Ramapo Reservation Loop

Not much to say about our hike Sunday except that it was a beautiful day for a hike.

Alltrails log: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/ramapo–79

Catfish Loop via Appalachian Trail



Well today we went for an easier hike. After her injury last week I kind of wanted to take it easy on her. She seemed back to normal but I didn’t want to risk it.

We did the Catfish Loop Trail in Clarence Fahnestock State Park which is in Putnam Valley New York. About half the trail was on the Appalachian Trail. It is a little used trail so we saw no one while we were out. It is also pretty unremarkable, not much more than a nice walk in the woods.

Now even though I wanted to take it easy on her she kind of wanted something else. Every time we passed a rock out cropping she looked at it longingly hoping we were going to climb it. She was always disappointed.  Finally towards the end she just decided to climb up one an way.

Another nice hike.

Altrails record: Catfish Loop

Cairn Box


I got my first Cairn Box yesterday. Cairn is a subscription service for outdoor enthusiasts and they have a monthly and quarterly option (you can do both). With the monthly subscription you get up to 6 products with a value up to $50 (if you want to know what the monthly fee is visit there website getcairn.com). The quarterly subscription is more but the value and size of the items reflect that.


These are the items I received a pillow, an energy bar, bug spray, a note pad and a game kit.


The Sierra Designs pillow can be used as is with the insert or with just the cover stuffed with clothes. When I got back from our hike today I took a nap on the couch with it. My conclusion, it’s very comfortable and I’m looking forward using it camping and hiking.


Even though it hasn’t been warm yet we have had a run in with ticks so I was very excited to get the Bug Protector. This is an all natural product so I can use it on Gretel. I sprayed her with it this morning before our hike. It has a very pleasant smell. It is going to take more then one hike to determine its effectiveness so I will keep you updated.


I ate this after our hike today, nice and chewy and good flavor. As a diabetic I am always concerned about sugar, I need carbs but sugar I can do without. The Skratch Labs Cherry and Pistachio bar (the one I received) is very low in sugar so I could eat it without fear. Except for maybe the labs in the name, makes me feel like I’m eating an experiment or maybe I’m the experiment. Anyway I liked it and it satisfied.


Rite in the Rain notebook. I gave this to eve because she is much more likely to use it. The paper feels really cool. If she has any comments I will pass them on.

The Bush Smart Game Kit was a bonus. The kit includes 6 mini dice, mini deck of cards a pencil and notepad. The pad has the rules to the game Man or Moose (also known as Farkle or Ten Thousand. Looks like it could liven up a night around the campfire, I will be sure to pack it when I go.

I will be sure to let you know about the goodies in the next box.

Doodletown Bridle Path Loop Trail


We went to Bear Mountain today and did the Doodletown Bridle Path Loop. Much easier than last week even though it was colder. It was 30 degrees when we started and I only wore a long sleeve shirt and a sweatshirt. Even at that when we reach our high point, a mile and a half in, I had worked up a good sweat. It isn’t a terrible climb but the first mile and a half is all up.

Saw several whitetail deer today. The first one just stood in the trail and watched us. The second I only caught the back end as it ran. The third was a group of three and we got pretty close before the ran off. As soon as that group took off Gretel took off after them, she gave up quickly though. She did not have as much luck navigating the brush.

Doodletown is all ruins. It was last occupied in the early 60’s. If you are into that kind of thing there are a lot of informational sign posts. There is also a woodland cemetery with some old headstones in it.

Once again we had a really good time.

On a more somber note Gretel hurt herself today. I’m not sure what happened because she showed no sign of injury while we where on the trail, but when we got home and I got her out of the car she was limping on her left foot and at the moment she won’t put any weight on it.

Well that’s all for now.

Alltrails log: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/doodletown–43


Elk Pen Trail

On Gretel’s second birthday (4/1/18) we went to Harriman State Park and did the Elk Pen loop. I think it is a trail we will do again, but it was tough on this day. Not having been out hiking in awhile all the climbing was tiring but that wasn’t what made it the hardest.

The trail still had snow in lots of places and there were spots on the trail that looked like creek beds and not trails. The hardest part though was all the trees that were down. There were spot that we could not get through and had to find alternate paths. Lot of the trees that were down also had trail markers on them.

It kicked our butts and took longer then expected but we had a great time and it was great to get out again.

Alltrails log: https://www.alltrails.com/explore/recording/elkpen

Gretel and Me

Starting with me. I’m a theatre professional, I love creating things from wood and polymer clay and other stuff. But this is to be about hiking so…

When I was a kid I was in the boy scouts and are troupe’s main activity was hiking. I loved it. All the hikes we went on were boy scout events and we did a lot of them. We would get patches and my mother sew them on a jacket for me.

Well as life would have it we moved from the town we lived in to the farm just as I was starting high school. That was the end of hiking for many years. Finished high school, went to college for a year then joined the army.

After my training I was stationed in Germany and in Germany they have Volksmarching. My first time over there I only did a few. The second time I was over there, with a wife and two small children, I did a lot. There were weekends that we would do three 10K volksmarches in one day and a total of 5 in a weekend.

Volksmarching is not just a German sport, it’s international, and the Belgians do it in a big way. In Germany Volksmarches are typically 10K and many also will have a 20K option. Belgians also have these but many of them like to add a 45K. The one and only time I did a 45K I did it with a 3 and 5 year old. It was some day.

Belgians also, as separate events, have 100K marches. They start in the evening and you have 23 hours to complete it. I tried and failed, I only made it a little over half way. At the check point I had reached I was feeling really bad and laid down on the floor sweating profusely. They made me stop.

After the army, life got in the way. There were occasional walks in the woods, and we even tried a couple of Volksmarches in Florida but hiking was pretty much out. Now 20 some years later it has become much more serious.

I hike more regularly now, even if it’s just walking a crossed The George Washington Bridge to do 6 to 15 miles in the Palisades.  Living in New York City and not having a car makes getting away to hiking more challenging but the Metro North Railway can get us to some really nice places for hiking.

I’ve done some crazy things like 30 miles on the long path in one day, a total of 50 miles for the week end. I’ve also done some interesting things like four days on the South West Coast Path in England and my first overnight (carrying tent and all) in the Catskills.

Now for Gretel, she is a Miniature Schnauzer. I have some health issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, herniated disk and just over a year ago I had a heart attach. It was while I was in the hospital that I decided I wanted a dog. I needed a dog that was good for apartment living and was going to be a good hiking companion. Eve (my wife) and I did some research and decided on a Miniature Schnauzer and we started looking.

Eve is living in San Diego and she came upon  a craigslist posting for a female Minatare Schnauzer and sent it to me. I’m not sure what it was about that picture but I decided that was the one I wanted and flew out there that weekend and got her, an 8 week old 2 1\2 lb puppy.

We named her Gretel a nod to her German heritage. And at 3 months and about 4 lbs she went on her first 6 mile hike and we just keep going. She has been hiking in the Catskills with me and she has already climbed Break Neck Ridge twice. She loves climbing up rocks and she is very good at following the trails.

This blog will be about our adventures, where we go what we do and see and what we use as equipment.

So long for now.20170509_063313