Tag Archives: Nature Photography

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HAPPY HIKING!!!!

“We don’t stop hiking because we grow old – We grow old because we stop hiking.” – Finis Mitchel

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

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! I know, I know. It’s January 2nd!! That’s ok. A new year usually brings with it a whole new basket of resolutions that most people will not keep. I’m sure some folks will disagree with me, but at this point, I’m just keeping it real!

So, my resolution this year is a simple one. After a year of almost no hiking, I want to hike more in 2023 and capture those hikes through photographs.

In trying to achieve and keep that resolution going, however, I have to further refine how I prepare for my hikes.

Over the years, I have found that how I get ready for my spring and summer hikes has changed drastically since I was a younger lad.

Back in the day, my prep used to include the following: 1) Go to the trail and hike. Now? The script has flipped on this one, folks. These days I have to think about my knees and ankles and making sure my hiking route is written out in detail so if I get injured, my family will know where to lead the authorities.

Filling my day pack used to be a pretty simple deal as well. The contents used to consist of maps, water, snack, lunch, camera, bug spray, first aid kit, and other assorted nonsense.

As I have explained in previous posts, I can no longer use a traditional day pack and have to, instead, use a sling pack. Since they are much smaller, I have to now choose very carefully what I bring with me.

Most of the items listed above will stay, just more condensed and in smaller containers. I’ll start experimenting shortly with packing my sling pack as the winter progresses.

Physically this year, I am going to add training with resistance bands to my winter routine. After doing a great deal of research, it looks like it certainly couldn’t hurt, so I will add that to my regimen. I have also added specific exercises to help strengthen my ankles and knees.

The point of all this? To make sure that my hiking experiences are safe and continue to be fun. If hiking is painful and no fun, why hike? So preventive maintenance is the way to go.

Once again, Happy New Year and, of course, HAPPY HIKING!!!

Back On The Trail…Soon Enough

As the coldest air of the season sets in, thoughts turn toward spring hiking. When I was younger, the idea of hiking in the cold, rain, and snow was never an issue. One time in the early 2000s, my hiking buddy and I hiked Anthony’s Nose in a blizzard. While it was an awesome hike, it probably wasn’t the best decision I have ever made.

As I have grown older, my desire to hike in extreme conditions has waned. The need for every hike to have an epic view has waned. Needless to say, my hiking priorities have changed, and every chance that I have to be out in the woods is just that, a day spent on the trail. If the hike is two miles or eight, the focus is on the hike, not on checking off boxes that some folks think are important.

So, why am I telling you this? Today is the day before Christmas, and with the “once in a generation” storm now over, the frigid air has settled in, and it truly feels like winter. All I can think of now is planning hikes for the spring. With new maps in hand, my thoughts are now consumed with preparing for and getting out hiking.

While It is true that I have not been able to get out hiking much in the last year, it is my hope that 2023 will be much different. I miss being out on any trail. I miss the smell of the earth, the feel of the trail under my feet, and most of all, just being outside.

The first step in this process is complete. I have updated each of my maps: Bear Mt. (Northern & Southern), East and West Hudson, and Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Now I can pore over them and revisit hikes of the past, as well as combining different trails to make new hikes.  

As in the past, this sometimes time consuming task is a vital one. I don’t find many things to be calming, but this happens to be one of them. Sitting with each of the maps, I can spend hours going over trails, distances and calculating the time needed to complete a hike. It is, quite simply, soothing.

Does this mean I won’t venture out before spring? We’ll see…

So feel free to join me as I begin my journey back to the trail.

You, Me, Stillman, And Dupree…

Although I love my Kindle, I am cursed with the ability to buy books at will. If I’m reading another book or an article that I found on hiking or the outdoors, I’ll click on the link and head on over to Amazon. And then I can’t resist. If I am even remotely interested in the book, I will add it to my library and it will sit there until I get to it. It could be a few days, a month, a year, or several years. It all depends.

So, as I was reading another book, the name Scott Stillman came up. What interested me even more was the title of the book that was being recommended. Released in January, I Don’t Want To Grow Up: Life, Liberty, and Happiness. Without a Career offers readers an insight as to what it is like to be able to seek out life’s adventures without the hassle of every day life. The ability to just pick up and go almost whenever you want to, just to climb that mountain, hike that trail or surf that wave.

Isn’t that what we all want to do? I am now in that unique position where if I want to hike a certain trail that may not be close to my home, I can do so. Since I am retired, I don’t have to worry about work and as long as my wife has my schedule, it shouldn’t be a problem.

