Tag Archives: walking as meditation

Buzzing And Biting The Day Away

“A walk in nature walks the soul back home.”

“To walk in nature is to witness a thousand miracles.”

-Mary Davis

Today was one of those days where I walked out the front door and then almost turned around and went back to bed. The humidity was so thick and oppressive that it literally stopped you in your tracks. Needless to say, once I started hiking it wasn’t long before I was soaking wet. Along with the humidity came the dreaded dragonflies. Buzzing, landing, and biting was the tale of the day. It seemed that no amount of bug spray could keep them at bay.
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Even with the humidity, it was still nice to be outside and as usual, I didn’t see anyone on my hike. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t expecting this kind of weather until tomorrow when we are supposed to get some of the remnants of Barry.

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This year the woods are the greenest that they have been in years. It makes the hiking much more serene than if the woods weren’t as vibrant. That’s the whole reason to be out there.

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I’ve been following the progress of this bees nest for almost two weeks now. Although now it doesn’t seem to be getting bigger in size, it is getting heavier because it is weighing the branch down. I am also surprised that with its proximity to the trail, that no one has messed with it. I guess that is a good thing.

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No matter what the weather, the silence still provides a pleasant reprieve from everything else going on. The joy of just being able to sit on a rock and think makes every minute of every hike worthwhile.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #20-7/17/19-5.0-90.1

What? Say It Ain’t So. No Humidity?

“Shutting out the world is not about turning your back on your surroundings but rather the opposite: It is seeing the world a bit more clearly, staying a course and trying to love your life.”

-Erling Kagge

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My trusty pack and poles.

Today was another great morning at Ward Pound Ridge. It was 58 degrees with really low humidity. A nice breeze made it cooler at times and as the sun came up it was actually nice to feel it hit you as it made its way through the trees.

As it has been most mornings, I did not see a soul as a made my way through the reservation. The only things that were visible were the many chipmunks and squirrels that inhabit this beautiful area.

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That’s the greatest thing about hiking at Ward Pound Ridge. If you can get out early enough, the park is pretty much yours for the taking. The stretch above is obviously wide enough to hold many people without feeling closed in yourself. Other trails may not be as wide, but the deeper you get into the park, the fewer people you will encounter.

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I love this tree. Don’t ask me why.

 

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More signs that the water is drying up in the park.

As I said, today was a really nice day to be out in the park. I’m hoping to be out again in the morning. I have been alternating between three loops that have been averaging between four and five miles. For the time being, I am going to stick with these hikes because I like them. And that’s all I have to say about that.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #19-7/15/19-4.5-85.1

A Breath Of Fresh Air

REI has come up with these “A Breath of Fresh Air” meditation spots that are absolutely fantastic. They say in their description that:

“We believe that a life outdoors is a life well lived and that we all could use a break from everyday life. We suggest getting outdoors, but if you can’t in this moment, we’re bringing the outdoors to you. Slip on your headphones and give yourself a quick reprieve. Breathe in, breathe out, and let go.”

They range in length from a bunch that are under thirty seconds to those that run 3-4 minutes.

So if you can’t get outside or you need a few minutes to just get away from it all, listen to one or more of these. They are very well produced and especially when you are wearing headphones, all you have to do is just shut your eyes to experience the wonder of the outdoors.

So get the headphones out, Google “REI  A Breath of Fresh Air” and then pick and choose where you want to go.

HAPPY HIKING and HAPPY RELAXING!!!!

 

Early Sunday Morning Excursion

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“Don’t be scared to walk alone. Don’t be scared to like it.” 

– John Mayer

“When the traveler goes alone he gets acquainted with himself.” 

– Liberty Hyde Bailey

It’s Sunday folks. So what does that mean? It means that even when I go out hiking at my usual very early time, I stand a good chance of running into people. If you follow my blog, then you know my affinity for hiking solo. I just don’t like hiking in groups. I can handle one or two good friends, but large groups? No thanks. I’d rather bathe in a large vat of poison ivy.

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But what did I run into on this incredibly humid morning? Horseflies. What seemed like millions of them. And even though I sprayed enough Cutter on myself that I probably would have killed my dog if he came near me, but they didn’t care. Wave after wave of buzzing and biting little monsters that never stopped, well, buzzing and biting. The horror.

 

With all of that said, I can’t say that just because I encounter people I’ll stop hiking, I’ll just make believe they aren’t there. Unfortunately, I just can’t make believe the horseflies aren’t there.

