Tag Archives: winter hiking

Getting Ready To Hike Again

jack freezing

Last weekend the first Hudson Valley saw its first snow storm for the New Year. (I’m still leary after the summer mishap, misstep, or whatever you want to call it!) So for the time being, I’ll do what I normally do during these bleak winter days. I’ll start getting ready for the time when I can get back out into the woods.

What exactly does that mean? First, I’ll get on my stationary bike and just ride, ride and ride some more. Regardless of what is said, I find the stationary bike to be an excellent way to get ready for the many hikes that await me.

Next, I take inventory of what I have and what I need.  I find that this is the best time to make some decisions if I need to in order to get my gear straight.

First I start at my head and work my way down. For instance, I have a wool cap that will certainly come in handy during the winter, but also in the early spring when the air is still chilly, especially when you stop for a water break or lunch, it will be useful. Since I just got one of those just a few months ago, I won’t have to replace that.

Moving down, I will almost always wear a t-shirt and a flannel jacket in early to middle spring. Since I tend to run a little hot when I am hiking, this almost always makes it way back into my back at some point during the hike.

For my hands, I never have worn gloves. I sweat way to much and they become very uncomfortable  when I am using my trekking poles.

Now for my legs. If it is at all possible, I will wear shorts throughout the year. If it does prove to be to cold for shorts, a pair of sweatpants will do with the shorts underneath. This way I can take them on and off as needed. I’m pretty old school with my clothing. It’s usually cotton or nothing at all.

Now one place I have a drastic change is in my socks. For just under thirty years I have worn cotton socks. Obviously I think you can guess the number of blisters that I have gotten over the years. If not blisters, then definitely hot spots. I think that those are worse than actual blisters.

On a hike a couple of years ago my friend asked me why I didn’t wear Merino Wool socks. I told him flat out that I thought it was crazy to spend that much money on a pair of socks. What an idiot! From the first day of putting on a pair of wool socks I have been a believer. Not one hot spot, not one blister, the feeling is amazing! The only thing that I do every year is check them out for wear and tear. If I need new ones, I will buy them.

Also on my feet let’s take a look at my boots. I have always preferred a pair of heavier boots, even for day hiking. Right now I have a pair of Vasque St. Elias GTX hiking boots that I have now used for three seasons (2 pairs). I have to make a confession here. I thought that the heavier boot and the stiff ankle support would have prevented what happened to me last summer. I gambled and lost that bet! However, I will continue to use them because I love Vasque boots. They are comfortable, sturdy and come in wide sizes. Everything that I need and want in a boot.

I do use Trekking Poles but one of the Black Diamond poles that I use snapped during my fall last summer. They have been replaced and I am saving that for a review at a later time.

So after surviving a weekend with temperatures in the negative numbers and current ones in the high teens to low twenties, I am ready to keep preparing for that inevitable first beautiful day of spring (or winter) where I can just head out and hike!!!

Look for later  posts on my trekking poles and my daypack.


A Hike Before The Rain

When I checked the weather this morning, it said a high in the 50’s with rain after 5pm. At the start of the hike it was 46 degrees and mostly sunny. As I made my way through the park, it got cloudier and cloudier, with rain falling on me for the last 25 minutes.

With that said, it was still a beautiful hike for the 24th of February. It could have easily been 20-25 degrees colder with some type of frozen precipitation either falling or on the ground.


The parking lot at the start of the hike.


The entrance to Nirvana!


During the summer this stream was dry, even after rain storms.


A shot of some trees and the blue sky.


My favorite picture of the day!

Happy Hiking!!!

Hike #2-5.0-9.2

I Didn’t Freeze!!!!

“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

-Sir Ranulph Fiennes

With the weather getting really, really cold (single digits), I knew that if I was planning on getting out to hike anytime soon, I would have to upgrade my current gloves. For as long as I can remember, I have used white athletic socks on the days that I have had to wear gloves. I know that sounds strange, and I can not offer any good reason as to why I have done this for so long. This year, however, I decided to get a decent pair of gloves for a couple of reasons.

