Hello?? Anyone there?

 

I have been off my Blogging game over the last few weeks.  The good news is that I have been strong on my Training.  For the next several months I am going to focus this blog on the Training for my Tough Mudder event in June.  I will still be mixing in various people and trying different things to keep my attention, but I have some core training that needs to be done consistently.

I have been pushing it at the track in an effort to get myself ready.  I have increased my laps and I am sprinting the bleachers each lap.  Right now I am up to 4 laps and sprints, which combined with my walk to and from the track, equals about 2 miles.  As I said before, I will also be mixing in strength and flexibility work around that.  This week I did all that and mixed in some Home gym work according to my original plan.  I will continue that.

That’s all for now!

 

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Training Log and other Fun

I fought of the deep desire to stay in bed on this Cold and dreary day and went out for a Training session at the local High School.  The school renovated their fields over the summer and has been inaccessible for months.  I headed over there this morning hoping that it would be open and it was!  I did 2 laps and 2.5 sets of bleachers and then I did the perimeter. I believe the total is about 2 miles but the bleachers make it worth while as a training substitute.  More importantly, I battled the chattering monkeys in my head and won.  Those fuckers had me staying in bed and were feeding me lots of great reasons to NOT go out and get the blood flowing.  I beat them.  Bastards. That’s a win.

Since the last time I wrote, I have done a bunch of different things that add to my health and mental well being.  Yesterday I took a Urban/Suburban hike around Huntington Village.  I went up and down the hills on the south side of town.  I went by the historic Cemetery in Town.  Huntington has a great history all the way back to the Revolutionary War and beyond.  We often forget about the rich history all around us.  This little detour was a great reminder.  I Took some photos and then I worked my way over to Hecksher Park by way of Main St., after a stop at the bank.  I walked around the Pond and sat for awhile, writing and observing Geese and stressed out soccer Moms in their natural habitat.  I walked around a bit more and headed back to get my car.  All in all, from a health and training perspective, it was great.  I walked about 4 miles on varied terrain and hills.  That will do.

Prior to yesterday, I have done an incredible Community service event that myself and a few other Men planned.  That was a powerful event and definitely fits in to the category of maintaining mental fitness.  I also hiked with my friend Amanda and her Dog Jackson.  We went to Makamah, my new favorite place and hiked for about an hour.  Jackson was loving it and the human escorts enjoyed it as well.  Good hike, good chat, great way to start the day.  I capped the day with a trip to the Nassau County Rifle and Pistol range with two of my oldest friends.  We killed some paper targets and had some laughs.  Again, this is mental fitness type of stuff.  Being with these Men, shooting guns and enjoying life is pretty high on the list of healthy activities.

You would think that being a bachelor for 10 days would lead to all sorts of Coke and Hookers, football watching and butt scratching.  Nope. I am cool with hiking, being in the woods and shooting guns.  Maybe the occasional Taco.  I miss my wife and Baby tremendously, especially in the morning.  The house is too empty.  I am filling the time with good things and that pesky work stuff but I cannot wait for them to be home.

Many pics below.  enjoy!

 

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Sneaky People, Hills, Dutch Innkeepers and Suspension Bridges.

SO much to say.  Not sure where to start.  I can say this, I have never been so surprised or out of my comfort zone before and it was a great exercise for me.  Erin told me to not make plans for Monday or Tuesday and gave me no further details.  When Monday arrived, I still had NO clue what we were doing except that I was to dress for a hike.  I did that.  We got in the car and started driving.  I still had no idea where we were headed.  Not east, not west.  Didn’t know what roads we were going to take to get wherever we were going.  For those that know me, you know that this is the most uncomfortable situation I could ever be in!!  About an hour into the trip, I settled into the lack of control and decided to trust in my Wife and Navigator, Erin.  This required a LOT of internal dialogue and discomfort.  Suddenly, with some twists and turns, we were in Northwest Connecticut at a place called Steep Rock Preserve.  This was our final destination…or was it?

We hiked into the park on a Horseback trail that meandered alongside a lazy river.  Very nice and simple trail that was more of a road and not much of a challenge  but was beautiful nonetheless. This area was originally purchased from a lumber company in 1889 by Ehrick Rossiter, a local Architect, in order to save it from being clear-cut for timber.  Mr. Rossiter subsequently donated the land to a Trust and with many other land owners adding to that donation, the trust now operates over 2700 acres of Public use land.  The trail we were on was originally an access road along the flats of the river.  We came upon a fairly new and very cool suspension bridge across the river.  After some obligatory selfies and some photo ops, we moved on to the other side.  I love random art, in odd plces and we got some of that before heading into what turned out to be a solid 45 minute uphill hike to the summit.  This was quite a challenge.  Both Erin and Myself could be in better hiking shape and this hike was a slap in the face reminder of that fact!  The summit was beautiful and we were greeted with a Hawk soaring at eye level on some thermals coming up the cliffs we were on top of.  Outstanding view from up there and definitely worth the

The summit was beautiful and we were greeted with a Hawk soaring at eye level on some thermals coming up the cliffs we were on top of.  Outstanding view from up there and definitely worth the huffing and puffing to get there.  The trek back down was sketchy and took a while, as the trail narrowed and was washed out and steep in many spots.  After some careful navigation and use of our hiking sticks, we made it back down to the other side of the mountain.  We continued along the trail and eventually ended up back at the car.  We were tired and potentially sore but exhilarated by the great hike and the peacefulness of being in the woods.

