Friday, December 21, 2007

A Green Christmas

I found a great website that I wanted to share today. For anyone celebrating the season this year, enjoy a green Christmas with the help of . You will find green holiday tips as well as how to treecycle.
Read the blog entry by Nyree Ambarchian on 20 Tips for a Sustainable Christmas here:

Remember, the Earth belongs to no one, but is shared by all, please Tread Lightly!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Year's Resolution

I believe in recycling as much as possible. Yesterday as I gathered my bags of bottles and cans, I noticed that I had more than my share of empty water bottles. It didn't take long for me to make a connection between the empty bottles and the rarely used Brita water pitcher in my refrigerator. How many times have I read of the companies admitting to using tap water to fill these bottles? How can an otherwise frugal person throw away almost $2 on something that is already in my frig?
While I sometimes fill my polycarbonate bottle with water and bring to work, I haven't been using it as much lately as I use to. Aside from just being lazy, growing concern over the plastic leaching into the water has surfaced everywhere on the web.
So I decided, right then and there, that my public New Year's resolution would be to NOT buy bottled water in 2008.
Because of the concern over polycarbonate, I ordered a stainless steel water bottle today online. I will fill that everyday for use at work, home, or on the trail.
Aside from saving a lot of money, the landfills will see less of my footprint in 2008 and beyond.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Although the weather was uncertain today, I ventured out with my partners in crime, Tool and Law and Order. The weather was not that bad, a little on the cold side, but at least the rain held out. Because there was no plan, I didn't have my hiking boots, my pack, or my lucky hat (perfect setting for a disaster).

We poked around for a while on Iona Island. First we walked the road down to the eagle sanctuary, but of course, it was closed. Then we searched high and low for trouble but couldn't find any (I couldn't even get Law & Order to press her head onto the train track to feel if a train was coming). On the way back, we couldn't resist climbing a rock structure, but all we found was a lot of leaves and moss (my arch-enemy!).

Right before getting back into the car, I heard the sound of running water. As my faithful sidekicks stayed in the car (they're not crazy), I followed the sound. Low and behold, at the side of 9W, next to the Bear Mountain access road, was a small waterfall. Luring my friends back out of the car (thankfully it didn't take much because I didn't have my pack, hence no turkey jerky to use as bait), we followed the trail next to the falls and found Doodletown.

For those who are unfamiliar with Doodletown, it is the ruin of a once standing town. It was the last piece of land acquired by the Palisades Interstate Park Commission as it formed Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park. One by one, the Commission offered the families dwelling on the land fair market value for their homes if they agreed to sell and move. In 1965, the town's 200 year existence ceased as the final property was purchased.

Because of the time, we did not venture far. We followed the blue-blazed trail to the right which brought us to an inclined path leading past the foundations of former homes. Through the trees we spied a larger waterfall and headed back down the path out to 9W and crossed the brook. We hiked up a trail on the left side of the brook this time, up to a colorfully painted "Peace" rock. Here we paused for a picture opportunity (Well, I didn't, unprepared with no camera. Also, unlike everyone else in America, I do not own a camera phone). After, we turned around and headed home.

What we didn't know is that if we had continued along the original path (blue-blazed trail), we would have hiked to the old Doodletown Mines, crossed the 1777 Trail and passed the Edison Mine (yep, owned by Thomas A. Edison and used for his experimental magnetic ore separation technique).

Oh, well, it will keep for another day. Next time, I will be prepared and take some pictures.

Hiking Blogs

I'd like to thank Jaime at Hiking Blogs for adding this blog to the site.
Hiking Blogs keeps track of fellow hikers, backpackers and trail runners both in the United State and around the world.
Please visit at:

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dear Santa

For those who celebrate the upcoming holidays, it is sometimes hard to think of a meaningful gift for the die hard hikers on your list. This season, give the gift that will last for a year:

  • These guys are looking out for the trees we hike under, a year membership says you love someone and the trees that keep them safe on the trails.

  • Education is the key in the balance between enjoying the outdoors and protecting the land. A $25 gift membership will help get the word out at

  • "Leave No Trace" are words to live by while hiking the trails. Help spread the word with a gift membership starting at $15 at

  • Bring America together by helping to create an urban trail linking Maine to Florida with a membership to

Winter Hiking

Okay, you caught me, that picture wasn't taken in the Northeast! Actually, that's from my trip to Alaska. But I couldn't resist, the first snowfall today reminded me of that vacation.

Before we left I was sure to watch the weather for the area. All reports were a firm 70 degrees, so onward I went. I did not take into account the temperature difference between land and sea, almost 30 degrees! Those who know me, remember that I packed shorts! My credit card company laughed all the way to the bank after I charged a winter wardrobe and rain parka (who knew it rained so much there! okay, yes, we were scheduled to visit the rain forest, but still...). Live and learn as always.

So, as I stayed indoors today watching the snow fall, I began to think of preparing for winter hiking (after Alaska I have learned to prepare for everything!). Here are some simple tips and reminders for when you go out this season:

  • Lower your expectations of the hike by 1/2. If you normally hike 6 miles in the summer, expect to only cover 3 miles during the winter.
  • Double your time expectations. That trail in the summer may be "a walk in the park" for an hour, but expect it to take up to 2 hours during the snow season.
  • Dress in layers, but not cotton! Make sure your outer layer is wind/waterproof.
  • Insulated boots with a waterproof exterior are a must.
  • In order to keep your feet warm, keep your head covered. How many times have we heard that? Well, it's true.
  • Pack extra gloves and liners for when your first pair gets wet. Also, for long hikes, chemical heat packs last hours.
  • A "just in case", even for short hikes, is extra socks zip locked in your pack.
  • To keep a water bottle from freezing in your pack, tuck it into a wool sock.
  • Bring along a thermos of any hot beverage for when you need a quick warm up.
  • Consider snacking while you hike versus stopping to eat lunch.
  • Add a flavor pack to your water, it will take longer to freeze than just water.
  • Careful where you sit! A frozen ground will suck the warmth right out of you.
  • Crampons will help you maneuver over snow and ice. Most can be found for about $20.
  • Dig out your walking sticks! Aside from helping you keep balance, they can also be used to test ground in front of you when walking.
  • Adjust your layers as you're hiking. Take off a layer as you get hot. Too much moisture will make you cold as it evaporates. But, if you stop for a rest, make sure you re-apply the layer before you cool off too much.
  • Carry a pack. Take it from me, it's better to let the pack take the impact of a fall than your butt or back!