As I stepped onto the jet-bridge there was a blast of warmth and a flash of bright light – and then the cool shade of the air-conditioned tunnel. It was a hot summer day in Dallas. My ultimate destination was the mountains of California’s High Sierra, where I’d planned a three-week hike — but right now, the clock was ticking down to the departure of my next connection, and I needed to find the gate. Walk quickly, I told myself. Pay Attention!
Two days earlier, I’d met a college student for coffee. A friend of mine, her mentor, thought she’d benefit from my experience. Over cappuccinos we chatted about a number of things, including the concept of “balance.” The idea that a person could enjoy success at work and participate in other interests. And spend time with friends. And read books. She was young, so family wasn’t in the mix yet. In life there are a lot of and’s, I pointed out. If you want A and B and C, it’s up to you to figure out how. Continue reading “Pondering Clouds, Sparks, and Disney’s “Soul”” →
On December 31, 2020, I participated in the Hainesport Hundred and 24-hour Endurance Run, completing my goal of 50 miles. The run was notable for me: it was my 91st event of marathon distance or longer; it was my 6th barefoot marathon and 25th barefoot race and my longest-ever distance without shoes; and I ran this race without calories or fluid for the first 39 miles as a way to practice another dimension of endurance.
Before getting into my report, I need to give credit to race directors John Swanson and Vanessa Kline of Batona Trail Runs, who organized an excellent event: it was a perfect site for this kind of race, the aid station was well-stocked, the volunteers were enthusiastic, directions were clear, and given concerns about the lingering Covid pandemic, they managed to execute the event with reasonable social-distancing protocols that met the acceptance of local authorities.
The event took place in the town of Hainesport, New Jersey, and the course followed a 0.9913-mile loop through the local municipal park. This format requires a certain mindset, because there’s no distraction from changing scenery when you repeat the same loop 51 times (or 101 times for those going the full distance). In this report I aim to give you a sense as to what a loop-type experience is like — so come on with me, let’s go on a quick tour of Hainesport Municipal Park…
Continue reading “50 Miles at Hainesport” →
Is it just me, or is it getting more difficult waking up this time of year, now that it’s staying dark so much later?
The other day I dragged myself out of bed for my morning run. It was the normal time, but pitch black outside, and I felt low in energy. Unwilling to face cold pavement or the steep climb up the hill behind us, I decided to drive over to the nearby Shawangunk Grasslands…
Continue reading “A Romp in the Shawangunks” →
This is a guest post by Jessica Velez who participated in the 70-mile division of the 2019 SRT Run. I was at checkpoint #5 when she arrived with only a few minutes to spare, and based on her pace at that point I didn’t think she would make it to checkpoint #6, but she did, this time only seconds before the cut-off, strained, blistered, and sopping wet. Given the risks associated with rain, darkness, and cooling temperatures I offered her the option to drop here and get a ride to the finish, but she barely acknowledged me, instead got to work replacing the batteries in her headlamp, and then headed off into the dark, wet forests for the final 6-mile stretch, arriving at the finish in 29 hours and 49 seconds, and along the way demonstrating the values of determination, self-reliance, and endurance that we seek to celebrate with this event. — Ken.
Why did I do it? It wasn’t for fun, I wish I had the level of fitness where 70 miles would be fun. When I run marathons- they are fun, I socialize, take in the views, people watch- I actually have a lot of fun with marathons. I signed up for a 70, because as I finished my 50 miler at Rock the Ridge in 2017- I felt like I could have done more. I wanted to challenge myself and see if my body was capable of the “more”. Why did I choose the Shawangunk Ridge Trail (SRT) race specifically? Simply because it was local and scenic and priced extremely reasonable.
Continue reading “Jessica Velez: Reflections on my 70-miler” →
In Mammoth Lakes for one more night, I need time to plan my final hike on this western trip, a 16-miler in Yosemite National park. So this will be a rest day…
Continue reading “Bus to Devil’s Postpile” →
My four-week southwestern pilgrimage is drawing to a close, and what stands between my current location in Mammoth Lakes and the San Francisco airport is. . . . Yosemite National Park, John Muir’s temple of the wilderness, in which “every rock seems to glow with life.”
This is sacred ground, with 4.3 million visitors last year. This year, having just reopened after a month’s closure due to forest fires, no doubt the park will be thronged. What’s needed is a thoughtful plan: an infiltration route from a remote trailhead to a suitable vantage point overlooking the valley, sparing me the crowds below. A chance encounter with a friendly trail volunteer supplies me with exactly this: a 16-mile route from Porcupine Creek Trailhead to North Dome and the top of Yosemite Falls.
Continue reading “Setting Foot in Yosemite (for the very first time)” →
Notes on some of the other Catskills hikes that took place this month, with a special focus on views, birds, and battling the last remnants of snow and ice…
Continue reading “Finishing the April Grid” →
We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 Long Path Race Series! The Long Path is a 358-mile hiking trail that reaches from New York City to the outskirts of Albany, along the way traversing some of New York’s most beautiful parks and preserves, including the New Jersey Palisades, Harriman State Park, Schunemunk Mountain, the Shawangunks, the Catskills, the Schoharie Valley, and the Helderberg Escarpment. Created and maintained by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Long Path is a labor of love for some 250 volunteers.
Continue reading “Long Path Race Series: Announcing the 2017 Disciples of the Long Path” →
Henry David Thoreau, transcendentalist philosopher and author of Walden, wrote an essay on the colors of fall foliage. But what about the colors of winter? With this question in mind, I set the alarm for 5:30 AM and went to bed early. Tomorrow’s agenda would be to climb four of the Catskill high peaks with the goal of making progress toward the Catskill 3500 Club winter patch, as well as the Grid. And perhaps I’d see or learn something along the way that would help me better appreciate the winter mountain landscape.
Continue reading “Sights and Sounds of Winter” →
John Burroughs once wrote that to be an observer is to “find what you are not looking for.” With this thought in mind, I set off for a trail run in Minnewaska State Park Preserve a couple of weekends ago, with no particular goal but to cover some ground and open my eyes. Perhaps I’d observe something that I wouldn’t have even thought of looking for.
Continue reading “Light and Ice in Minnewaska” →