We left the Hiking area and traveled a few miles to the thriving metropolis of Washington Depot CT.  Home to massive Hollywood productions and Fan Festivals.  After some coffee and local color, we headed out of town to take a Tour of a nearby mansion.  LIES!!!  This mansion tour, this pack of lies and deception, this malarkey was, in reality, an unbelievably beautiful Bed and Breakfast that my amazing wife had booked for us to stay in for a Mini Vacation!!!  I won’t get into all the details of the surprise and my stupidity, but I will say that this was one of the greatest things anyone has ever done for me.  We had a lovely afternoon, followed by a great dinner and some much needed sleep.

The next morning I ventured out in search of Coffee and a tour of the countryside.  I did both and then headed back to the B&B for a delicious breakfast prepared for us by the innkeeper Regine.  We the set out on another hike, at a different location.  The preserve we ended up at was very close to the B&B and was a great local spot with some challenging, moderate trails.  We took a quick hike that ended up being about 2 hours and looped around this awesome preserve.  This section is known as the Hidden Valley Preserve and is a part of the Steep Rock Association land trust.  It was a great place and super close.

As far as exercise and activity is concerned, these 2 days of hiking were absolutely great.  A perfect combination of moderate and strenuous hikes.  Being in the woods was awesome as usual but being there with Erin made it that much better.  It was so nice to be able to hike and chat and enjoy each other in such a beautiful setting.  The cherry on top was the Bed and Breakfast and the surprise mini-vacation that I did not expect in any way, shape or form. The planning and support by Erin and my parents,without my knowledge, was great.   It truly was a sublime and perfect 2 days.

 

Lots and Lots of Pics.  enjoy!!

 

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Training Day

Nope.  Sorry, Denzel and Ethan Hawke are not in this blog.  Boring, I know!  The day between actual, decent hikes are Training Days for me.  With that, I aim to enhance my hikes with walks, KettleBell workouts, Rowing etc.  Today was a walk.

I got my Boy Jack mounted up in his jogging stroller and walked him to school.  The misnomer is not my fault.  I walk as fast as I can!  The walk to the school is gross but the second half of the loop is a bit more picturesque and there is at least one challenging hill.  The whole loop is about 2.5 miles and is a perfect way to get the blood flowing on a Wednesday morning.

Training.  What am I training for?  Life!!  Actually, Breaking News, I just signed up for a Tuff Mudder in June of 2017.  Now I really have to step it up!

Here’s my training partner from Today:

 

 

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Gold Coast Slumming

I like hiking in the sense that it is off pavement and away from the hustle and bustle of normal daily existence.  The North Shore of Long Island contains massive monuments to that exact ideal.  The Gold Coast was once home to countless Mansions and Manor homes that were the escape for the wealthiest businessmen of the late 19th and early 20th century. The inhabitants and their extended families, wealthy industrialists and Wall Street founding fathers, summered in these vast Mansions to escape the City and be away from their daily lives.  The fertile land and beautiful countryside, combined with breathtaking waterviews and deep harbors provided a respite from the madness of anever increasing industrialization of the City.  These Manors and Estates flowed into one another across the entire North Shore, creating a countryside of extreme wealth and privelege never before seen in the former British Colonies.  The industry that grew around these estates kept many people employed and many still exist today.  The former grandeur of these Estates has given way to Nature Preserves, Arboretums, schools and Museums.  The wealthy people of the Gold Coast were very generous with their endowments and we are the benefactors of this generosity.

Today was proof of that.  I met up with Jim Pastor and Seth Rosenberg at The Chelsea Mansion in Muttontown.  This former estate was the Country home of Benjamin Moore and his family.  The Estate is now part of a larger piece of land, owned by Nassau County, called the Muttontown Preserve.  We walked the grounds around the Mansion a bit and wandered into what was most likely a tennis court area.  Looking around and seeing the lay of the land, really makes you aware of the opulence and the incredible lifestyles these people led.  We walked down the access road a bit towards the actual hiking trails that head out into what is a 550 acre preserve owned by the County.  This part of the preserve has an incredible history and is well worth further exploration.  The short history is that it was built in the early 1900’s for a Wealthy steel and banking magnate named Charles Hudson. The Hudson  family built the Castle that once stood on the grounds and occupied it for many years.  The unbelievable scale and architecture of the original Mansion is beyond comprehension.  Somewhere around the mid 1950’s, King Zog of Albania purchased the property with the intention of settling in with 300 expat Albanians and legend has it he paid for it with bags of jewels and that jewels were stashed inside the Mansion.  King Zog decided to move his operation to France instead and sold the property to Landsdell Christie in the late 50’s.  Landsdell Christie made his fortune mining Iron Ore in Africa and spent lavishly on Long Island until his death in 1965.  When Landsdell Christie bought it,  the Mansion was in such shambles that he decided it would be best to raze the whole place.  Whats left is the ruins of a once grand Mansion and the barely maintained trails that meander about the property.

