Tag Archives: Nature Photography

The Second Day Of Summer

“Back on the trail mon.”

-IB TAT

It seems crazy, but the temperature this morning at 5:47 am was a crisp and cool 55 degrees. That’s almost unheard of on June 22nd of any year. The second day of summer! But it was. Of course, that translated into an outstanding hike in Ward Pound Ridge.

Since this week our students were testing, I wore my new Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots every day and broke them in instead of doing so out in the woods. I wasn’t actually sure that it would work, but based on this mornings hike, it proved to be an excellent idea. This is my fourth pair of the Vasque St. Elias backpacking boots and every pair has outperformed the previous one. They are just fantastic backpacking boots.

IMG_4730_edited

As you can see by this picture and the ones at the start of the post, the amount of rain that we have had this year has made the woods a lush and vibrant green. Once again, I made it out early enough so that I only ran into one gentleman walking his dogs, one of whom could have been my labs’ twin brother. Not to make fun of either of them, but they both lumbered along with the same kind of dumb look. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

As usual, however, it was still nice just to be out in the woods doing some hiking. I’m still trying to get back to where I was prior to my unfortunate incident last summer and slowly but surely it’s happening.  I really felt good.

In just a few days the school year will be over and if I choose to do so, I can get out every day. In a recent post, I mentioned some hikes that I want to do this summer. I’m hoping that the 62 of days of summer break go as slow as the 2018-2019  school year went fast. My objective? Get as many hikes and miles in as humanly possible.

It’s going to be a great summer.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #10-6/22/19-4.4-45.7

Silence & Solitude (Finally)

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”

-William Penn

“Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.”

-Epictetus
I was back on the trail this morning at 5:47 am and it was outstanding! At 53 degrees, it was cool, but not to cool, and the sky was a perfect blue. What was even nicer, was the fact that I did not see one person. Not one. No one. The solitude that I had really missed on the last couple of hikes was back. And I loved it.

IMG_4680

Not a soul to be seen. Perfection!

This is why I love Ward Pound Ridge so much. It’s closer to home than most hikes, has great trails, and it offers (when I get out early enough), the one thing that I love, need and want. Solitude and silence. Those of you who hike know what I’m talking about. To hear and feel a cool breeze making its way through the trees provides an awesome mental reset.

Pretty soon the temps, even at this time of the morning will be in the 70’s and 80’s. On most mornings the breeze will be gone and the air will be still. But the one thing that will remain is the overwhelming quiet. And I’m ok with that.

 

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #8-6/9/19-5.2-37.3

Another Beautiful Day

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

-John Burroughs

Every couple of years I need a few days of hiking in the middle of the day to remind me why I get up at 4:30-5:00 am to get out into the woods. I can’t even tell you how many people I encountered today from the front, the rear, the left, and the right. It was absolute insanity. Thankfully summer vacation will be here soon so I can return to my 5:00 am hikes. It is so much more peaceful.

Of course, I fully acknowledge the fact that anyone can hike at any time, but I if I wanted to hang out with that many people when I hike, I would. That partially explains the very, very early morning hikes. When my feet first hit the trail during the summer, it usually isn’t even light out yet. I can’t explain how blissful it is. The other reasons, of course, have to do with the heat of the summer.

IMG_4608  About two hundred yards from the finish to this hike I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye. As I looked down, the snake in the picture actually went to bite me! As it slithered off the trail, I immediately took off my pack and got my camera out. I am assuming it is just a large garter snake that was sunning itself on the trail before being startled.

IMG_4610

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #7-5/27/19-4.0-32.1

Back On The Brown

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

-John Muir

I know that I have used this quote before, but it speaks so much to why I hike. I don’t think I need to explain, the quote says it all.

We have been blessed with weather this weekend that has been just about as good as it can get. I didn’t get up at my usual five am this morning to hit the trail but instead waited until just about 11:30 am. With a starting temperature of just around 80 degrees, it was much warmer than I was used to, but also noticeably cooler once you got into the woods. A strong breeze was also blowing, making it seem even cooler.

