Expanding the PROACTIVE Team
I am proud to announce that we will broadening our ranks at PROACTIVE-AH&W as we welcome new members to our team over the course of the next few weeks. I am delighted that some very talented, knowledgeable, like-minded people have agreed to share their own unique perspectives on adventure, health, and wellness and I am certain that their insights will go a long way in encouraging us all to live a more proactive lifestyle. Stay tuned!
Recently, I became aware of the "52-Hike Challenge" through 52hikechallenge.com. To conquer the challenge, a hiker must complete a hike for each of the 52 weeks of the year. Not only do I love hiking, but I also love a good challenge. Although it was always the plan to hike at least once a week, I am now officially announcing my intention to complete the 52-Hike Challenge. So far, 5 hikes down, 47 (but hopefully a lot more) to go!
Storm King Mountain and Black Rock Forest definitely set the year off on the right foot. Winter hiking can truly be an amazing experience, especially when it's done in the right environment. I don't think I could have hiked a more picturesque, snow-covered trail. It wasn't just the high, glistening peaks that I really enjoyed, but even within the thick Black Rock Forest, trudging through the snow never felt so enjoyable. The extreme cold added an extra element of difficulty too, but thankfully all of my gear held up perfectly and kept me warm the entire time.
I saw more deer over the course of the last month than I had in the whole of 2017 - not by much, but more nonetheless. While hiking at the Ramapo Valley County Reservation, the deer hopping around just yards off of the trail salvaged that entire hike. In my head, I had been criticizing the hike for not being exciting enough literally moments before I decided to wander off the trail in hopes of seeing something interesting. Every time any wild creature appears on the trail, it changes the entire dynamic of the hike for the better.
Compass & Map
I've always been pretty good at reading maps, but the true use of a compass has always perplexed me. So, I purchased a book called "Be Expert with Map & Compass" by Bjorn Kjellstrom, arguably the premiere book on map and compass skills ever written. Although I found reading the book and completing the tests within informative, it was somewhat difficult to relate the material to the real world without seeing the compass in actual use. I referred to YouTube for some additional assistance and I am now happy to say I am able to use an orienteering compass properly. Practice makes perfect, so I'll certainly be practicing.
As I walk through the forest, I am always taking mental notes of what the landscape looks like. However, I am admittedly not well-versed in plant and tree identification. There are many times that I wish I could download information straight into my brain. Unfortunately, man does not have this capability yet. Many people who actually are well-versed in this area have assured me that it is actually quite easy. That remains to be seen. I have downloaded an app called PictureThis for plant identification and have ordered some books on the subject. My goal for this month, aside from practicing my navigation, is to learn how to identify the plants and trees that share the trails with me.
Great Gifts in Use
I received some awesome gifts for Christmas that I was able to utilize in the month of January: a REI Co-Op Talus Mountain jacket, a Passion Planner, and a Fifty/Fifty vacuum insulated thermos. The jacket came just in time as the temperatures plummeted to single digits as 2018 began. This jacket, with attached hood, kept me completely warm and dry during my snowy, frigid hikes of Storm King and Fishkill Ridge. The Passion Planner is a very cool take on a daily planner, with prompts and space to help keep you motivated, inspired, and on-track. I excitedly cracked this open a few days before the start of 2018 and got down to some serious planning. And the Fifty/Fifty thermos has provided me with the ability to enjoy a hot cup of coffee while hiking. After hiking for a few hours and finally getting up to a beautiful overlook, the coffee is a true treat.
Thank you again!
I'd like to say thank you once again for following PROACTIVE-AH&W. To show our appreciation, we will choose one subscriber at random each month and send them a free prize!
Also, tag your adventure, health, or wellness-related photography with #PROACTIVEAHW and will post the most impressive shots on our site for all of our followers to see!
We will be launching our official Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat accounts soon. A notification will be sent out to our subscribers once the accounts are active.