Friday, May 27, 2011
http://artofmanliness.com/2011/05/23/wilderness-survival-know-your-distress-signals/ Check out the Art of Manliness for this wilderness survival guide. I always carry a small mirror and whistle while out on a trek. Have I ever used them? No, I have not but always better to be safe then sorry.
http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20200448,00.html Its also home improvement season. I am a big fan of doing the work yourself. A lot of the jobs are fairly easy. It saves you money, keeps you in shape, and if your working outside (like building a brick path) you can enjoy your natural surroundings at the same time.
http://www.scoutingny.com/?p=392 Finally check out Scouting NY for awesome pictures. Here he tours an abandon campground. Scout finds and documents the places you have always dreamed of finding (or just noticing) yourself.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I want to like nuclear power. I really do. When you read about all the good things it can do while having little effect on the environment you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You know the risks involved, but hey this is 2011. With technology and the good old American know-how we can make it work. Then you actually read more about the subject and the picture becomes a lot more cloudy.
Radiation leaks, poor warning systems, failed tests, and overall waste disposal problems all rear their ugly heads. Are these incidents limited to Indian Point? No of course not. First of all they can not dispose of the waste. We have all heard of the great radioactive waste dump in the desert of Nevada, but nothing is going there. How do you transport? More importantly, how do you get people to agree on the safest way to move it? You don't...so now it just sits in waste pools at the plant. They are coming up with new and better ways to store the waste but unfortunately for the time being, they still sit in those pools. Maintaining this pools exposes us to the greatest risk of leakage and disaster, which is is exactly what is happening in Japan.
The second and worst problem is that these power plants are exposed to the same cost cutting, money making, green eyed greed that your normal Wall Street bank drinks with a straw. This leads to over worked employees, degrading facilities, and oversights. Have I witnessed any of these? No I have not but there is plenty of evidence you can read about at the tip of your finger tips (http://www.ipsecinfo.org/).
All that being said, I just cant support nuclear power at this time. I especially can't support nuclear power at a plant I don't trust that sits on a river that I love. A plant that could destroy the wildlife and environment that is my back yard. Yes, an oil or coal power plant will destroy my back yard as well but that's not what I am advocating. I want us to do what American's used to do best...look at a problem and come up with a world changing answer. Is that answer solar power, methane, wind power? Maybe its all of them...hell maybe its nuclear power. Point is...lets find out the cleanest and best solution without all the red tape is and put it into action.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Trek duration: 1/2 hour
Trek difficulty: Easy
Trail Map: http://www.teatown.org/vi/hiking_map.htm
People will always say they don't have enough time to trek. Weekends are too filled with obligations, and you get home too late from work. Well that is a load of BS...especially this time of year when our days just got longer. Humans are great at making excuses allowing them to be lazy. If that's not the saddest step in evolution, I don't know what is.
With some extra daytime and little motivation, I suggest you seek out your local lake. I can't think of many towns that don't have some body of water to walk around. Central Park in Manahttan, Alley Pond Park in Queens, Kensico Dam in Lower Westchester, Teatown lake in Northern Westchester, etc etc.
Teatown is truly an amazing place and one of my favorites. Teatown is a nature preserve in Northern Westchester that is independently operated and run with private donations. It has numerous hiking trails and a variety of outdoor programs for adults and children.
When I am strapped for time and just need to quench my outdoor thirst I will head out to the Lakeside Trail at Teatown. The trail is 1.5 miles long, but its perfect for a good half hour walk. Just set out in either direction and when you hit 15 minutes turn around and head back. There is a long floating bridge on the southwest corner. It's a great place to take a moment and take the size of the lake and its surroundings in. As you move east over the bridge you can take the .2 mile Overlook Trail branch. There is a nice bench to sit at when you reach the top to take a breather, or have a snack while getting a higher view of the lake. I know its spring but the only pictures I currently have are from the winter.
You can see the lake is totally frozen over. Normally during the winter you will find actual ice hockey games being played. Originally being from the city, I cant tell you how amazed I was to see that. Going to the ice skating rink as a kid was always exciting, but playing ice hockey on a frozen lake...that's a jaw dropping moment to a city kid.
