Tag Archives: westchester county ny

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

The Day Of The Gnat

“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

I didn’t think it was possible, but I found something much worse than horseflies. Much worse than the loud buzzing and divebomb attacks that always go with them. What am I talking about? Gnats. Teeny tiny little gnats that seem to travel in very large packs and then search out every available orifice to annoy, annoy and annoy again and again.

For the entirety of my hike today, these gnats swarmed around my head and never gave up in their quest to harass and annoy me. First in my eyes, and then my nose. No amount of bug spray could deter them. I felt horribly invaded.

Despite that, my motto remains the same, any hike is better than no hike at all. However, these tiny minions of Satan did push me to the limit. Wow…..

A connector trail on the left and the red trail on the right.

Photos of the trail and the woods.

I did pass this lovely little swampy area which multiplied the number gnats tenfold. Good times!

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Swampland

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A nice quiet area along the trail.

 

One of the main reasons that I took this trail was to see how the bees nest was doing. This is the rebuilt bees nest two days after my last hike. I do have to warn you if you get to close to the nest, the bees tend to get a little irritated (sarcasm intended).

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Today was a little slow going as compared to the other day. I don’t know what was going on but I just felt sluggish. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

HAPPY HIKING!!!

Hike #23-7/28/19-4.0-102.6

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

Bronchial Pneumonia??? More Summer Fun

“The greatest wealth is health.”

-Anonymous

“Going to the woods is going home.”

-John Muir 

Even though I have been hiking pretty regularly over the course of the last several weeks, I have had a nagging cough that has produced abnormally (in my opinion) large amounts of phlegm. I really haven’t felt bad but the cough and the phlegm had me worried.

So after delaying the inevitable for a couple of weeks, I bit the bullet and went to my doctor. At first, I was only expecting to hear that I had a cold and that I should just take it easy to give it time to clear up. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear that I had Bronchial Pneumonia. In the middle of the summer?? Who has ever heard of such a thing? If it was January and they told me that I would have been able to accept it better than the first week of July!!!

And since I had been coughing so hard, I pulled a muscle in my chest, which was more painful than when I actually cracked a rib coughing. So I haven’t been hiking since Friday and that has me bummed out. I have, however, been riding my stationary bike which has given me some peace of mind.

So here I sit, waiting to go out into the woods again. I believe tomorrow may be the day.

GOOD HEALTH TO YOU AND HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

Independence Day!!!

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” 
― Henry David Thoreau

No hike today. Summer break for me started a week ago and it’s rolling along quite nicely. I have to admit that so far this is a vast improvement over last summer when I was confined to my couch for two months. Two very long months. However, I did have an excellent orange cast. You can’t beat that with a stick.

But this year, I’m paying a great deal more attention to my surroundings when I hike. So far I have been averaging about 4 1/2 miles when I do get out and that’s ok. Because I’m out so early, I rarely run into other people, and when I do, it’s usually a brief hello and both of us are on our way.  Some folks may take issue with that, but that’s ok. I enjoy the solitude as well as the peace and quiet.

So my suggestion to everyone out there is to get out early and get out often. Find a rock that you can either sit on or lay down and just take it all in.

Nobody’s going to tell you to move.

HAPPY HIKING!!!

 

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