Upon reaching the actual trail area, we came upon a house that contains the base of operations for the preserve and its Leader, Chris.  A great guy with vast knowledge and passion, Chris has been shackled by Beauracracy and is having a hard time reaching his potential as the face of this somewhat rundown preserve.  He pointed us in the right direction and gave us some great pointers and we were off.  We hiked around for about an hour on some wide open, mild trails.  We barely scratched the surface of what we can do in this park.  I intend to come back and head deep into the property to find the ruins of the original Mansion.

We moved on from this former Gold Coast estate to take care of some business at another location, on another former Gold Coast estate!  F.Ambrose Clark was a wealthy industrialist and famed Sportsman that donated his 400 acre estate “Broadhollow” to the State Univesity of NY upon his death.  We are doing a community service event for a NonProfit organization that inhabits Mr. Clarks historic stables.  Those stables now are in quite a state of disrepair and alongside the therapy horses and Polo Pony’s are stacks of crazy Halloween decorations used for the Haunted Haybarn Fundrasier by the current inhabitants.

Wow, I got off on a tangent there but the reality is that I could spend a month researching and writing about the Gold Coast and all the hidden remnants of the era.  Suffice to say, we walked and hiked a bunch and saw some really great things today.  I love days like this.

 

Pics Below:

 

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Sunday Funday

Hiking on Day 3.  I was awoken by the gentle taps of my beautiful wife and Baby boy at 6:45 this morning.  Long night at work last night and I forgot to set my alarm but fortunately my Hiking partner remembered and was up and ready at 6:30 am.  My partner for this walk was none other than Spawn #1, Justin Kelly.

We had a limited amount of time, shortened further by my late wake up, so we did a quick hike through Makamah Preserve again.  Justin had never been there and he instantly fell in love with the place.  It is very rare to get such unspoiled splendor so close to home.  We hiked some serious hills and it was a short but strenuous walk in the woods.  In order to save some time, we exited the preserve onto the street that runs along the eastern edge of the salt marsh and walked back to the car on the road.

I love being out in the woods and Justin, without prompting, said that he feels best when he is out there too.  His Boy Scout background has him out camping fairly regularly, so he gets out a good amount.  When asked what the best part of the hike was, He declared, “I don’t know, I just like being out in the woods.”  Agreed.  Completely.

I have a feeling that this Preserve is going to be visited a lot.  It’s close, beautiful and challenging.  Perfect.

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Spiderman’s Lair. S3D1

I’m back.  After a spotty and inconsistent month of Biking, I have regrouped and I am moving forward.  Lessons learned.  Valuable information in my brain that will be used to make each month better.

Today starts my 3rd Series in this project.  This series will be 30 Days of hiking.  The goal, as usual, will be to get out and hike with as many people as possible.  I want to gain perspective, enjoy people’s views and get some great Hiking done in the hidden beauty of Long Island.

Today I met with Jim Pastor for an early morning hike at Makamah Preserve in Northport.  This location will be heretofore known as Spiderman’s Lair.  I got 645 linear feet of spider webs in my face as we blazed a trail through the woods.  The trails start with a sandy, uphill, singletrack through some large weeds along a Gas line right of way.  This part of the trail needs some love and is not all that compelling.  As you head away from the trailhead, there are some spots where you can break off the powerline and head into beautiful old growth forest on the Northeast side of the Preserve.  This is where we settled in and really started to feel the power of being in nature.  There is undoubtedly, at least for me, a pull and a sense of peaceful energy when I am in the woods.  No question about it.

We walked and talked for about an hour.  Jim and I both agree that the meditative qualities of a nice walk in the woods are powerful.  Our chatter may have disrupted that state, but it was great either way.  We hiked around what turned out to be a very hilly set of trails.  We came upon a misty marsh that opened up to a wide open salt marsh leading out to the Long Island Sound.  We came to the conclusion that being knocked out and dropped into this scene, would cause massive disorientation.  There is NO way you would ever think this natural splendor existed on Long Island, minutes from strip malls and the chaos of Suburban living.  This respite from all that is exactly what makes the North Shore of Long Island such a unique and amazing place.

Despite my  wind resistance, we plugged along discussing Local Native Tribes that once roamed these woods and fished these waters. This area is ripe with History from the Native Tribes to colonial Spy Rings and all sorts of unique Geological oddities.  The hills caused me to huff and puff a bit as we talked but the end result was about 2-3 miles of hard earned steps on my Pedometer.  My iPhone says we walked the equivalent of 26 sets of steps.  That is based on elevation changes.  Not a bad way to start of this Hiking Series!  I will be doing these hikes and on days that are Guest free or where I have a short timeframe, I will be “training”.  My training hikes will be at the local HS and will include lots of Bleacher climbing to simulate hills.

I am really excited about this series and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Pics Below, Enjoy:

 

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