Tag Archives: walking as meditation

Work->Green Trail->Home

“Walking is my main method of relaxation. I don’t go over my lines or try to solve the world’s problems, I just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.”
-Kevin Whately

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The changing leaves as seen through my crappy cell phone camera!

I have found no better way to end a day than to get out and hike. This time of year is especially nice with the cooler temperatures and leaves falling out of the trees to just wander around the woods and think about absolutely…nothing. All I need is that couple of hours of movement to get the brain straight.

After work today (Thursday 10/19), I made my way to Ward Pound Ridge to hike the Green Trail. Today’s hike was made that much better by the total absence of any people. The only company I had this afternoon was the breeze blowing through the trees and an ocassional squirrel making its way from tree to tree.

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The sun setting in the woods about half of the way through the hike.

Happy Hiking!!!

2017 Mileage:

10/19/17-3.5-291.62

 

A Labyrinth…Of Sorts

 

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“With a labyrinth, you make a choice to go in – and once you’ve chosen, around and around you go. But you always find your way to the center.”
-Jeff Bridges

“A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world.”
-Rebecca Solnit

If you have read enough of my blog, you know that I hike for many reasons. Although the physical benefits are obvious, the ones that aren’t many times are the positive ones that you receive that are psychological in nature. After a good day, bad day or indifferent one, hiking offers the mental cleansing I need to keep moving forward, both literally and figuratively.

Recently I have been researching the Labyrinth as a form of walking meditation and I think I have found parallels to what I experience when I am out in the woods hiking, especially a trail that I discovered several weeks ago in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

The Labyrinth Society says  that:

“A labyrinth is a meandering path, often unicursal, with a singular path leading to a center. Labyrinths are an ancient archetype dating back 4,000 years or more, used symbolically, as a walking meditation, choreographed dance, or site of rituals and ceremony, among other things. Labyrinths are tools for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation, also thought to enhance right-brain activity. Labyrinths evoke metaphor, sacred geometry, spiritual pilgrimage, religious practice, mindfulness, environmental art, and community building. ”

When I read the definition above, I couldn’t help but think of The Red Trail at the Ward Pound Reservation. At about 5 1/2 miles, the trail offers a varied enough terrain to allow for the same benefits that have been found with traditional labyrinths. Flat earthen surfaces combined with multiple short rocky climbs allow the hiker to find solace in the journey that they are taking. The trail has enough twists and turns as you make your way around the park to keep things interesting.

The most beautiful thing about this trail is that built within the loop are several other trails or connector trails that can either lengthen or shorten your journey. A little more than half way through the hike is a nice set of rocks that although during the summer do not offer many views, will be absolutely magnificent in the fall and the winter. You can sit on these and reflect on where you have been and where you are going. It is also a great place to eat lunch if you choose to do so!

The differences in a traditional Labyrinth and what I have described above are obvious. With that said, you can use what you have at your disposal to help achieve the peace that you are either looking for or trying to maintain.

Happy Hiking!!!

 

Is It Autumn? It Sure Feels Like It!(28)

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” 

-J.K. Rowling

“Each moment of the year has its own beauty.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Walking in the woods today I could sense a shift in the seasons. Although it is only September 1st, the crisp air was certainly much cooler than you would expect, even for this late in the summer. You may think I’m crazy, but when you are hiking, you find that every season has its own unique smell. From the re-awakening of the woods in spring to the barren ground right before a snowfall, it is almost as if the earth lets you know it is changing.

This morning, if only for a moment, the distinct smell of autumn enveloped me as I walked on the trail. However, as quickly as I noticed it, it was gone. Let’s hope that the weather continues in that direction and doesn’t return to summer!

Although I am back at school, I am going to count the hikes I do until Autumn begins on Friday September 22nd as summer hikes.

Summer 2017 Mileage:

9/1/17-8.2-160.02

My Favorite Summer Hikes

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
– Walt Whitman

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”
– Frank Lloyd Wright

Although the summer isn’t officially over for about three weeks, I return to work as a teacher tomorrow. What does that mean? That means summer hiking is pretty much done. I am hoping that I will be able to get out when I can, but the wonderful morning hikes that I have enjoyed the last couple of months will fade as quickly as the summer has.

Without a doubt, this summer has really been a good one for hiking. Although it has been filled with many rainy days, that was far outweighed by the beautiful mornings filled with blue skies and nice cool temperatures. This post is going to quickly cover my three favorite hikes of the summer. If you have been following my posts this summer, this list shouldn’t really surprise anyone!

