Tag Archives: vasque st. elias gtx boots

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

 

 

 

Let’s Go Over The Basics…

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This is about 1/2 mile from the spot that has so far caused me just about nine months of hiking.  When I finally get out there no one will be able to say I’m not ready!

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.”

– John Muir

I’ve mentioned in previous posts the importance of being prepared when you go out hiking. It doesn’t what the length of the hike is, you need to have certain things with you, just in case. Just in case of what you might ask? Who knows!!!! The variables are constant and many. You really have to be prepared for what you know, and more importantly, what you don’t.

If you hike in the same area then you should be pretty familiar with the basics. I know that I plan for where I am going to be. If you hike in the same general area, this should make your planning a little easier. For example, what plants are poisonous, what is the terrain like, which snakes are poisonous and which ones aren’t and so on. This may seem like a lot of  information, but the more you know, the better prepared you will be just in case you run into trouble.

Here is a common list that I think is important to have even on short day hikes. It may differ from others that you have seen but I am making this based on personal experience. I learned the hard way last summer that you really, really need to be prepared.

1) Water-I know that I have beat this one pretty close to death, but it is a fact that even if you are heading out for a short hike, drink water before, during and after your hike. As a matter of fact, I bought two more of the 48 ounce Nalgene bottles a few weeks ago. This will bring me to 192 ounces of water even for a day hike. Since that comes to a nice 12 pounds of water, friends have told me I am crazy for carrying that much water. With my mishap last summer, I’ll file that under “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

2) Sawyer Squeeze-Ok. I know that with carrying that much water I shouldn’t need a purification system. Once again, you never know what is going to happen so I’ll file this under, “I know I’m crazy but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

3) Rain Poncho/Emergency Space Blanket-I have never really made it a priority to hike in the rain. Although I have been caught in thunderstorms during a hike, I have never set out to do a hike in the rain. This year I plan on making an effort to get out even in the rain. The poncho can also act as a nice shelter if something happens and I can’t get out of the woods right away. Of course The Emergency Space Blanket will help keep me warm.

4) First Aid Kit-I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. This one gets filed under, “you could be screwed if you don’t have one.”

5) Multi Tool/Fire Starter/Boonie Hat-Once again, pretty self-explanatory, always handy if you need them and a huge problem if you need them and don’t have them.

6) Map/GPS (Garmin Etrex 30)-Even though I know many of the trails that I hike on, having a map of the area is always essential. I don’t carry a compass anymore because I don’t stray from the trail like I used to 15-20 years ago. My days of bushwhacking are done. My GPS, a Garmin is used just to calculate exact mileage. In the old days, I would almost have to guestimate how far my hikes were.

7) Kelty Zephyr Daypack/Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles/Vasque St. Elias GTX Hiking Boots-I saved the best for last. For over two decades now I have hiked with my Kelty Zephyr Day Pack. Since I have no reason to retire it, I will use it for another year. Second, I did have to buy new trekking poles after snapping one of mine last year. My boots? They remain the same and probably will for at least the next few years. I still have the almost new ones that I never got to wear last summer, plus I got another pair a couple of months ago for just about 50% off. Can’t beat that with a stick!

So there you have it! I have read many, many different “essentials” that you should take day hiking. I have adapted my list to accommodate my own personal situation and I am hoping that it will make for a outstanding summer of hiking.

What are your essentials? Do they differ much from my list? What would you add or take away?

HAPPY HIKING!!!

How To Cure The Non-Hiking Blues

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

-John Burroughs

I came across the following statement/question as I was perusing a Facebook page that dealt with hiking earlier:

How do you guys deal with the “9-5” grind? I literally can’t focus on anything else except going on my next hike. And I find that I struggle to deal with all of the bullshit that coworkers are.

So how do you deal with the constant urge to get out and hike during the workday? Obviously, you need money not only to live but to be able to go out on the adventures that you find yourself focusing on during the workday. So what you have to do is get it out of your mind is to use your time after the work day to get ready for that next hike.

