Tag Archives: tranquility

Shed That Skin

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

“Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.”

-Buddha

As an educator I get to mark the end of summer two different ways. First, I see the return to school. Second, the date finally arrives when it is really, truly over. Today, September 22nd is that day. As I noted in an earlier post, my goal this summer was to get out as many times as I could. Looking at things statistically, from 6/27-9/21 I went on 31 hikes that covered 181.22 miles averaging 5.85 miles per hike.

Overall I think that this summer was an excellent one. I was able to clear my mind and get some weight off of my shoulders. The hikes this summer only reinforced one thing-that getting out in the woods can truly be therapeutic. Each mile that I spent walking the trails, carefully meditating on every step that I took, helped me shed anger that had been building up since the end of June.

Feeling the cool breeze in the morning, watching the sunrise and looking over the Hudson Valley on my many different hikes allowed me to shed that proverbial snake skin.  According to the web site Wonderopolis, “snakes shed their skin to allow for further growth and to remove parasites that may have attached to their old skin.” I couldn’t have said it any better!

So what is the goal now? The goal is to keep moving forward…

Happy Hiking!!!

Serenity Now…

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
-Hans Selye

Hikers always seem to have a love/hate relationship with the very trails that provide them with serenity that they seek. The miles spent with your pack and boots are a testament to your committment to getting out on the trail as often as you can. But even with that committment we always have peculiarities that set us apart from let’s say, people who play tennis. Some people will hike in any kind of weather. Me? I don’t mind the heat or cold and I can spend the day hiking in a drizzle. I draw the line, however,  with heavy rain, snow or sleet.

The weather isn’t the only thing that will test the relationship you have with the trails you  love. I know folks who would much rather hike with a partner or a small group instead of going it alone. Me? I don’t mind the social aspect of hiking with a friend or two but anything larger than that kills the vibe. And going solo? No problem. I thoroughly enjoy the time spent away from people (whether I like them or not) to gain or regain some perspective in my life.

Lastly, part of the adventure or thrill of hiking is what you see along the way. I have a friend whose destination on a hike always has to include a view. While views are nice, they certainly aren’t the be all and end all of a hike. There is, however, something to be said about the close feeling that you get from the woods as you make your way down the trail. I know that I am as equally fascinated by a mushroom on the side of the trail or a stone wall in the middle of nowhere as I am with a great view looking over the Hudson River. Others may not agree, but that’s the beauty of going out and doing your own thing.

This all contributes to the complicated love/hate relationship that hikers have with the places where they love to hike. The whole point of getting out there is to do your own thing. We don’t see a right or a wrong and from day-to-day the relationship can change. Just saying…

Happy Hiking!!!

A Nice Mental Enema (30)

“Can you help me get my head on straight just a half an inch so I can muddle on through?”

-Assembly of Dust

It appears that summer is on its way out and fall is on its way in! Although the forecast has temperatures heading into the mid 70’s to posssibly 80 midweek, the signs are already here that the seasons are changing. The nicest thing about hiking today was the fact that between Monday (when I last hiked) and Saturday, enough leaves had fallen so you had the awesome crunching sound as you made your way through the woods.

As it has been for a couple of weeks now, the temperature was in the mid 50’s with a nice breeze whenI hit the trail at about 10:15 am. For me that it is a pretty late start, but when the alarm on my phone went off at 5:00 am, my brain said, “no way.” So I waited.

Once I got on the trail however, it was all good. I did my favorite trail again and it was glorious! It is long and varied enough to give you not only a good physical workout, but a decent mental cleansing as well.  That’s all I want and it’s all I need.

Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

9/9/17-6.0-175.22

 

The Labyrinth + Connector Trails= Relative Peace (29)

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” 

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” 

-John Muir

After a day of rain on Sunday, the weather today was next to perfect! Once again, temperatures were in the mid 50’s with clear skies and a nice breeze. When I hit the trail at 5:40 am, it was still pretty dark but I knew that with an earlier than usual start I would have a  little more flexibility with how far I could go.