Number One-Anthony’s Nose:

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Going to the Nose has been a source of refuge, peace and tranquility for many, many years. When I have good days, bad days and really bad days, the Nose has always been there. That’s all I have to say about that….

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Almost a perfect view!

Number Two-Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

This is a newcomer to my favorite list. In the past couple of weeks I have really come to love hiking here. Well maintained and blazed trails make hiking a really nice experience.  With the marked trails as well as the connector trails, you can shorten or lengthen a planned hike any number of ways. And if you don’t eat during your hike you can take advantage of the numerous picnic tables that are situated throughout the reservation. I am really excited about getting out there in the fall when the leaves change colors.

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The gateway to my favorite hikes in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. The gateway to peace and tranquility!

Number Three-Bear Mountain

Located directly across the Hudson River from Anthony’s Nose, this hike has it all. Thigh numbing climbs, views up the Hudson, down the Hudson and all the way to NYC (if the weather permits).

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With the incredible amount of hikes in this area as well as thinking about the ones that I did this summer, it was difficult to pick my favorite ones. The ones that made my top three list were the ones that I have developed an affection for. Ones where I know I can go to recharge the batteries or just find some peace. They vary in length, but that isn’t the most important thing-keeping my peace of mind is.

Red->Green (27)

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

-Nhat Hanh

“Every path, every street in the world is your walking meditation path.”

-Nhat Hanh

It was another beautiful morning here in the Hudson Valley for hiking! When I started at 5:50 am, it was a pretty chilly 52 degrees with clear skies. What a great day to be out in the woods! Today’s hike was a decent one. I did my favorite Red Trail, came back around and then figured I would also do the Green Trail as well. Excellent hiking!

Since I am having some issues downloading pictures, today’s post will be photo free!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/28/17-9.1-151.82

My Dogs Are Barking!!!! (25)

“Holy crap my feet hurt.”

-MPD

I have been wanting to do a long(er) hike for a couple of weeks. With the exception of few hikes earlier in the summer, most of my excursions into the woods have averaged between 4-6 miles. As is usually the case, I know that physically it would not be an issue to do a longer hike, it always ends up being a mental one. Today, however, I really wanted to do at least ten miles.

I decided that I would hike the Red Trail twice with a little extra on a side trip on a connector trail. The trail was so nice, I had to do it twice! Storms had moved through last night so I anticipated the rocks on the trail being a little slick. Besides that, the humidity was pretty low and the temperature was around 65 degrees. Pretty decent hiking weather!

Back 20-25 years ago, hikes longer than 10 miles were not uncommon. At my advanced age of 52, however, I don’t want to do anything stupid to where I couldn’t hike due to an overuse injury. Since I really haven’t done any long hikes in some time, I thought today was the day!

Please forgive this first picture, but I was even a little shocked when I took my boots off and this is what I saw!

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My crusty feet after 11.5 miles.

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The first moment when I realized that it was daytime!

After hiking for about 3 miles, I thought it would be a good time to stop and eat some breakfast.

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After I finished the first loop, I took some time to change my socks and air out my feet. I also used this time to get my feet and mind psyched for the next loop.

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During the second loop, I almost stepped on this little guy. Luckily he didn’t run away until after I had snapped a couple of pictures.

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Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/23/17-11.5-136.62

The Red Trail (Repeat) (24)

“After a day’s walk, everything has twice its usual value.”

– G.M. Trevelyan

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.”

-Frank Herbert

Today (Monday 8/21/17) was much cooler than on Saturday went I ventured out into the woods. Barely 60 degrees, the humidity was much lower which made hiking more than enjoyable. Since Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is around 20 minutes from where I live, it seems to be my new “go to” place to get a hike in. I can get a good six miles done in about 2 hours, maybe a little longer (or shorter) depending on how fast I am hiking.

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The sky just before sunrise with some mist.

After hiking in peace with an ever brightening sky, I climbed a short incline, rounded a corner and was rewarded with this nice shot.

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Since I was hiking my new favorite loop in WPRR, I decided to head off on a connector trail that would leave the Red Trail on to a connector trail to the Orange Trail back on another connector where I would meet up again with the Red Trail. Here are some of the things that I saw:

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A small bridge coming down from a shelter on the Orange Trail.

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A Connector Trail leading from the Orange Trail back to the Red Trail.

Happy Hiking!!!

Summer 2017 Mileage:

8/21/17-6.1125.12