Tag Archives: spring hiking

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.

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

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

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

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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!

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

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

A Triumphant Return!!!

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My pack and poles are back in business.

“The silence was an intense roar.”

-Jack Kerouac

Today is a good day. Today I decided that it was time to get back on the trail. Even though I have been riding the stationary bike to get ready to hike, it wasn’t easy. It really wasn’t easy. I did a nice 3.2-mile loop at Ward Pound Ridge and the one nice thing about many of the trails at WPR is that the number of hills are minimal.

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Unfortunately, even these small “inclines” almost killed me today. But that’s ok. It was magnificent just to get out. It has now been 269 days since I have hiked. When I started hiking it was a glorious 41 degrees. The sun felt great on my face and the fact that I was actually outside and on a trail made it that much better.  With almost clear blue skies and no wind blowing, the silence in the woods was blissful. You don’t realize how loud and noisy the world is that we live in is until you are smacked in the face with an extended period of silence. Pure bliss!!!

 

So what does this mean? Since I had no issues with my ankle, I am going to resume my old hiking schedule for the time between now and when school ends, which is “get out as often as possible.”

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The calendar may say it is spring, but this small pond tells a different story!

Peace to everyone out there!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike#1-3/24/19-3.2-3.2

 

 

 

It’s Closer Than You Think…

“I felt free and therefore I was free.” 

-Jack Kerouac

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This is what I’m talking about.

I can sense it. It’s almost time. The weather for the next few days looks like it should be for mid-March. With temps in the mid 40’s during the day and high teens to the early twenties at night, most of the snow has melted and now all we are left with is soul sucking mud. Even though we didn’t get a whole lot of snow this winter, the amount of rain we saw was unbelievable. It seems like it has rained non stop for months. As a result, we now have mud that will literally stop you in your tracks.

But that too shall pass. The trails will soon be clear and the warm air of spring will come. Oddly enough, however, one day out of nowhere it will be so hot that I’ll be trying to get my hikes in very early in the day just to beat the heat. But that’s ok. School ends on June 26th and we return on August 28th. That’s 62 days of hiking glory!

But let’s worry about the here and now. With the days getting longer and longer and more days between now and the end of school than in summer itself, I’ll be making plans to get out. Until then, my pack, poles and boots sit waiting.

Happy Hiking!!!

  

The Itch Is Back…

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Better hiking days are ahead!!!!!!

As I sit here writing this, a cold freezing rain has finally stopped falling, leaving that annoying glaze of ice on everything. It doesn’t look so bad, but you know the second you step on it you’re going for a ride.

I don’t mind the snow so much, but freezing rain, sleet, and ice are a whole different ball game. The sound of it hitting the ground sounds fills me with a feeling of dread, of impending doom. Especially if I happen to be driving or hiking.

Anyway, I am officially done with winter. Usually, I don’t care if it hangs around and we get a few more storms than we are used to, but I’ve had it already. The snow and freezing rain can stay away and the cold can stay where it belongs (Canada, eh). We need spring here immediately.

But here’s the point of this post. Here’s the bottom line.

Something always happens every year around this time. The itch returns. It’s kind of like at Christmas where instead of dreams of sugar plums dancing in my head, I start dreaming of hikes and then I start giving my hiking gear the once over. That knowing look that my pack and I will soon be back in the woods, watching spring turn to summer and  I spend about twenty minutes going through my day pack to make sure that I have everything that I need. When it dawns on me that I am not going out, disappointment sets in and I put everything back in the pack with the same care as handling a newborn. I know that day will come.

So now I wait. Looking at the weather forecast, I don’t think that winter is done with us and we will get more of the white stuff before we can enjoy spring.

It wasn’t that long ago where I would head out in just about any weather condition. It didn’t matter what the weather was like, I would go hiking. My friend and I even hiked to Anthony’s Nose in the middle of a blizzard about twenty years ago. Needless to say,  I do not recommend that.