The author says this about his most recent book:

My fellow readers…

At first glance, this book may appear as a departure from my nature writing. Upon reading it however, I’m confident you will find it is not. As you might know by now, I find it impossible to discuss any matter without also discussing nature. We are inseparable.

So here you go–another nature book. Part memoir, part philosophy, part how-to, part prayer for a better future–but a nature book, nonetheless. You will find it different, yet the same.

My sincere hope is that it finds its way into the hands of someone who’s suffering. Struggling to find their place in this crazy world. Struggling to grow up.

If it helps a single person, I’ll consider it a success.

Thanks for allowing me this opportunity. Thanks for your continued support. My gratitude is boundless.

Scott makes it clear to his readers. If you want to adopt this type of lifestyle before you retire, you can. If you haven’t seen the movie You, Me and Dupree, I strongly recommend it. Dupree, one of the lead characters in the movie, has adopted the lifestyle that Stillman celebrates in his book.

At 183 pages, I was able to knock it out in under a day. Looking at pursuing some adventures, I thoroughly enjoyed the book as well as the message it sent. So many people are caught up in the cycle of adulthood that they can’t even think about undertaking even weekend adventures because of life.

But as I am finding out, life might not always be here tomorrow.

Here is the description of the book that Amazon offers:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

We’ve been asked this question over and over, practically since the day we could walk.

Many of us have absolutely no idea. We never have and we never will. This bothers us terribly, and on a profound level. We feel useless, disconnected, scattered, unfocused. If we could just make up our minds—about something, about anything!

What if you didn’t have to grow up?

Society would like us to believe that to be successful, we need careers. But let’s face it—we’re not all meant to be doctors, lawyers, scientists, and accountants.

Some are meant to be dreamers.

The people on the fringes of society who don’t necessarily subscribe to the modern version of the American Dream. Artists, adrenaline junkies, nomads, life seekers. Those who doubt conventional wisdom, question authority, and continually search for newer, better ways to live.

The world needs freaks—now more than ever before.

Is the career-less path really so bad?

Could it actually be a calling?

Find out for yourself.

Get it Now.

Think about where you are in life and decide how you want to move forward. You may be in your 40’s with the standard accoutrements of a suburban husband or wife. Can you make a decision to downsize and simplify your life so you can complete some of the adventures that you have no doubt been thinking about for years. Don’t kid yourself, we all have things that we have dreamed about doing, some for a pretty long time.

Needless to say, this book is worth the read. If anything, it will get you thinking.

If you could just take off, even if it is only for a few days or weeks, would you?

And to answer that other great question, What do I want to be when I grow up? I want to be FREE!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

“My Favorite Weather Is Bird Chirping Weather.”

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”-Anne Bradstreet

“The promise of spring’s arrival is enough to get anyone through the bitter winter.”-Jen Selinsky

“Can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?”-Neltje Blanchan

Spring is my second most favorite time of year. Not to sound cliché, but it really does represent hope, and a chance at mental, if not some form of physical rebirth. Although it isn’t the same exact thing as hiking, riding my studio cycle all winter definitely puts me in a better place physically and mentally as the season changes. I may hurt after the first few hikes, but it won’t be as bad as if I had been dormant all winter. At this point in my life that isn’t an option.

One of my favorite activities when I am walking through the woods is to take pictures. I have found that even though sometimes I might do the same hike, it is incredible how the pictures I take are so drastically different. Most of the time I will try and focus on something new each time I hike to photograph. I like to think that I come up with some pretty good photos. It’s also nice to see the season change from spring to summer.

These are some photos I took as the day was ending yesterday in my backyard.

The end of a nice 75 degree day!
Another angle.
This was taken the day after a blizzard.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

A Foggy, Misty Morning

“You can walk in a dream while you are awake: Just walk in the misty morning of a forest!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

“For a spiritual journey, you don’t have to meditate or visit a temple or listen to a guru! Just live a misty morning while the sun is rising!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Even though sunny fall days are excellent, so are days like these when a light mist is falling and the fog surrounds you. It is peaceful and the tranquility it provides a sense of calm. These photos and the ones from the other day are the reason I love Autumn so much!

Fall In Mahopac

“I hope I can be the autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.”-Dodinsky

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love—that makes life and nature harmonize.”-George Eliot

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”-Unknown

Fall is without a doubt the best time of the year. The long hot days are gone, but the misery of winter hasn’t gotten here yet. Not that I don’t like Winter, but if it is a really, really cold one, it’s no fun. Having a lot of snow doesn’t have the same allure that it did when my kids were young!

