

 

Hiking Alone Or In A Group? Be Safe!

“I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked, I am mad for it to be in contact with me.”

-Walt Whitman

In a reply to one of my last posts regarding hydrating, Barb Knowles of Saneteachers.com (a friend and colleague) asked if I could write a post about hiking/walking alone against being in a group. I added to that some simple things that you should do to help make sure that you come back home safe.

Over the last week I have spent a great deal of time thinking about this very subject. In my last post I told you about an incident last Thursday that led to me being in the hospital for six days. Thankfully I was hiking with friends but I have kept thinking, “What if I had been alone?” Would I have been  able get the help I needed?

Now that I am older, I tend to be a much more careful hiker than I was in the past. Twenty years ago, I would head out into the woods for hours at a time, alone and a times without a map. At times I would stay on the trail, others not. The point being I didn’t really pay much attention to what I was doing. I just did it!

Hiking Alone:

I love hiking alone. Some people don’t, but I like the time that I get to be in the woods and think things out. With that said, I now take precautions to make sure that if anything happens to me, it won’t be hard to find me. I don’t want it to get to the point where you would just look for the buzzards circling a set area. Here is a list of what I do:

  1. Leave an itinerary: This may seem obvious, but leaving a detailed route of where you will be hiking is imperative. Don’t forget to write down where you will be parking your car. The most important thing about having an itinerary is following it. If you decide to veer off the trail to see that extra view and something happens, that will just delay rescuers.
  2. Bring a MAP of where you will be hiking. If you have a GPS, include that as well.
  3. Make sure you have enough water. even if you are only going out for a couple of hours. BRING WATER! You never know when a couple of hours could turn into a half of a day or longer.
  4. Bring snacks/food. The amount/type of course depends on how long your hike is. Going out all day? Bring a sandwich. A short hike? Maybe an energy bar or some GORP (good old raisins and peanuts).
  5. First aid kit/Electronics/Extra laces/Extra shirt-Any other items that will make your hike that more enjoyable should be included.
  6. And of course last but not least-Your cell phone…

Hiking In A Group:

Hiking in a group, with either 2 other people or 20 presents its own unique set of challenges. I would still include all of stuff from the Solo Hike but other things will need to be adjusted. When you hike with a group, your pace will be at the mercy of the group. When you hike with a group, when you take breaks will be at the mercy of the group. You give up a certain amount of  the solitude and individualism that I cherish and this may affect the total distance you hike and the time it will take you. Some people, however, like the social aspect of hiking and don’t mind group excursions. It’s all up to you!

The bottom line is this. Whether you like to hike alone or in groups, it is really important to make sure that you let someone know where you are going to be. Be prepared!

If after reading this you believe that I have missed anything, please let me know in the form of a comment. Thanks!

Happy Hiking!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Two-Trouble Ahead!

Knowing that water may be hard to come by for the nine mile hike on day two, my hiking partners rigged up a pretty simple water containment system to catch as much water as possible. Over night we did have several hours pouring rain and thunderstorms which made capturing the water that much easier.

When all was said and done, we collected and purified around 5 gallons of nice cold water!

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Collecting water at the Bald Rocks Shelter.

Now the fun begins! Leaving the shelter at around 10 am, we got back on the Ramapo Dunderberg trail and began our day! The terrain in this part of Harriman is just spectacular. Geologists believe that millions of years ago this area of New York may have been part of South America. It always amazes me that rocks end up where they do and stay there!

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Beautiful scenery a half mile into the hike.

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A couple of tenths of a mile from disaster!

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Although the rocks shown in these pictures are dry, when you got the end of one and it turned back into trail, the rock proved to be very slippery.  As I was coming down off of the rock in the third picture from the top, I began sliding and I lost my balance. My left foot became wedged between two rocks as I stopped, my forward momentum kept me moving.

End result? A fractured left ankle and a subsequent surgery to repair it.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #21-.9-117.85

Ramapo-Dunderberg Day One

The start of the my short shakedown hike (6/27) was as humid as you would expect for the end of June in New York. Temperatures in the mid 80’s with humidity almost equally as high guaranteed an early soaking. Since my son had a job interview that morning, we had him drop us off at the Tuxedo RR station at 6:30 am.  Starting early would also put us ahead of the heat and the humidity. The station marks the start of the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail.

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The view after the first climb.

The plan for the day was a simple one. Hike just a little over six miles and then spend the night at the Bald Rocks Shelter. Even though it was only six miles, I hadn’t hiked with a full pack in awhile and coupled with difficult terrain and weather, it was a long day. According to our GPS, we gained just about 1500 feet of elevation! Obviously the views were great.

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The Bald Rocks Shelter is an interesting one.  This blurb was taken from MyHarriman.com:

  • Bald Rocks (Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail).  Massive local granite stones make up his walls, with a nice fireplace inside and a firepit outside.  The surrounding area is grassy, with trees close enough to allow hammocking, but not too tight to make you feel like you’re in the woods.  Because you’re not — you’re in a lovely grassy field on top of a hill. Great views, too!  The trails you’ll use to get to Bald Rocks are some of the best in the park, too, and you’ll be camping near some of Harriman’s coolest sights: Bowling Rocks, Ship Rock and the spine of Hogencamp Mountain.  Nice.
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The Bald Rocks Shelter

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Inside the shelter

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The fireplace inside the shelter.

 

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #20-6.25-116.95

Another Early Morning Hike…

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

-Mary Davis

Good morning folks! Up at 4 and on the trail by 5! I wanted to get a quick hike in very early this morning so I can finish getting ready for our backpacking excursion into Harriman and Bear Mt. State park tomorrow, Thursday and Friday.

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The sun making its way up over a hill.

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A section of the Red/Green trail.

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A nice level part of the Green trail.

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Creepy…

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #19-4.1-110.7