Tag Archives: vasque st. elias gtx boots

Let’s Not Repeat Last Year

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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

– John Muir

A year ago today, after a night of heavy rain, I experienced the single worst day of hiking that I ever have had in over 40 years of being out in the woods. For those of you who don’t know, at approximately noon on 6/28/18, I slid on rock and as my left foot became wedged between a “^” shaped stone, I fell to the right and heard a loud crack. As I tried to get up, I knew something was really wrong.

As my two hiking companions called 911 and set up a tarp for shade, I began throwing up and realized that something was much more wrong than my ankle. I began passing out and after several hours, park rangers arrived to carry me out of the woods.

To make a long story short, due to being dehydrated, my kidneys were failing and I spent six days in the hospital before they could perform surgery on the broken ankle. The end result? A summer of sitting on my rear end. It was a long and incredibly boring summer.

So now, a year later, the only residual effects I have is half of a foot that is numb most of the time. I was told that this might happen but now it is getting old.

But today, as most of the days have been recently, have been kind to anyone hiking. Temperatures haven’t been that bad and for the most part, and the humidity has been acceptable. Almost perfect hiking weather.

 

 

Now you have to remember that I am out on the trail usually no later than 6 am, with most days being earlier so I wouldn’t expect too many problems with the heat and humidity.

 

 

This morning I did a reverse loop of one of the many that I have completed in Ward Pound Ridge. Although it was pretty much uphill for the first mile, that was ok, I didn’t feel bad and I have to get used to hiking some hills anyway.

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That’s one of the many things to love about Ward Pound Ridge!

Happy Hiking!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #12-6/28/19-4.1-54.3

Summer Break Is Here

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

-John Muir

Tomorrow is the official first day of our summer break. The quote I chose to welcome in the next 62 days is more than appropriate for the occasion. Tomorrow will be my 11th hike of the year. I was hoping to get out more prior to the end of school but it just wasn’t in the cards. My number one goal for the summer is to stay out of the hospital.

Although the hikes that I have done to this point have been pretty short, I have been carrying 2 48 oz Nalgene Bottles as well as a 32 oz Gatorade Zero (an excellent addition to the Gatorade Line). As it gets warmer and more humid, I will add a third 48 oz bottle of water and maybe even a fourth. I am doing my best not to have a repeat of last summer. Hydration is the key!

So, now that  the school year is officially in the rear view mirror, I can start checking off some of the hikes that I listed in a previous post. My plan is to start with a few longer hikes in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation just to get back into decent hiking shape.

The weather looks pretty hot for the rest of the week so when I do get out, it will most certainly be in the very early morning hours. Four thirty to five AM starts. That’s what I’m talking about.

I’ll leave you with this: John Muir said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” 

I read those words and they are sacred. You have to get out and immerse yourself in what cleanses your soul and allows you to put one foot in front of the other day after after day. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Everyone, especially my colleagues, have a great summer! Get out and hike!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #10-6/22/19-4.4-45.7

The Second Day Of Summer

“Back on the trail mon.”

-IB TAT

It seems crazy, but the temperature this morning at 5:47 am was a crisp and cool 55 degrees. That’s almost unheard of on June 22nd of any year. The second day of summer! But it was. Of course, that translated into an outstanding hike in Ward Pound Ridge.

Since this week our students were testing, I wore my new Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots every day and broke them in instead of doing so out in the woods. I wasn’t actually sure that it would work, but based on this mornings hike, it proved to be an excellent idea. This is my fourth pair of the Vasque St. Elias backpacking boots and every pair has outperformed the previous one. They are just fantastic backpacking boots.

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As you can see by this picture and the ones at the start of the post, the amount of rain that we have had this year has made the woods a lush and vibrant green. Once again, I made it out early enough so that I only ran into one gentleman walking his dogs, one of whom could have been my labs’ twin brother. Not to make fun of either of them, but they both lumbered along with the same kind of dumb look. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

As usual, however, it was still nice just to be out in the woods doing some hiking. I’m still trying to get back to where I was prior to my unfortunate incident last summer and slowly but surely it’s happening.  I really felt good.

In just a few days the school year will be over and if I choose to do so, I can get out every day. In a recent post, I mentioned some hikes that I want to do this summer. I’m hoping that the 62 of days of summer break go as slow as the 2018-2019  school year went fast. My objective? Get as many hikes and miles in as humanly possible.

It’s going to be a great summer.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #10-6/22/19-4.4-45.7

Silence & Solitude Times Two

“Hike more, worry less.”

– Anonymous

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

– John Burroughs

Today’s hike is a day of firsts. First, today was the first time I have hiked after school since last year. Usually, at this time of the day, you see quite a few trail runners. Today, like on Sunday, I did not see anyone. I can’t remember the last time I went on two consecutive hikes and didn’t see another person. Like I said on Sunday, not seeing anyone else was fine with me.

“It’s ironic how we often forget the things worth remembering, but remember the things worth forgetting.”

-Anonymous

The second one involves my camera. I don’t know how I did it, but somehow I changed the setting that shuts the camera down if it is left on for a certain amount of time. I believe that I had mine set for 4 minutes. So, when I took out my camera to take some photos of an absolutely beautiful day, it was dead. As a result, I am pretty sure that this hiking post will be my first with absolutely no pictures. I am certainly bummed out about it and I apologize (I personally love taking the pictures as they evoke the memories of each hike).

The hike itself was excellent. I have found a perfect four mile loop that I can do in under two hours that still gets the blood pumping and gives me that mental clearance that I am looking for. It still gives me more than enough daylight to finish and it’s early enough to still get stuff done at home if I need to.

Yesterday afternoon and into the night it rained pretty heavily. This gave the woods a very earthy smell. The smell of the woods after a nice rain is almost better than the smell of freshly cut grass. I think that it actually would have been pretty nice to be out hiking in the rain, but that is something that I will save for when school ends.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #9-6/11/19-4.0-41.3

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

 

 

 

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!!!