Tag Archives: Mental Well Being

“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!!!

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other…

“I woke up this morning with a sense of peace. It has been many months since I felt this way. As I entered the woods a short time later, it felt as though a giant weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.”

-MPD

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The entrance to the trails off of  Michigan Road in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Although the air was still and cool, the humidity was higher than I would have liked. With that said, it didn’t matter, I was out hiking. Obviously, the quote above is mine and it is 100% accurate. The peace I felt this morning as I got ready for my hike felt good, and thankfully it carried over to the hike itself.

As I made my way past the information board at the start of the trail, I could see that the trail itself was still wet from rain that fell the night before. As I mentioned in a previous post, the smell of the soft wet earth is unlike no other smell. It is awesome! As my boots sunk into the trail, I was quickly reminded how lucky I was to be out in the woods doing what I love. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is so basic, and yet it provides so much tranquility and well being.

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Silence and solitude.

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Many of the trails at Ward Pound Ridge look just like this, well taken care of and nice soft earth to hike on,

My goal for the summer is a simple one. To retain my peace of mind.

The question now is, how can I accomplish this?

2019 Mileage

Hike #11-6/27/19-4.5-50.2

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

“Act as the master of your life by putting your health, well being and happiness first.”

-Mariana Olszewski

“If you learn to create the right kind of climate in your body, mind, and emotion, your health and wellbeing and joy-everything will be taken care of.”

-Sadhguru

Being a teacher, I am blessed every year with having summers off. Although won’t see any kids until after Labor Day, I do have to go in tomorrow and Thursday for meetings. Every year in June I make a pledge to myself that I am going to get out and hike as much as possible. To get out and really put in the miles, see the views and do hikes I have never done before. Unfortunately, this usually ends up not being the case. Many times life takes over and prevents me from getting the hikes in that I have always wanted to do. And believe it or not, my own laziness has stopped me as well! Now I’m not saying that I haven’t hiked during past summers, it just has never been at the volume I would have liked.

As the school year drew to a close this year I made the same pledge. This will be the year that I get out as much as I can to do as much hiking as I could fit into the summer! I’m not going to lie, this school year was a really stressful one and the summer has been even more so. I really needed to commit to this!!! 

One of the other things that not many people know is that in November of 2014 I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. Although I have always hiked and rode a stationary bike, this was not only a surprise, but a life changing diagnosis.

When I left the office that day, I thought that not only my hiking days were over, but my life as I knew it. I was really disheartened (no pun intended) at first when I was doing the stress test and did not even last 30 seconds on the treadmill. I knew that if I had continued I would have dropped. When I met with my cardiologist a couple of days later, we talked about the diagnosis and what it meant for me. I asked him when I could resume exercising and much to my surprise he said that I could do so immediately.

So here I am almost three years later. I have gone from not lasting 30 seconds on a treadmill to doing an 11 mile hike last week and completing 27 hikes to this point this summer.

Please don’t think that I am fishing for compliments or sympathy. I am simply pointing out that even in the darkest moments (thinking I was quite literally given a death sentence) that you can come back from that and resume an active lifestyle.

The most important thing to take from this is: All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. At first it hurts and it sucks. We all have days where you don’t want to do anything, walk, ride, get out of bed. But you have to do it! I know for me the alternative was….well you can figure it out…

Autumn

Autumn came, with wind and gold.

-Henry David Thoreau

Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?

-Vernon Duke

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.

-George Eliot

 

We talk about the disappearance of long warm days that have been saturated by the sun as the “death”of summer. 

But summer must take leave, like wisps of smoke floating gently from a fading fire.

Lush green slowly turns into an umbrella of bright reds, oranges and yellows that breathe new life into a now chilled existence.

Natures chaos, its origins unknown, comes sweeping down and transforms the woods, separating the new brilliance from its lifeblood.

As the trees sway and moan in protest of a slow eventual death, the leaves fall with the rhythm of lightly falling snow, accumulating on the soft earth only to decay as the sun’s light continues its downward spiral.

With brutal awareness, the passage of time will soon bring beloved darkness and the promise of the next season. 

The beautiful and precious cycle forges ahead.

Black Rock Forest

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The sign at the entrance to the parking lot.

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“The clearest way into the universe is though a forest wilderness.”

-John Muir

 

“Hike while you can.”

-Unknown

I’m pretty sure that it’s been over ten years since I did any kind of hike in the Black Rock Forest. Since today was another one of those rare cool mornings in August, I decided to do a loop that would take me over trails and woods roads to places that I have never hiked before. Parking was easily found just off of Route 9W.

Starting on the Duggan Trail, the trail quickly descends through some pretty thick woods that had some interesting rock walls and large rocks as stepping-stones.