What can you do after work and in between hikes? Here’s a list:

  1. Keep your gear in good condition. Clean your pack inside and out. Hang it to dry if you were hiking in the rain.
  2. Clean your boots. Check your laces for frays, if they are wet, set them somewhere to dry. Don’t put them near a heat source because the excessive dry heat could damage them.
  3. Replace anything that you used on the hike. First aid equipment, duct tape, sunscreen and especially TP.
  4. Figure out how to work that GPS that you bought and never figured out.
  5. Clean your trekking poles.
  6. If needed, clean your maps.
  7. Plan your next hike. And the one after that and the one after that. I do this and it allows me to focus on my work during the day and my hikes at night.
  8. Clean your hiking clothes every so often. Now I get it that if you are on a three or four-day adventure, you might start to smell. But day hikers really have no reason to smell like a thru-hiker.
  9. Learn how to use a compass and try navigating a hike.
  10. Plan hikes you might not necessarily go on. For instance, I almost never hike in the rain. This year, my goal is to do exactly that as often as I can.
  11. Read anything and everything on the internet about hiking. New gear, hikes, thru-hiker stories, wilderness first aid, hikers blogs.
  12. Youtube is a fascinating outlet for people doing everything that I have listed above. As with everything else the quality of some videos are not as good as others, but following AT and PCT thru hiker vlogs are a wonder in themselves.
  13. If you photograph or video your hikes, make sure your batteries are charged and your gear is ready to go.
  14. If you can’t get outside to hike or walk, get on a stationary bike to get in shape for those spring hikes.

So there you go, If all you can do is think about hiking at work, do it at home. Not only will you save yourself trouble at your job but you will also be better prepared for your next outdoor adventure.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Camino Continued…

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In my last post I started to think about how important it is to me to be in decent physical and mental shape when I tackle the Camino next year. I think that part of the excitement, motivation and ensuing spirituality is the time that I will spend preparing to make my final choices in regards to dates, equipment, how long I want to be on the Camino and how far I want to go, each day as well as overall.

To me, the minutiae are what will truly enhance the entire experience. I have read accounts where folks have found this aspect of walking the Camino to be tedious and almost unworthy of consideration. For me, however, I need to do the planning so I can gain and maintain the focus I will need to make this a reality.

Here are some of the issues surrounding equipment: As of right now I am going to go with what I know works for me.

1) Footwear-Boots-Vasque St.EliasGTX/sandals

2) Backpack-Right now-Osprey Kestrel 48

3) Socks-Merino wool/shorts/t-shirts/rain gear

4) First aid supplies???

5) Sleeping Bag orLiner???

Some food for thought:

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

– Confucius

“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.”

– W. Clement Stone

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.”

– Wayne Dyer

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!!!

Day Two-Trouble Ahead!

Knowing that water may be hard to come by for the nine mile hike on day two, my hiking partners rigged up a pretty simple water containment system to catch as much water as possible. Over night we did have several hours pouring rain and thunderstorms which made capturing the water that much easier.

When all was said and done, we collected and purified around 5 gallons of nice cold water!

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Collecting water at the Bald Rocks Shelter.

Now the fun begins! Leaving the shelter at around 10 am, we got back on the Ramapo Dunderberg trail and began our day! The terrain in this part of Harriman is just spectacular. Geologists believe that millions of years ago this area of New York may have been part of South America. It always amazes me that rocks end up where they do and stay there!

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Beautiful scenery a half mile into the hike.

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A couple of tenths of a mile from disaster!

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Although the rocks shown in these pictures are dry, when you got the end of one and it turned back into trail, the rock proved to be very slippery.  As I was coming down off of the rock in the third picture from the top, I began sliding and I lost my balance. My left foot became wedged between two rocks as I stopped, my forward momentum kept me moving.

End result? A fractured left ankle and a subsequent surgery to repair it.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #21-.9-117.85

Shakedown #1-Ramapo-Dunderberg

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A while back I made a decision that when I retired I would hike the Appalachian Trail. Even though it is almost two years away, I am glad that I have that time to plan for this six month adventure. As I have watched videos of thru hikers, I have come to one conclusion. You have to know what gear you need/want and you have to know whether it works for you or against you.

On Wednesday of next week I will be heading out to Harriman State Park with two friends to backpack the Ramapo-Dunderberg Trail. Running a little over 21 miles, the trail begins at the Tuxedo RR station and ends on route 9W on the opposite side of the park.

I am considering this my first shakedown hike in preparation for the AT. A shakedown hike is described by Brian Lewis as a “…longish backpacking trip where you try out your gear and associated process to find out if there are things you can improve (in either) before your thru-hike. And hopefully it will also confirm that hiking somewhat longer distances is something you really want to do.” My first shakedown will be three days and two nights.

Will I like the gear that I have? Will I want to do another trip, maybe longer before I make any final decisions? I don’t know. Only time will tell!

Over the next few days I am going to post some of the new gear that I have as well as the tried and true that I am pretty sure I will use on the AT.

Please feel free to leave your comments!

Happy Hiking!!!

Please read more about shakedown hikes here:

https://thetrek.co/why-shakedown-hikes-important-new-backpackers/

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/shakedown-hike-gear-review/

https://sectionhiker.com/shakedown-hikes-arent-just-for-backpacking-beginners/