Tag Archives: Walking

Now It Feels Like Mid August

“Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”

– Albert Einstein

Wow…at 6:30 am this morning it was 71 degrees with humidity that could have chocked a cat. Since it was so humid, I knew that I was going to take it much slower than I usually do. And believe me, I’m pretty slow on a normal day!

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The trail heading into a curve.

Obviously, since it was so humid, I started sweating immediately. Every step that I took just meant more and more sweat covering me as the gnats circled my head and did their best to infiltrate the liquid defense system I had sprayed on myself prior to the start of the hike. Thankfully they proved to be more of a nuisance than anything else.

As they have been so many times in the past, the woods were almost perfectly silent with the exception of an occasional bird letting me know that I wasn’t alone. It was beautiful! The video below is a minute and five seconds of serenity. This is what it sounded like for the entire hike. You can’t ask for more than this.

On my way out of the woods, I did encounter a group of hikers. They struck me as kind of odd based on a few observations. First, not one of the group (10 people and 3 dogs) had a pack. Second, with the absence of packs was also the absence of water. And third, they were all dressed as if it was late October. The first thing that I thought was if they were wearing jeans and jackets and had no water, how could they hike for any distance? With the warm temperatures and high humidity, it could make for a potentially dangerous situation.

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I have no idea why I took a photo of my boots. I was sitting on a rock, taking a break when it struck me to just take a picture of my boots. Hmmm……

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #27-8/17/19-4.6-120.0

The Humidity Is Here To Stay

We are wind, we are wind
And we can’t hold on
Hold on to anything we see that’s gone
We’re gone in a heartbeat, fleeting, it’s gone
We are wind, we are wind
We crumble into nothing, we are wind
Two parts me, folded together
For one brief moment everything fits
The sun

-Trey Anastasio

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A shelter not too far from the start of the trail. You could easily bring small children for an overnight at this shelter.

Today was an interesting day at Ward Pound Ridge. I did a really nice 4.3-mile loop and I actually saw two people trail running. I almost never see anyone when I’m out hiking early in the morning but today I saw two people. That is almost unheard of! The first guy would have scared the hell out of me but he had the common courtesy to yell, “good morning” when he was about 20 yards behind me. Good thing that he did because I was in a good rhythm and had no idea he was there.

The news said last night that it was supposed to be less humid this morning than it has been. I really didn’t find that to be the truth and ended up sweating like it was going out of style. With that said, it was still nice enough out and the promise is that the humidity is going to stay with us for the next three or four days. I can’t wait.

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A connector trail on today’s loop. 

So even with the promise of really high humidity in the morning, I’m already planning tomorrows hike. If you have noticed, I have kept the hikes at just around four to four and a half miles. I think it would be a good idea to keep it at that for a little while longer.

When the weather gets cooler I’ll probably think about some longer hikes but with the weather the way it is, hydration has to be my main concern. Gatorade Zero before, during and after the hike as well as 96 ounces of water. Of course, then the rest of the day will be spent getting rehydrated.

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One of the more interesting rock formations on the hike,. 

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #26-8/15/19-4.3-115.4

Back On My Feet, Again

“Never let a stumble in the road be the end of the journey.”

“Injuries are our best teachers.”

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The view at the start of the hike an hour later than usual.

Being injured sucks. Not being able to hike sucks. Even if it’s only for a few days. Last year I couldn’t hike for half of the year because of the surgery on my ankle, and over the course of the last couple of weeks, my left knee has been bothering me. Bothering me to the point where I haven’t been able to hike or ride the stationary bike.

Is my injury a result of getting older? Overuse? Could it be genetic? I know that many in my family have bad knees and maybe it’s now my turn. I certainly hope not. Some of my family members can’t walk a straight line these days. The fact that I have been very, very careful with what I have been doing the last few months has me thinking really hard about what could have caused it. With that said, the bottom line is I need to get back out into the woods.

I am going stir crazy. Utterly crazy.  If you follow my blog, you know that hiking is my refuge, the thing that I do when I need to think or blow off steam. When I can’t hike, I get really cranky.  As it stands right now, I am in super cranky mode.

So today to I headed out into my sanctuary to see how the knee feels.

I actually picked a decent day to head back out. I ended up starting about an hour later than I am used to, but that’s ok. When I got up at 5, there was no way I could get out of bed so I waited until 5:30 and pretty much walked out the door. When I got to Ward Pound Ridge, it was a crisp 59 degrees with a slight breeze. This is not typical weather in our area for mid-August. At this time of year, we are usually looking at a great deal of heat and humidity, even at 5 or 6 am.

Needless to say, my knee didn’t feel that bad. I did make sure to keep the pace relatively slow and I avoided any rocks that looked sketchy. I know that sounds kind of wimpy, but I didn’t want to hurt myself anymore than I already was (or had been).

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More huge rocks at Ward Pound Ridge.

The picture below represents parts of the Leatherman’s Loop. As with most of the trails at Ward Pound Ridge, they are made of soft earth and tend to be rolling rather than steep ups and downs.

Overall I would call this hike a success. It was nice out and even though I started later than I have been, I didn’t see a single person. Pure bliss!!!!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #25-8/12/19-4.5-111.1

Heat And Humidity Be Damned

“You can make a step and touch the earth in such a way that you establish yourself in the present moment, and you will arrive in the here and the now. You don’t need to make any effort at all. Your foot touches the earth mindfully, fully, and you arrive firmly in the here and the now. And suddenly you are free-free from all projects, all worries, all expectations. You are fully present, fully alive, and you are touching the earth.”

***A quick note-When I arrived Ward Pound Ridge this morning, the sun was just rising and it looked magnificent. So I pulled over and went to take my camera out to get a photo and of course I had left it at home. Needless to say, this post will not have any photos.

And just like that, the humidity is back. I decided once again to hold off on hiking yesterday because of the heat and humidity, a wise choice by my estimation. But today I did get out, humidity be damned. As I fully expected, the bugs were insane, even with bug spray. Listening to them buzz and watching them dive bomb me brought back many fond memories.

But that’s ok. I have said in the last couple of weeks that the only thing that I could hear on my hikes have been my hiking sticks and boots hitting the earth. Despite sweating from the very start of the hike, the simple fact that I was out hiking was awesome.

Since the humidity was as high as it was (at 5:15 am), I took more water than I usually would and also had an extra Gatorade to keep myself hydrated. Even as I sit here writing this post, I am drinking a nice cold bottle of water.

I can’t think of anything else I would rather have been doing this morning or even at this moment.

The quote above talks about being in the “here and now.” As I make my way around the various loops in Ward Pound Ridge, I try to focus on everything that is going on around me. Unfortunately, the last couple of hikes have had a glaring absence in the number of chipmunks, squirrels, and birds. Although they do provide an excellent distraction as I hike, the silence is beautiful, especially when I take breaks.

Hiking provides a cleansing of the mind, a mental enema if you will. Be in the moment, no matter how long or short it may be. It is your moment, your time to not be burdened with the pressures of your life. Enjoy the solitude and the silence.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #24-7/31/19-4.0-106.6

 

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!!!

Camino Continued…

camino

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!!!