Tag Archives: Photography

Hike Like An Antelope

“Set the gearshift to the high gear of your soul.”

-Phish

Today’s hike was a little on the weird side. Not only was there no breeze during the entirety of my hike, but it was totally silent. No squirrels, birds, chipmunks. Nothing. In all of the hikes that I have done in Ward Pound Ridge, this is the first time I have encountered total and utter silence. It’s been close before but never like this.

It was as close to perfection on a hike as you can get. The start of the hike was also pretty cool. With the sun still not up, the moon was perfectly silhouetted against the blue sky.

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As the hike began, it was odd to see the entrance to the woods covered in the same mist that is usually reserved for the heavily wooded areas just to the east of this area.

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Moving into the woods, it felt really good to be out again. It was especially nice because the only sounds that I could hear were my hiking sticks hitting the ground and the sound of my boots on the earth. To say that it was outstanding both physically and mentally would be a serious understatement.

“Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.” 
― Rasheed Ogunlaru

The loop that I have been doing is an excellent way to start the day. It’s not too easy, not too hard, it just happens to be just right. It looks like for the time being I’ll be sticking to my four-mile loop while I explore some reoccurring health issues.

 What follows are some pictures taken along the loop.

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Trails along the loop as well as a connector trail.

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Trail markers along the loop.

I have been keeping an eye on a bees nest for the last couple of weeks.  When I happened upon it a couple of days ago, it was gone! The only part of it that was left was the top of the nest. I can only think of three ways that the nest could have disappeared. First, due to the proximity of the nest to the trail, perhaps the staff of Ward Pound Ridge decided to get rid of it. Second, some pretty severe storms had moved through the area and maybe it was blown off of the tree. With that said, I couldn’t find the remains of the nest. And lastly, maybe a fellow hiker took it upon themselves to get rid of it.

Needless to say, I was surprised when I saw it today and the bees were busy rebuilding a new nest.

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A new nest in the same exact spot as the old one.

New nest on the left, old nest on the right.

Let’s see how long this one lasts.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #22-7/26/19-4.4-98.6

Back On The Trail, Again…

“Got a blank space where my mind should be, Got a Clif Bar and some cold green tea, Got clouds that seem to follow me, Got strange demands piled up on me,
Got memories, Got memories, Memories of being free.”

-Trey Anastasio

 

After a week of blistering heat, rain, and thunderstorms, it was finally nice to get back out on the trail again. Just to refresh everyone’s memories, I made the choice to not hike, even in the very early morning based on my fear of becoming dehydrated. Temperatures were in the 90’s with the humidity just as high. In the mornings when I would start my hikes, temperatures were already in the mid to high 70’s to low 80’s. So every day with the exception of yesterday I rode my stationary bike to keep the legs moving.

 

Being outside was a welcome respite from the days of oppressive heat and humidity. I think that this morning was the first time it has been in the very low sixties with practically no humidity in a couple of weeks. It was outstanding to feel the air on my face and hear the sound of my boots hitting the moist trail with every step.

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Looking down on a connector trail.

 

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This entire area is famous for rock walls that are in the middle of nowhere. These rock walls were used as property boundaries by farmers and landowners.

 

As you can see by the pictures, the woods are as green as they were in April and May. I have seen summers where by this time on July the woods are a barren brown from the lack of rain. But not this summer. We are being treated to something relatively rare for this area of the Northeast in late July-a lush green landscape.

 

Since the humidity was as low as it was, the sun actually felt good when you actually encountered it as it rose through the trees.

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As always, Ward Pound Ridge offers excellent hikes and the loops I have been hiking this summer have offered me the solitude and silence that I have been looking for.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #21-7/24/19-4.1-94.2

What? Say It Ain’t So. No Humidity?

“Shutting out the world is not about turning your back on your surroundings but rather the opposite: It is seeing the world a bit more clearly, staying a course and trying to love your life.”

-Erling Kagge

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My trusty pack and poles.

Today was another great morning at Ward Pound Ridge. It was 58 degrees with really low humidity. A nice breeze made it cooler at times and as the sun came up it was actually nice to feel it hit you as it made its way through the trees.

As it has been most mornings, I did not see a soul as a made my way through the reservation. The only things that were visible were the many chipmunks and squirrels that inhabit this beautiful area.

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That’s the greatest thing about hiking at Ward Pound Ridge. If you can get out early enough, the park is pretty much yours for the taking. The stretch above is obviously wide enough to hold many people without feeling closed in yourself. Other trails may not be as wide, but the deeper you get into the park, the fewer people you will encounter.

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I love this tree. Don’t ask me why.

