Tag Archives: vasque st. elias gtx boots

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

jack freezing

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/

Early, Early Morning

“Enjoyment of the landscape is a thrill.”

-David Hockney 

If this weather could go on for just a little bit longer that would be great. However, I am certain we will be punished soon enough with humid days and temperatures in the 90’s. With that said, this morning proved to be nice and cool, allowing me to get in a six mile hike through Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

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5:15 am

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The field below the parking lot. As the sun came up, the haze disappeared.

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #9-6.1-54.1

Why The AT? Then Again, Why Not?

Image result for appalachian trail sign

“To travel, to experience and learn: that is to live.” –Tenzing Norgay

In a little under two years I will be eligible to retire from my job as a special educator. In NYS, teachers can retire at the age of 55 if they have 30 years in the system. Directly after high school I spent four years in the Marine Corps, then went to school and worked other jobs for  several years before teaching.

So what does this mean? It means that my time in education is near an end. So what next?

As I mentioned in my previous post, my first goal in retirement is to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. As a matter of course, the first question that everyone always asks anyone with a similar goal is “Why?”

With that said, let’s get the “why” out of the way.

My first adult real life challenge came in October 1983 when I reported to Parris Island, SC for basic training with the USMC. Without a doubt, this was the most difficult thing that I had done in my life, both physically and mentally. To describe it as three months of pure hell would be an understatement!

After being discharged I began hiking more than I ever had and used this as my primary form of exercise during the months that were suitable for hitting the trail. The rest of the year was spent riding a stationary bike in an attempt to try to get and stay in shape. This remains true to this day.

So, when you look at my love of hiking and put that together with a lifelong desire to accomplish difficult tasks, a thru hike almost seems inevitable. Why not?

More on this as I continue my research of the AT and engage in some more self reflection.