First, I have found that as I get older, the cold affects me more than in the past. I tend to get colder quicker and I lose feeling in my extremities Second, also sticking with the “getting older” theme, even when I go out for a day hike I make sure that I am prepared to spend the night in the woods if something happens. This holds true for every hike that I take during every season.

With all of that said, let’s talk about the gloves. The gloves that I purchased were the REI Co-Op Fleece Gloves, size large. Before I ordered them, I used the sizing chart on the REI website to determine what size I should get. After receiving them, I tried them on and was very happy when they fit perfectly.

The hat I purchased to complete the ensemble was the Wigwam Outlast Watch cap. As with the gloves, the hat fit perfectly. Made of fabric that is touted to dry quickly, I am sure that at some point I will be able to test this.

Now, even though I have not worn either of these items while hiking, I was able to test them last night. My daughter had hockey practice last night. While she is practicing, I usually sit in my jeep and read my kindle. When we got to the rink at 7:30 pm, the temperature was 11 degrees and the wind was blowing. Needless to say, it was cold!!!

As I sat in the jeep with my gloves and hat on, I fell asleep, only to be awakened an hour and a half later when the practice was finished. Based on the fact that the only part of me that was remotely cold were my feet, I have to give both items two big thumbs up! My head and hands were nice and toasty and I am sure that when I get into the woods, they will work just as well.

Happy Hiking!

Is Winter Over Yet?

“O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

I hate to admit it, but the winter has already worn out its welcome. Although I love the colder days and lots of snow, it is a serious buzz kill whenever I even try to think about getting out into the woods. With only two hours of daylight left when I leave my school for the day, it is next to impossible to get to any trail in the area and get any type of hike in before the sun sets. This doesn’t really sit well with me. I guess I’m getting a case of modified cabin fever.

For the last few weeks I haven’t really been able to get out that much. Gone are the days of the summer when the hiking was easy. I could hike all day and not have to worry about losing precious daylight. Days when you could stop and take a breather for any amount of time and not have to worry about freezing to death have certainly gone by the wayside.

As a result, I am forced to be inside a whole lot more than I would like to be. At work and at home, the winter months mean that I will spend more time wishing that I could hike than I do actually hiking. So every night almost as soon as I get home, I pull the stationary bike out, move it in front of the tv and I ride. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that although the bike is excellent cardio training, it in no way can replace being out in the woods. The fresh air, listening to the sound of my breath as I push up hills and crossing the paths of like minded folks is beyond description.

Getting out into the woods is, hands down, the best way to dispose of the mental garbage we all carry. A nice mental enema…



The First Hike Of 2017!

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

“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

It’s been awhile since I was able to get out for a hike on the last day of the old year and the first day of the new. Since both days were beautiful, I really had no excuse  not to get out into the woods. Sunday January 1st was  a clear crisp day in the low to mid 40’s. Compared to my hike on 12/31, the trail here was not covered with ice, which made it much easier to get around.

Starting on a side road just north of the Appalachian Market at the split of Route 9 and 403, we hiked back south on Route 403  for a few hundred yards where the AT crosses the highway and the goes south.


The AT moving steadily uphill. The picture was taken about 1 mile from where it crosses Route 9.


Looking back down th AT.

Once you get to the top of the hill after a steady 1.5 mile climb, make a left on the AT and proceed south on the now white marked AT and blue blazed Osborne Loop Trail. About 200 yards farther south, you will see a well worn trail off to the right. This leads to lookout over the Hudson.


The Hudson River looking south.


The Hudson River looking north.

After spending some time at the view point, we got back on the trail and headed north on the AT/Osborne Loop back to where the AT heads north and the Osborne Loop continues moving downhill. After another mile, the Osborne Loop tuns left and keeps heading downhill. After walking for five minutes you come upon this wooden gazebo. It has been there for many years and was restored in 1996.