And then I fractured my ankle last June. Although it has been almost eight months since the fracture and subsequent surgery, I have only been hiking one time. I missed the entire summer, fall and winter days that haven’t been so bad. That has made the itch to get back outside that much worse.

So this year I will wait until the trails are clear. I know it may sound stupid, but I am waiting strictly out of fear. The fear that I may slip and fall again. I have been hiking for about forty years and never worried. Now I do.

Looking at the big picture, however, It’s probably for the best. Until the time comes I can keep unpacking and repacking my day pack.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Getting Ready To Hike Again

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Last weekend the first Hudson Valley saw its first snow storm for the New Year. (I’m still leary after the summer mishap, misstep, or whatever you want to call it!) So for the time being, I’ll do what I normally do during these bleak winter days. I’ll start getting ready for the time when I can get back out into the woods.

What exactly does that mean? First, I’ll get on my stationary bike and just ride, ride and ride some more. Regardless of what is said, I find the stationary bike to be an excellent way to get ready for the many hikes that await me.

Next, I take inventory of what I have and what I need.  I find that this is the best time to make some decisions if I need to in order to get my gear straight.

First I start at my head and work my way down. For instance, I have a wool cap that will certainly come in handy during the winter, but also in the early spring when the air is still chilly, especially when you stop for a water break or lunch, it will be useful. Since I just got one of those just a few months ago, I won’t have to replace that.

Moving down, I will almost always wear a t-shirt and a flannel jacket in early to middle spring. Since I tend to run a little hot when I am hiking, this almost always makes it way back into my back at some point during the hike.

For my hands, I never have worn gloves. I sweat way to much and they become very uncomfortable  when I am using my trekking poles.

Now for my legs. If it is at all possible, I will wear shorts throughout the year. If it does prove to be to cold for shorts, a pair of sweatpants will do with the shorts underneath. This way I can take them on and off as needed. I’m pretty old school with my clothing. It’s usually cotton or nothing at all.

Now one place I have a drastic change is in my socks. For just under thirty years I have worn cotton socks. Obviously I think you can guess the number of blisters that I have gotten over the years. If not blisters, then definitely hot spots. I think that those are worse than actual blisters.

On a hike a couple of years ago my friend asked me why I didn’t wear Merino Wool socks. I told him flat out that I thought it was crazy to spend that much money on a pair of socks. What an idiot! From the first day of putting on a pair of wool socks I have been a believer. Not one hot spot, not one blister, the feeling is amazing! The only thing that I do every year is check them out for wear and tear. If I need new ones, I will buy them.

Also on my feet let’s take a look at my boots. I have always preferred a pair of heavier boots, even for day hiking. Right now I have a pair of Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots that I have now used for three seasons (2 pairs). I have to make a confession here. I thought that the heavier boot and the stiff ankle support would have prevented what happened to me last summer. I gambled and lost that bet! However, I will continue to use them because I love Vasque boots. They are comfortable, sturdy and come in wide sizes. Everything that I need and want in a boot.

I do use Trekking Poles but one of the Black Diamond poles that I use snapped during my fall last summer. They have been replaced and I am saving that for a review at a later time.

So after surviving a weekend with temperatures in the negative numbers and current ones in the high teens to low twenties, I am ready to keep preparing for that inevitable first beautiful day of spring (or winter) where I can just head out and hike!!!

Look for later  posts on my trekking poles and my daypack.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Back To The Brown Trail!!!

On a hike, the days pass with the wind, the sun, the stars; movement is powered by a belly full of food and water, not a noxious tankful of fossil fuels. On a hike, you’re less a job title and more a human being. A periodic hike not only stretches the limbs but also reminds us: Wow, there’s a big old world out there.”

-Ken Ilgunas

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

-Diane Spicer

For the first time in about nine months I returned to the Brown Trail at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Although it was around 75 degrees, the canopy of the spring trees provided enough cover to keep things cool.

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Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #10-5.1-59.2