I decided that after yesterday’s post I am renaming the Red Trail, “The Labyrinth.” It only seems fitting since I have hiked it numerous times and have likened its benefits to a traditional Labyrinth.

Today’s trek first took me on the The Labyrinth, back around to a connector trail to the Leatherman’s Loop and I finished by heading back on a very short loop from the yellow to the end of the red.

One of the best things about the cool weather has been the absence of any blood sucking thugs. It’s been really nice not to have to spend entire hikes swatting and slapping these beasts away from me. I can’t remember the last time that I had to actually use any bug spray on a hike.

Another nice day and another really nice hike!

Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

9/4/17-9.2-169.22

Is It Autumn? It Sure Feels Like It!(28)

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” 

-J.K. Rowling

“Each moment of the year has its own beauty.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Walking in the woods today I could sense a shift in the seasons. Although it is only September 1st, the crisp air was certainly much cooler than you would expect, even for this late in the summer. You may think I’m crazy, but when you are hiking, you find that every season has its own unique smell. From the re-awakening of the woods in spring to the barren ground right before a snowfall, it is almost as if the earth lets you know it is changing.

This morning, if only for a moment, the distinct smell of autumn enveloped me as I walked on the trail. However, as quickly as I noticed it, it was gone. Let’s hope that the weather continues in that direction and doesn’t return to summer!

Although I am back at school, I am going to count the hikes I do until Autumn begins on Friday September 22nd as summer hikes.

Summer 2017 Mileage:

9/1/17-8.2-160.02

My Favorite Summer Hikes

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
– Walt Whitman

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

Although the summer isn’t officially over for about three weeks, I return to work as a teacher tomorrow. What does that mean? That means summer hiking is pretty much done. I am hoping that I will be able to get out when I can, but the wonderful morning hikes that I have enjoyed the last couple of months will fade as quickly as the summer has.

Without a doubt, this summer has really been a good one for hiking. Although it has been filled with many rainy days, that was far outweighed by the beautiful mornings filled with blue skies and nice cool temperatures. This post is going to quickly cover my three favorite hikes of the summer. If you have been following my posts this summer, this list shouldn’t really surprise anyone!

Number One-Anthony’s Nose:

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Going to the Nose has been a source of refuge, peace and tranquility for many, many years. When I have good days, bad days and really bad days, the Nose has always been there. That’s all I have to say about that….

IMG_6788

Almost a perfect view!

Number Two-Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

This is a newcomer to my favorite list. In the past couple of weeks I have really come to love hiking here. Well maintained and blazed trails make hiking a really nice experience.  With the marked trails as well as the connector trails, you can shorten or lengthen a planned hike any number of ways. And if you don’t eat during your hike you can take advantage of the numerous picnic tables that are situated throughout the reservation. I am really excited about getting out there in the fall when the leaves change colors.

81417007

The gateway to my favorite hikes in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The gateway to peace and tranquility!

Number Three-Bear Mountain

Located directly across the Hudson River from Anthony’s Nose, this hike has it all. Thigh numbing climbs, views up the Hudson, down the Hudson and all the way to NYC (if the weather permits).

IMG_6902

With the incredible amount of hikes in this area as well as thinking about the ones that I did this summer, it was difficult to pick my favorite ones. The ones that made my top three list were the ones that I have developed an affection for. Ones where I know I can go to recharge the batteries or just find some peace. They vary in length, but that isn’t the most important thing-keeping my peace of mind is.

Red->Green (27)

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

-Nhat Hanh

“Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path.”

-Nhat Hanh

It was another beautiful morning here in the Hudson Valley for hiking! When I started at 5:50 am, it was a pretty chilly 52 degrees with clear skies. What a great day to be out in the woods! Today’s hike was a decent one. I did my favorite Red Trail, came back around and then figured I would also do the Green Trail as well. Excellent hiking!

Since I am having some issues downloading pictures, today’s post will be photo free!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/28/17-9.1-151.82