The Osborne Loop headed towards Sugarloaf. Notice the gazebo on the right.


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The ceiling of the gazebo.


Photo taken from the gazebo.


After you spend some time at the gazebo, keep heading down the trail, you will see red blazes marking the Sugarloaf Hill trail. Make the left onto this trail and head steadily uphill. The trail here is pretty difficult but the climb is worth it.


As you look south on the Hudson, you can see Anthony’s Nose on the left.




After descending the hill, you will go back the way you came on the blue trail for a short period of time. Instead of turning right and heading back uphill on the blue trail, you will continue on the yellow blazed carriage connector trail. You will stay on this trail until it intersects with the AT. Follow the AT out to Route 9 and you are finished!


The rest of the photos here and below were taken on the yellow blazed carriage connector trail.



Needless to say this was a great way to start not only the calendar year, but the hiking new year as well! Six and half miles with a couple of pretty intense climbs and some great views make it al worthwhile!

Happy hiking everyone!!!



A New Years Special

“Days of high temperature are almost disposable. Time gets pureed in the swelter of it all. Cold-weather hours drags, days and nights become small epics. I welcome the bleakness!”

~Henry Rollins

“While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.”

-Tom Allen

“Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.”

-Anamika Mishra

The last hike of 2016!!!! Since it was already 2:30 by the time I got to the trailhead, I decided to go ahead and do the quick loop in Fahnestock State Park.The loop ensured that I would get a good work out and more importantly, that I would be out of the woods before it got dark.

As soon as I came down off of Route 301, the sound of cars passing quickly disappeared and I was quickly embraced by the silence of the woods. I was lucky enough to be alone in my endeavor and I relished every minute I was out there. The sound of my hiking poles mixed with the crunch of the ice under my boots made for an interesting soundtrack as I made my way through the woods.

Although it was cold and the wind was blowing, the solitude was bliss!

Enjoy the photos!!!















Happy New Year and Happy Hiking in 2017!

A Winter Hike to the Nose

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.”

-Paul Theroux

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter.”

-John Burroughs

“Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.”

-Pietro Aretino

You know it’s going to be a good hike when your long time hiking buddy shows up at the trail head and after a good twelve hours of snow, freezing rain and rain, it all just stops! Ten minutes later the sun is out. You couldn’t ask for anything better.

Yes, I headed back up to Anthony’s Nose on a day that started off slushy, icy and nasty. As I looked up the trail, I have to admit that I was a little worried noticing that it was all a sheet of ice. With that said, after about 200 yards, the trail became more slushy which made it much more manageable.


12/24/16-The start of the climb to Anthony’s Nose. 


12/24/16-A quick 180 degree turn from the picture above looking back towards the start.

Since I have not been up to the Nose this late in December for a couple of years, I really forgot about how the views drastically change now that the trees are bare. You get an entirely different perspective on winter hiking.


12/24/16-A view you would never get during the summer!


12/24/16-The Nose in the distance as seen from the Appalachian Trail. This is the only time of year you get this view of the Nose.


Once I got to the top I was pleasantly surprised with the awesome views that were waiting. for me! The difference between pictures during the summer and now are incredible. Once again, this is why I love this hike!


12/24/16-Iona Island to the lower left and Bear Mt. to the right.


Dunderberg Mt.


Bear Mt. and the Bear Mt. bridge to the right.







Bear Mt. 


Another viewpoint, just off of the Nose looking North towards West Point.


Sugarloaf as seen from the alternate viewpoint.


A tighter view looking North on the Hudson.


A small pond, now frozen, that you see on the way up and down from th Nose.

As always, any hike to the Nose is a good one. If you want to, go back to my posts in July and August to get a good look at the differences in the terrain depending on the season.

Happy Hiking!!!