My very first vacation with my former husband was a trip to Washington State where we spent a week or so camping and hiking. It was a memorable trip for many reasons (the San Juan Islands – oh my goodness!) but by no means did the experience turn me into an outdoors women a la Anne LaBastille. I enjoyed the time, however, in my world hiking means taking a walk in the woods with a
flask camera, not aggressively conquering a mountain. Alas, he and I were different.
You might be surprised to learn that despite living in Albany for close to 30 years, nestled between the Catskills and Adirondacks, I’ve never really gone hiking since that long ago trip. Last month that finally changed as I hit the trail. Let me tell you about it…
I’m training for a trail race on Mother’s Day and decided to incorporate some activities beyond merely running. The course I’m taking on next month includes, from what I’ve read and heard, some serious elevation complete with rock scrambling. Getting out into the woods, particularly with someone adept at both hiking and running, seemed to be the ideal cross training opportunity. Next stop – the Catskills.
One of the things I most enjoy about running is the endorphin rush – I love the feeling of my spine tingling as my body releases a combination of energy and exertion. Amazing. When it came time to take a hike, I requested one which would challenge and push me a bit beyond a mere meandering. The hike up Blackhead, a loop of approximately 4.5 miles, was just what the doctor ordered and I loved it. Total elevation gain – approximately 2,000 with a significant part of that (~1,100 feet) coming in less than a mile. I said I wanted a challenge, right?
The weather on Easter Sunday was perfect early spring – mild, with hazy sun. The forest in springtime is a magical place with signs of life* to be discovered around every twist in the trail. The fresh air, with a hint of cedar was invigorating and our path included mossy green spots promising softness to the touch, as well as boulders and ice that demanded cautious attention. There was a quietly babbling brook to be crossed, an easy feat in a year with barely any snow melt, along with the remains of a stone dam from decades gone past. It really was an afternoon for the senses.
I think I’m hooked.
*Along with evidence of the demise of an unfortunate bird. Check out the photos…