Although the month of March marks the beginning of spring (March 20th to be exact), we were bludgeoned by 4 separate storms which blanketed the entire Tri-state area in snow. In fact, after I had a beautiful day hiking the Giant Stairs in the Palisades, the weather took a turn for the worst. However, I made it out to the trails each week and truly enjoyed, what I thought would be, the beauty of the last few "winter hiking" sessions I will have for many months. It turns out that spring hasn't truly arrived just yet...
Welcome New Contributors
Life, work, and other responsibilities have made this process a bit slower than I had hoped, but finally, I would like to welcome Christian Mena and Rebecca La Croce to the PROACTIVE team. Their love of the trails and appetite for adventure will be on display as they share their own trail stories and photography. They both felt my same dissatisfaction with the routine of a daily grind and made the decision to look for something deeper out in nature. Rebecca is located in Colorado and has the pleasure of exploring trails throughout the west. Christian shares the same haunts that I do and explores the trails and hills of the Northeast. I am excited to follow their experiences and am happy to welcome them to the PROACTIVE team!
As I predicted last month, the weather in March was indeed unpredictable (or perhaps, increasingly all too predictable) as snow storm after snow storm pummeled the Northeast. However, I was able to work around the storms and had the pleasure of traversing beautiful, snow-covered forests under crisp, clear skies. 13 hikes completed - 39 more to go. I am looking forward to watching the woods reawaken after the long winter and come alive as we move into spring.
Back to the Beginning
This month, I made a long-awaited return to Wawayanda State Park for my first hike near Lake Wawayanda and Laurel Pond. I had a great time going back through old pictures to find shots of my father and I fishing and hiking along the same path that we followed over 20 years ago to the pond. It had been many, many years since I last set eyes on this area, but the memories rushed back quickly. This is where I was first introduced to nature and was unknowingly taken on a hiking trail; I am forever grateful that my father shared his love of the outdoors with me.
Snow & No Destination
Snow was prevalent throughout much of my hiking this month. I have actually grown accustomed to hiking through these conditions and enjoyed the additional challenge that it provided. This month also marked the first time I simply wandered into the woods with a map and had no set destination, creating a loop as I hiked. Coming across the Lookout Trail in Ramapo Mountain State Forest was definitely a highlight. This past Monday, April 2nd, I woke up to find a good 6-inches of fresh snow covering the ground and it continued to come down. It looks like I may have a few more wintry spring hikes ahead.
Death In Life
Aside from PROACTIVE-AH&W, there is an entirely different project in the works, currently known as "Death In Life". Over the past year or so, I have been writing a book which explores the effects that death has on the living. Drawing from my own experiences, as well as those of others close to me, the book discusses sensitive and taboo topics in a fresh and thoughtful way. I am excited to say that I am moving into the 2nd draft this month and hope to have the entire project completed by the end of the year. Stay tuned...
A Big World
A few years ago, one of my best friends gave a piece of calligraphy. The quote was from one of my favorite works of literature, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald. "The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want." The canvas has hung in my hallway since 2015 and is the first or last thing that I see when I walk through the door every day. I have been working on broadening my perspective ever since and by exploring new trails and forests each week, even though I remain close to home, my world gets bigger. I look forward to heading to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire over the next few months and Montana later this summer for a birthday celebration under the big sky.
Things are starting to come together nicely, albeit slowly, and I am looking forward to getting into the full swing of things. Over the next few months we will welcome more contributors and we will begin turning PROACTIVE-AH&W into everything that I envision it becoming. I hope to see many of you coming along for the adventure as we begin to embark on our mission: facilitating and inspiring a proactive lifestyle.