Teatown is enjoyable during any season. With Spring in full swing do your self a favor and stop making excuses. If you check out Teatown explore some of the other trails and prepare for more detailed posts about them in the future. More importantly....find yourself a lake, take a stroll, and enjoy the weather.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Personally, I want a solid watch that does what it needs to do best...telling me what time it is. I find the more gadgets you pack into a simple product the harder it is to use and the sooner they break down. Pack as many features into your cell phone as you can, they are mini computers, but a watch is a watch and should remain only a watch.
My watch has to be able to stand up to the elements and, of course, tell me accurate time. That's why I chose the Bertucci A2-T.
Its a light weight watch made of titanium, 100m water resistant, with a scratch resistant crystal. It also comes with a screw down crown which was very important to me. I know once the watch is set it won't magically change on me. It is styled after your classic field watch with a nylon band. The housing of the watch is the perfect size for your wrist...not to big and not too small. The combination of the nylon band and the light weight titanium truly make this a comfortable watch for trekking. You forget you have it on half the time, even when you are in a full sweat from a hard trek. The numbers are large and easy to read, while the hands illuminate in the dark (which is always important). I wear it everyday, even to work, as it it stylized for any time and any place.
While this watch lacks the bells and whistles you can get with a Casio Pathfinder or Suunto fitness watch, it makes up for it in simplicity. I am a firm believer that when you need a compass you should bring a compass. When you need a thermometer bring one. When you need a timer there is no reason not to use the second hands on your watch. Gadgets are great and in this day and age you have so many to choose from. One thing I wont mess with is my watch. So if you are a simple watch lover like I am you can't go wrong with the purchase of a Bertucci watch. Great, solid product for trekking along with everyday life.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The newspapers and television are filled with stories about the stock market, the deficit, inflation, and taxes. These days it's tough to own a home and support your family without being worried about your financial future. Goods and services are at an all time high and makes it very difficult to keep up with a hobby you love.
Trekking is a great hobby that is extremely rewarding and also very cost effective. Sure there is money to be spent. We all need the best pair of shoes, the best wicking outerwear, the best pack, etc...but in the end the only piece of gear you really need is the great outdoors.
The good news is it's basically free. Sure lots of parks now charge you for entrance, but that money goes to help park infrastructure. I'll gladly pay the $7 fee, or buy the Westchester parks pass for $50 as I know (or at least hope) that money is being put back into the park.
It's easy to get frustrated going to a baseball game (see last post), heading to the mall, or even seeing a movie and dreading the amount of money that you are going to spend. A great alternative is to put on a pair of sneakers and get out to your local park for a walk, hike, or picnic....the possibilities are endless. Endless and cheap! The money you will save can be huge. Having that extra money will take some of the financial stress off your life. Less stress helps everyone, and getting outside to enjoy the fresh air doesn't hurt either.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
As you keep reading my blog you will sooner or later find out that I am a huge Met fan. I grew up in Queens rooting for my favorite team and I have never stopped. Along with the Mets, I am just a really big fan of baseball.
Baseball is where I got my first taste of the power of the outdoors. As a child I was happiest being outside playing in my little league games, having a catch with my dad at the local park, or attending a Met game with friends and family. Baseball brought me out of the house and away from the TV. Till this day getting a group of guys and playing a game of softball at the park is one of my favorite things to do.
Money and commercialism have tainted the purity of the game but my love will always be unwavering. I will always be that child that dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Do yourself a favor and celebrate the beginning of spring by attending a game at your local ballpark or, if you have enough friends, start a game of your own.
For some baseball inspiration, I highly recommend reading W.P. Kinsella's book The Iowa Baseball Confederacy. Here is one of my favorite passages from the book:
"There's no limit to how far a man might possibly hit a ball, and there's no limit to how far a fleet outfielder might run to retrieve it. The foul lines run on forever, forever diverging. There's no place in America that's not part of a major league ball field. The meanest ghetto, the highest point of land, the Great Lakes, the Colorado River. Hell, there's no place in the world that's not part of a baseball field."