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And even though I have been battling a summer cold for the past several days, my legs felt really good. Here’s hoping for a less humid day tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #13-6/30/19-5.1-59.4

Solo Vs. Group Hiking

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

-John Muir

I have been thinking the last couple of days about the pros and cons of solo vs. group hiking.

In several posts over the years, I have written about the virtues of hiking solo as opposed to being in a group. For me, personally, hiking solo is the way to go. Now that I am getting a wee bit older, I do leave an itinerary so my family knows where I am. At this point in my life, it’s just a question of common sense and a hearty willingness to stay alive! But the fact remains that I still like to go it alone.

Obviously, however, I know people that feel that the more the merrier. I see on REI that they have group hikes on the weekends where they may meet at a bar, do the hike and finish the day at the same watering hole. They like the camaraderie and the overall social aspect of being in a group. Some folks are new to hiking and don’t have the confidence needed to be out there alone.

Since REI and other hiking clubs continue to offer these types of excursions, they must be pretty popular. As a matter of fact, in Bear Mt. several years ago, I ran into my cousin in the middle of nowhere and she was a member of a group of about 30. Too many people for me.

The bottom line in this situation is that people are getting out hiking. They may not feel comfortable hiking alone for a myriad of reasons. And that is cool. At least they are taking that first step (no pun intended). I fully believe that once you gain the experience and confidence and you head out by yourself, especially for the first time, you will find yourself in a whole new world. The possibilities become endless. 

What I see as the most complicated issue with group hiking is just being tied down by the group itself. From talking to people who have done these types of hikes, they say that they have had times where they might have wanted to stay on a peak or go in another direction but couldn’t because you would need group consensus for that to happen. To lengthen a hike or stay by a lake for longer than what may be scheduled all would need approval from the group or at the very least, the group leader. That’s too constricting for me and what I want to accomplish on my hikes.

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

-John Muir

So into the woods I will go, for as long as I can, solo.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

 

 

 

Put One Foot In Front Of The Other…

“I woke up this morning with a sense of peace. It has been many months since I felt this way. As I entered the woods a short time later, it felt as though a giant weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.”

-MPD

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The entrance to the trails off of  Michigan Road in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Although the air was still and cool, the humidity was higher than I would have liked. With that said, it didn’t matter, I was out hiking. Obviously, the quote above is mine and it is 100% accurate. The peace I felt this morning as I got ready for my hike felt good, and thankfully it carried over to the hike itself.

As I made my way past the information board at the start of the trail, I could see that the trail itself was still wet from rain that fell the night before. As I mentioned in a previous post, the smell of the soft wet earth is unlike no other smell. It is awesome! As my boots sunk into the trail, I was quickly reminded how lucky I was to be out in the woods doing what I love. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is so basic, and yet it provides so much tranquility and well being.

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Silence and solitude.

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Many of the trails at Ward Pound Ridge look just like this, well taken care of and nice soft earth to hike on,

My goal for the summer is a simple one. To retain my peace of mind.

The question now is, how can I accomplish this?

2019 Mileage

Hike #11-6/27/19-4.5-50.2

Silence Is Golden

“The silence was an intense roar.”

-Jack Kerouac

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One of the things that I like the most about hiking is that I have the ability (if I choose the right trail and time), to hike in almost perfect silence. Besides the wind blowing through the trees or the occasional chipmunk or squirrel running through the woods, most of the time I am fortunate to be able to walk in complete utter silence.

This is indeed a beautiful thing based on the fact that my days are spent in a high school surrounded by 1,600 students. Needless to say, my days are filled with varying degrees of talking, screaming, and laughter, all at a decibel that would rival a jumbo jet taking off. All that for almost seven hours a day.

So it is silence that I seek the end of the day, especially at this time of year. Students know that the end of the school year is just around the corner and obviously so do the teachers. Thoughts are on the end of the year exams, completing work (on time and late), and just the frenzied free for all that all teachers call “the end of the year.”

So it is the time when the students walk out the door for the last time and the teachers are soon to follow that we each choose our destination and activity to recharge the batteries and regain the Zen needed to make it through another year.

I know, boo hoo for the poor teachers who have the entire summer off! All of that aside, we all should have a place where we can go and know that for even a short period of time nothing is able to disturb us so we can regain our sanity!

HAPPY HIKING!!!