 

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More signs that the water is drying up in the park.

As I said, today was a really nice day to be out in the park. I’m hoping to be out again in the morning. I have been alternating between three loops that have been averaging between four and five miles. For the time being, I am going to stick with these hikes because I like them. And that’s all I have to say about that.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #19-7/15/19-4.5-85.1

Happy Hump Day!

“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.”

– G.M. Trevelyan

It took a couple of days but today was noticeably cooler than the last three or four. When I started out at just around 6:00 am it was a nice cool 59 degrees with no real humidity. I decided to take the Green trail to the yellow trail back out to the parking lot. All told, it was a nice easy four miles. I’m still not at 100% yet so once again I walked at a slower pace than I usually would and took in everything around me.

I am finding that I actually prefer the slower pace because it allows me to better clear my mind. I do have to still pay attention to my surroundings so I don’t have a repeat of last summer, but walking slower gives me a better sense of what I’m doing, or at least trying to do.

When I stopped for a quick rest and some water, I found myself staring at this log. I have no idea why, it just had me thinking.

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Water sources are drying up with the lack of rain.

Even with the lack of rain, the woods are still a vibrant green.

But for how long?

 

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The same nest from a few days ago, only a little bigger.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #18-7/10/19-4.0-80.6

All Hail No Humidity!!!

“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”

-John Ruskin

With thunderstorms out of the way for the time being, the humidity is finally back at a point where you aren’t suffocating and drenched after walking for five steps. From what the weather forecast looks like, thunderstorms aren’t expected back in the area until Thursday afternoon. I’m sure that the humidity will begin creeping back up as the week progresses.

Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about the fog.

Even though I’m still not at 100%, I decided to do a short hike anyway. I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do but out into the woods I went. Obviously, since I’m still not fully recovered, I kept the pace slower than I would have. That was cool though because it gave me a chance to just think. I also took quite a few more breaks than I normally would have.

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The point where the Green and the Red Trail split. This makes about a decent 4-mile loop.

It was actually nice to sit on a rock and hear nothing but the wind blowing through the trees and the animals running around. As a matter of fact, I thought it was odd that I saw a deer staring at me and for probably about 300 yards he kept pace with me. Walking when I walked, stopping when I stopped. Could it have just been a coincidence that he was following me???  It went on for about 20 minutes before something else spooked the deer and it took off into the woods.

I certainly felt much safer doing this with a deer than I did two years ago with the bear!

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Overall. another great day to be hiking here at Ward Pound Ridge. It never gets old.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #17-7/9/19-4.5-76.6

A Fine Friday For A Hike

“Walking is man’s best medicine.”

– Hippocrates

Another incredibly humid day to go hiking here in the Hudson Valley. As it turns out, I was out even earlier than I usually am, hitting the trail at just about 5:15 am. Obviously, by the picture on the left, it was more than a little foggy at the start of the hike. When I finished just a little more than two hours later, it was cloudy, but the fog had lifted.

Even in the woods during the hike, the fog made things more than a little eerie. At one point a trail runner snuck up behind me and scared the crap out of me. I’m used to not seeing anyone in the early morning, and since it was even earlier, I really wasn’t expecting anyone. If anything, it kept me on my toes.

Today I did a reverse loop of one of the hikes that I have done several times before. Even though the first mile was uphill, it was a gradual climb and not too intense. Going in the opposite direction allowed for a more rolling hike with a few downhill sections. Either way, it is a challenging hike and well worth doing.

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About halfway through the hike and right off the trail was this bees nest. This one was about the size of a small children’s basketball. I was going to get a closer photo, but even as early as it was, all I could see were bees hovering around the nest so I stayed where I was and took the photos.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for heavy thunderstorms so who knows if I will get out or not. I would like to start increasing my mileage a little bit. Maybe to start I’ll add in a couple of longer days.

Right now it feels good just being able to get out as often as I am.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #16-7/5/19-4.1-72.1

They’re Back-The Humidity And The Horseflies

“Going to the woods is going home.”

-John Muir

Wow…The humidity this morning was the worst that it has been. And this is at 5:50 am. The equation is simple: Humidity=Horseflies. I didn’t get a half a mile into today’s hike before I was drenched. But the trail was as good as it always is and despite the humidity, it was nice to be outside.

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Besides the humidity, the only other thing missing was a nice breeze. The air was perfectly still and all I could hear were the birds chirping. I didn’t even see or hear any squirrels. I’m assuming they hate they humidity as well.

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Overall, however, it was a good hike and any time spent outside is far better than being inside or at work.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #15-7/3/19-4.5-68.0