Since I just did this hike the other day, I won’t bore you with the particulars of the hike except that I was moving much faster than the other day. I don’t what the deal was, but I felt much better than I did on Friday.

So instead, I took pictures of different areas of the Brown Trail to share with you.

At certain points, this trail runs parallel to a stream, which due to recent rainfall was still running quite strongly. In a few weeks, it will slow to a trickle if the rain stops falling.

 

IMG_4599

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #6-5/26/19-5.3-28.1

 

My Favorite Place At A Snails Pace

“I dressed and went for a walk – determined not to return until I took in what Nature had to offer.”
–   Raymond Carver, This Morning

IMG_4579

Of course with the long weekend ahead of us, it makes perfect sense that I would make the choice to get out into the woods. So at 5:00 am I left a nice warm bed to make the journey over to Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Even though it was 64 degrees, a pretty strong wind was blowing, making it feel much cooler than it was. Any way you look at it, it was perfect hiking weather.

Last year before my ill-fated backpacking trip, I had bought another pair of Vasque St. Elias GTX  backpacking boots. Finally, today, I decided to start breaking them in. Compared to the last three pairs I have had, these killed my feet. Instead of the usual Green to Red trail, I decided to tackle the Brown trail. At 5.3 miles, the terrain isn’t that bad and with a couple of hills thrown in, it makes for a really nice hike.

The start of the hike.

So off I went new boots and all, thinking it wasn’t going to be that bad. Now, of course, I can’t just blame the boots, because I was damn tired. For whatever reason, I had two speeds today-really slow and stop.

But that’s ok. I was still outside, I was still hiking and all was good! Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is the perfect place to take stock of what’s going on and to also clear your mind. Getting out that early is almost beyond perfect solely based on the fact that at that time of the morning no one else is out.

The Brown Trail at different points.

For me, the fact that I get to hike alone and not be bothered by anyone or anything is exactly what I need to stay sane. Today I just wished my feet didn’t hurt as much as they did. But enough of the whining, even with the new boots it still beats being inside!

IMG_4581

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #5-5/24/19-5.3-22.8

Nice And Easy, Cool And Breezy

“Hiking and happiness go hand in hand or foot in boot.”

-Diane Spicer

IMG_4566_edited

Another beautiful day in the Hudson Valley to get out hiking! At 5:40 am, it was a chilly 48 degrees, sunny with a slight breeze. Since it is only my fourth hike, the idea was once again to keep things relatively easy.  I have to admit I’m still just a little apprehensive about really pushing it, but the good thing is the ankle still feels great.

After weeks of on again off again rain, the woods were pristine, and more importantly, they were alive.

IMG_4570_edited

The start of a shelter, right off of the trail.

Looking at the forecast, Memorial Day weekend is looking pretty good to get some hikes in, Let’s hope so!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #4-5/18/19-5.5-17.5

The Beauty (And Zen) Of Mowing Your Lawn

“I mow my own lawn.”

-Ron Reagan

 

The before and after of mowing my lawn. A Zen Paradise!

When I started this blog I told a story about how much I loved mowing my lawn. The smell of gas, the roar of the engine and that awesome smell of freshly cut grasss is second to none. Although I missed an entire season of mowing last summer, I’m glad that I’ve been able to mow my lawn twice already this season. And as I knew it would be, it was almost as good as going on a hike. And to this day none of that has changed.

The two places that I feel most at peace are hiking and then mowing my lawn.

Now when I tell folks of my love of mowing, I always, yes, always get a strange look and the question, “Why?”

It’s hard to explain. When I am mowing my lawn I am laser-focused on what I am doing. If anyone tries to talk to me or yell at me from a distance, I always point to my ear as if to say “I can’t hear you.” Of course, there is always the safety issue. What if I were to divert my attention to you and I slipped on the grass? For safety’s sake!!!!! I’m pretty sure that would be worse than shooting my eye out.

So I am able to basically shut everything out, work stress, home stress and stress in general by doing the two things I love.

I recently read a story where doctors in Australia were writing prescriptions for people to be outside to help with stress etc. I wonder if my doctor will give me a prescription to mow my lawn?