Tag Archives: tranquility

It Can All Be New Again

“We frequently walk with the sole purpose of getting from one place to another. But where are we in between? With every step, we can feel the miracle of walking on solid ground. We can arrive in the present moment with every step.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

“When we first learned to walk, we walked just to enjoy walking. We walked and discovered each moment as we encountered it. We can learn to walk that way again.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

Over the past several months I have learned the truth in the quotes written above by Thich Nhat Hanh. Although I certainly do not remember learning to walk, I can recall the squeals of delight from both of my children as they took their first steps. Eyes wide open with surprise, the fact that taking their first steps could bring such joy is something that we have forgotten as adults. We have nothing left to experience that is a new and as exciting as this.

As I recall those moments, I have to admit that when I go out to hike I don’t squeal anymore (at least out loud), but I do feel a sense of bliss and satisfaction every time I head to the woods. I am, however, mindful of why I walk as often as I can. These days it is equally as much for my mental well being as it is for my physical health.

My point is a simple one. Regardless of why you may walk, it is important not to lose the wonder and excitement that you felt as a child and made those discoveries for the first time. If you look hard enough, you can discover something new on every hike that you take. The changing of the leaves, the smell of the morning air or meeting someone new, it is all up to you. If you are lucky, you just won’t be listening to just what your head is telling you. If you listen very carefully, you will hear it in your heart as well.

Happy Hiking!!!

R/G->R->RT->Y->Connector->R

“One of the riches the wilderness has to offer is a prolonged immersion in absolute silence.”

-Colin Fletcher 

When my alarm went off this morning I knew that time was against me. The forecast was for rain, and after ever so slowly crawling out of bed, I looked at the radar on my phone and just as I thought, things didn’t look good. So the battle in my brain began. Do I just forget about hiking for the day? Do I take the risk and get out before the rain starts? Do I listen to that pesky little voice that was telling me to go back to bed? Or do I ignore it and just head out the door.

Since I hadn’t hiked since Thursday, I grabbed my water bottles, shouldered my pack and made my way to the jeep. Yes, even though the odds were against me, I made my way to Ward Pound Ridge.

When I got to the reservation, it was still creepy dark. Knowing that I was going to have to wait about 20 minutes before I could get onto the trail, I looked at the weather again and saw that I had 105 minutes until the rain would start. Five minutes later, it said 115 minutes. Five minutes later it was down to 108 minutes. What was happening? At that point, I made the command decision to start hiking.

If you take a look at the title of this blog entry, it details the route I took today. When I got to the end, it was in the realm of possibility that I could do a few more miles if the rain wasn’t to close. I took out my phone and checked the forecast. Sure enough, I had ten minutes until the rain would start. But would it? Was it telling me the truth? Did I want to chance it? I decided to head back to my car.

Sure enough, ten minutes later it started rain, no, pour….

Happy Hiking!!!

2017 Mileage:

10/8/17-4.5-269.62

R/G->RT->Y

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

-Colin Fletcher

As I was leaving the parking on Michigan Road the other day I saw the familiar markings of a connector trail. This is the first time that I have seen this particular trail despite the fact that I have been by the start of the trail about thirty times. So instead of making the customary left turn from my jeep to get to the trail, I went right and headed down Michigan Road. Turning right, I headed into the woods and after a short time I found myself at the site of an old mill.

After looking around for a few minutes I headed back up to the road. On the map it is shown as a loop, but for the life of me I couldn’t find any blazes on the return route. When I got back to the road, I made the left and made my way to the Red and Green Trail. I took this trail until the green trail left the red and intersected with the RT. Shortly after that the yellow trail comes in until you go back to the parking lot.

Happy Hiking!!!

2017 Mileage:

10/5/17-4.5-265.12

Is It Really Fall?

“The silence was an intense roar.”

-Jack Kerouac

“Rocks are space, and space is illusion,”

-Jack Kerouac

You would think that on September 26th I would be reporting to you that I was hiking in nice cool temperatures in the 60’s. No such luck. At 4:20 pm today it was 86 degrees with a “real feel” of 91. Wow! Where did fall go? Even with the high temps and incredibly oppressive humidity, it was still worth getting out.

I will say that because it was so hot, I cut down the mileage of my hike to 3.6 miles, went considerably slower than I usually do and took several water breaks. To keep things simple, I just did the Green Trail at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The picture below is the same camera shot from the other day when I posted the sunrise. What a difference!

WP_20170926_006

A beautiful but hot day at Ward Pound Ridge.

WP_20170926_008

I stopped by this huge rock to drink some water!

WP_20170926_009

The trail after a water break.

Happy Hiking!!!

2017 Mileage:

9/26/17-3.6-244.82

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!!!