So I went for a walk today in the woods that surround my house for the sole purpose of taking some pictures so I could write this blog entry. I love the sound of the leaves as they crunch under my feet and the warmth of the sun as it makes its way through the trees. It is beyond description and it is a shame that it only lasts for a short time.

I hope that you enjoy the photos!

This is about 100 feet outside of my house.
You can see from the light in the background that many trees have fallen during the storms we have had over the years.
We all end up here sooner or later.
A solitary leaf before it separates and begins its slow journey towards death.
I love trees in Black and White.
Although it was chilly, the sun coming through the trees was enough to warm me.

Ward Pound Ridge

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” – Unknown

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

Three days ago my friend and I went to Anthony’s Nose. Today, even though I hiked alone, I wasn’t alone. WPR was packed with people at the trailhead and it made it difficult at the beginning to get by other hikers. As I made my way up the trail, however, the crowds thinned out and I did get to enjoy some moments of peace and quiet. This hike reminded me again of why I really enjoy hiking in the early morning. No people!!!!

As you will see in the two pictures below, I also came across this lengthy inhabitant of the woods. From a distance I though for sure it was just a stick and then it moved!!!! I took the pictures and then moved on my way.

An unexpected friend on the trail.
He wasn’t too happy to see me.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The next photo shows my favorite rock to take a break at about the two mile point. If you notice, I had too get a new pack. Since I had a defibrillator implanted, I can no longer use a conventional daypack with two straps as it would place pressure on the spot of the implant. So after a little research, I found a 10 liter sling pack. This will take some getting used to.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Short, Slow And Relatively Easy…

“Mostly, two miles an hour is good going.”

-Colin Fletcher 

This morning was probably the nicest day of the summer. When I got on the trail at 6:30 am, it was 49 degrees. I was actually a little cold as I headed out into the woods but it only took a couple of minutes though for that nice chilly feeling to go away!

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As has been the case almost all summer, I didn’t see a single person the entire hike. Granted, the hike was shorter than most I have done but on a day like today, I expected to at least see some trail runners. That’s ok, the woods were practically silent as I made my way down the trail.

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If you take a left at the tree that is marked instead of going right as the trail markers tell you to, you can add another half of a mile to your hike. Today I didn’t and continued right. Most of the trail at this point is soft dirt with some rocky spots mixed in at different points.

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The picture above marks the beginning of only two short hills on this particular hike. This one is about halfway through the hike and the second one is almost at the end.

One of the cool things about Ward Pound ridge are the bridges that are found throughout the park. Although the ground was wet, I couldn’t see any running water and if you wanted you could just use the rocks on the left to escape the mud.

The rest of the hike was pretty easy. Nice flat trails and as I got closer to the finish, a breeze started blowing that didn’t help with trying to stay warm. But it was nice weather for the end of August.

I can’t complain about any aspect of today’s hike and tomorrow is looking just as good!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #28-8/26/19-3.7-123.7

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

The Humidity Is Here To Stay

We are wind, we are wind
And we can’t hold on
Hold on to anything we see that’s gone
We’re gone in a heartbeat, fleeting, it’s gone
We are wind, we are wind
We crumble into nothing, we are wind
Two parts me, folded together
For one brief moment everything fits
The sun

-Trey Anastasio

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A shelter not too far from the start of the trail. You could easily bring small children for an overnight at this shelter.

Today was an interesting day at Ward Pound Ridge. I did a really nice 4.3-mile loop and I actually saw two people trail running. I almost never see anyone when I’m out hiking early in the morning but today I saw two people. That is almost unheard of! The first guy would have scared the hell out of me but he had the common courtesy to yell, “good morning” when he was about 20 yards behind me. Good thing that he did because I was in a good rhythm and had no idea he was there.

The news said last night that it was supposed to be less humid this morning than it has been. I really didn’t find that to be the truth and ended up sweating like it was going out of style. With that said, it was still nice enough out and the promise is that the humidity is going to stay with us for the next three or four days. I can’t wait.

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A connector trail on today’s loop. 

So even with the promise of really high humidity in the morning, I’m already planning tomorrows hike. If you have noticed, I have kept the hikes at just around four to four and a half miles. I think it would be a good idea to keep it at that for a little while longer.

When the weather gets cooler I’ll probably think about some longer hikes but with the weather the way it is, hydration has to be my main concern. Gatorade Zero before, during and after the hike as well as 96 ounces of water. Of course, then the rest of the day will be spent getting rehydrated.

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One of the more interesting rock formations on the hike,. 

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #26-8/15/19-4.3-115.4