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After following the red blazes for about a half of a mile, the trail ends and intersects with the blue blazed Reservoir Trail. Since this hike is a loop, you will encounter this trail again, this time going uphill. Crossing a woods road, you immediately come upon Ben’s Bridge, which will take you across a small stream.

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Ben’s Bridge

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A closer look at Ben’s Bridge.

After crossing the stream, the trail, at this point very rocky with a lot of loose dirt, begins a steep and winding climb that parallels the stream. The trail here was pretty cool because at times it was closed in and you got a feeling as though you were wrapped in a lush blanket of summery goodness.

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I also thought that it was great having the sound of running water to distract me from the climb in front of me. Cascading over the rocks, it calmed me and I thought how nice it would be to just be able to sit by the stream and vegetate! On this day, however, I had to keep moving. Most of the time I usually don’t mind steep climbs, but with all of the loose rocks and dirt that made up the trail, it just made it that much more difficult. After steadily climbing for a half of a mile, look to the left and you will see this:

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Apparently the reservoirs in the Black Rock Forest still supply water to the local communities and this is one of the pipes that accomplishes that. Directly across from the pipe is this awesome sign that not only tells you what trail you are on, it also lets you know what is coming up on the trail. If only all signs on all of the trails in the area were this detailed!!!

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After resting for a few minutes, drinking some water and tightening my boot laces, I threw my pack on and made the right turn up the Honey Hill Trail. This trail also weaved through the woods and after just coming off of the Reservoir Trail it to proved to be a pretty steep climb. Based on all of the write ups I read preparing for this hike, I thought that a nice view was awaiting me when I reached the top! Hmm…I’m thinking that maybe the folks that wrote about the views on Honey Hill did so in the fall or winter because when I got to the top, this is all I saw.

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If the trees were bare I do believe that the view would have been much better than it was today. Since I didn’t have t any type of view, I immediately headed down the trail. Be careful here because it is very steep and the terrain mirrors what you have already been hiking on-loose rocks and dirt! Be mindful and watch your footing as you make your way down this section of the trail because the drop off to the right could prove to be treacherous if you slipped and fell!

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For our hike, keep heading to the left down towards Aleck Meadow.

 

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Steps on the descent from Honey Hill.

I have to admit that the first thing I thought when I saw this tree was Blair Witch Project. If I had been hiking close to sunset I probably would have started running. Good thing it very early in the morning!!

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Blair Witch Project!!!

Staying on the trail, you either descend or stay level for another fifteen or so minutes. As you continue hiking, the sound of running water becomes  louder and louder and after rounding a corner, you are presented with this stunning view.

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Due to recent storms that had passed through the area just two days before this hike, water was actually flowing over the dam. Based on the time of year, I had fully expected it to be dry. This made up for my Blair Witch like scare just minutes before!

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The trail continues right to left over the spillway on the Stillman Trail.

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The Stillman Trail

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The Stillman Trail after crossing the spillway.

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The dam at Aleck Meadow Reservoir

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Aleck Meadow Reservoir

I had first decided to make the trek to Black Rock Mountain but after looking at the map I thought it would be cool to venture instead to the White Oak Tree. The tree,  conveniently located not to far along on the White Oak Road, was worth the diversion that I had decided to take.  How often do you see a huge tree that sits in the middle of a road?

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White Oak Tree

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You can sit and rest at the White Oak Tree on this bench.

To continue on the Continental Road, do an about face  and keep hiking. I know that the Black Rock Forest Consortium uses these roads, but I never thought that I would see this sign:

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You will follow this woods road for almost four tenths of a mile where the Continental Road continues straight. Directly to the right,  you will see the entrance to the Hulse Road. Continue on this road for the 1.4 miles. As soon as you round the corner in the picture below, you will start to descend rapidly through the forest. At times the descent is very steep so you need to be very careful, the trail here is also very rocky and if you aren’t paying attention you could easily twist an ankle.

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After completing the 1.4 mile downhill extravaganza, you will find yourself on the blue blazed Reservoir Trail again. The trail starts moving uphill again, but not at the same rate as the downhill you just completed. Two tenths of a mile after rejoining the trail, you make a left hand turn and you are back on the Duggan Trail. Stay on this for a half of a mile and you are back to where you started!

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This small building was just off of the Reservoir Trail after leaving the Hulse Road.

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Even though I didn’t get the view I was expecting from Honey Hill and also bypassed Black Rock Mountain, I did get to see the Dam, Aleck Meadow Reservoir and the White Oak Tree. They all proved to be interesting in their own unique ways and I’m glad that I got some pictures on what was a beautiful day. I would love to see the dam when the reservoir is cascading over the top at it fullest and head up Honey Hill when the trees aren’t fully obscuring what I am sure is a magnificent view! It looks like I may be doing this hike a few more times this year to see what I can see. Another excellent hike!!!

Happy hiking folks!!!!

Peace!