Tag Archives: westchester county ny

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

Silence & Solitude (Finally)

“True silence is the rest of the mind, and is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.”

-William Penn

“Keep silence for the most part, and speak only when you must, and then briefly.”

-Epictetus
I was back on the trail this morning at 5:47 am and it was outstanding! At 53 degrees, it was cool, but not to cool, and the sky was a perfect blue. What was even nicer, was the fact that I did not see one person. Not one. No one. The solitude that I had really missed on the last couple of hikes was back. And I loved it.

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Not a soul to be seen. Perfection!

This is why I love Ward Pound Ridge so much. It’s closer to home than most hikes, has great trails, and it offers (when I get out early enough), the one thing that I love, need and want. Solitude and silence. Those of you who hike know what I’m talking about. To hear and feel a cool breeze making its way through the trees provides an awesome mental reset.

Pretty soon the temps, even at this time of the morning will be in the 70’s and 80’s. On most mornings the breeze will be gone and the air will be still. But the one thing that will remain is the overwhelming quiet. And I’m ok with that.

 

HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #8-6/9/19-5.2-37.3

Back On The Brown

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

-John Muir

I know that I have used this quote before, but it speaks so much to why I hike. I don’t think I need to explain, the quote says it all.

We have been blessed with weather this weekend that has been just about as good as it can get. I didn’t get up at my usual five am this morning to hit the trail but instead waited until just about 11:30 am. With a starting temperature of just around 80 degrees, it was much warmer than I was used to, but also noticeably cooler once you got into the woods. A strong breeze was also blowing, making it seem even cooler.

Since I just did this hike the other day, I won’t bore you with the particulars of the hike except that I was moving much faster than the other day. I don’t what the deal was, but I felt much better than I did on Friday.

So instead, I took pictures of different areas of the Brown Trail to share with you.

At certain points, this trail runs parallel to a stream, which due to recent rainfall was still running quite strongly. In a few weeks, it will slow to a trickle if the rain stops falling.

 

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HAPPY HIKING!!!

2019 Mileage

Hike #6-5/26/19-5.3-28.1

 

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

Dreaming Of Summer Hikes

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“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

– Aristotle

As the days get warmer and the school year winds down, my thoughts are obviously on what hikes I will be doing this summer. As is the case every year, now is the time when I pull out the maps and figure out where I’m going to go. It satisfies my soul to sit down and look at my maps and then figure out the approximate mileage for each hike.

So what am I looking at right now? The best thing about living in the Hudson Valley here in NY is that we have some of the best hiking in the tri-state area (NY, NJ & CN). We have hikes that are easy as well as those that will put you on your rear end when you are done. Anyway you look at it, no matter where you hike in this area, you are guaranteed, yes, guaranteed fabulous views. Mind-blowing,  Timothy Leary like views.

One of my first stops, either during the Spring or early summer, will undoubtedly be Anthony’s Nose. Sitting almost directly over the Bear Mt. Bridge, the Nose has been a favorite for over twenty-five years. A short hike from South Mt. pass at a tad just under four miles, it offers an almost uphill climb that guarantees a nice downhill ride all the way back to your car (with the exception of one small uphill).

The only negative about this hike, and it has been this way for many, many years, are the crowds that inundate this hike on the weekends. Whenever I head to the Nose I usually head up pretty early in the morning or on a weekday so I can avoid the crowds. And when I say crowds, I mean swarms of human beings that literally suck the life out of any type of Zen experience that this beautiful place may have to offer.

Just a quick caveat-I know it sounds a little snobbish to expect a hike with a view like the Nose to be empty all of the time, but what the hell, sometimes I need that solitude to get my head straight.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

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