Back to the Daks

The weekend of August 13-14, I returned to the Adirondack Mountains, New York’s “High Peaks,” for the first time in almost twenty years, thanks to an invitation from my friend Dave.  It would be interesting to compare and contrast the Adirondacks with the Catskills, where I’ve spent a lot of time hiking and running in the last couple of years, and fun to catch up with Dave and meet his companions on this trip.

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Back to the Daks

Devil’s Path Double

On the drive up to the Catskills, the rising sun was hidden behind a wall of murky fog, but its rays reached out from behind and scattered across the sky, brushing the undersides of clouds with the color and texture of beaten copper.

My mission this morning was to take on the Devil’s Path, one of the most notorious hiking trails in the country — and not just once, but twice.  This meant a total distance of 48 miles and something like 28,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain.  The purpose was to whip myself into shape for an upcoming solo run in the Catskills, as well as experience the Devil’s Path in its entirety, something I had never done before.

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Devil’s Path Double

Field Trip to Willowemoc Wild Forest

Hiking with Catskills forest authority Mike Kudish is a great way to learn to identify trees, shrubs, ferns, and mosses and understand the history of the forests.  Last fall I accompanied Mike up the backside of Graham Mountain in his ongoing project to map the Catskills’ first growth forests, those regions that have never been disturbed by human activities like logging or farming.  We met again recently, together with my wife, Sue, and Odie the Labradoodle, to explore the Willowemoc Wild Forest, once again with the mission of mapping first growth.

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Field Trip to Willowemoc Wild Forest

Askeisis in the Catskills

This is a revised version of an earlier post in which I described an adventure in the Catskills undertaken in part as an experiment in “askeisis,” the ancient Greek concept of physical and spiritual training.  The revised version was published Saturday in Stoicism Today, a blog sponsored by University of Exeter on the topic of ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophy applied to modern living.

To read the post, click here:

stoicism today

Askeisis in the Catskills

Wandering Through the Laurel

Anyone who’s spent time wandering in the Shawangunks during springtime has witnessed the mountain-laurel in bloom.  But now that it was late June, the laurel flowers would have already come and gone, or so I thought as I headed out to cross the ridge…

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Mountain-laurel flower buds

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Wandering Through the Laurel

Visions of the Gunks

In a post last fall, I shared a photograph taken from the summit of Twin Mountain and made the point that after years of admiring the Catskills from the vantage of the Shawangunks, I had for the first time made the reverse connection.

Last weekend I returned to Twin Mountain, but this time with my friend Steve Aaron, who is a talented landscape photographer.  And this time I saw something new….

Mohonk View From Indian Head (1 of 1)

Northern Shawangunks, seen from Twin Mountain in the Catskills.  Photo:  Steve Aaron Photography

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Visions of the Gunks

Training for Life

Reproduced with permission from the author, Lorraine Anderson, here is a recent social media post that caught my eye:

So I’m hiking in the woods, loving the serenity and alone time with nature, and all of a sudden comes running a super fast runner up the mountain I was going down. It was a man wearing only a black pair of shorts. He was really super fast and quiet, if it wasn’t for the leaves underfoot , I wouldn’t have heard anything, no heavy breathing, light on his feet, I cheer him on as he approaches I say ‘way to go, you’re doing great! He smiles and says yesterday I ran up here carrying a rock. I said, Omgoogness! That’s awesome! What are you training for I ask. He says ‘life’ with a big smile. I said I love it that’s the best

Lorraine
Credit:  Lorraine Anderson, feelfitforever

Note:  Carrying rocks uphill was a training method popular among Yurok Indians of northwest California.

You can follow Lorraine’s blog feelfitforever on wordpress.com — I particularly enjoyed a recent post in which she recalled her childhood love for nature.

Training for Life