Category Archives: Community

Democratization of Hiking

The last year has seen tremendous change and stress throughout our society. Many people have found a new outlet for their stress in the great outdoors. Trails, parks, campgrounds, lakes, ponds, and marinas are all crowded with excited new faces. Many of the newbies are finding their way to the outdoors through the myriad of apps and blogs that are so easy to find right at their fingertips. It is a process I call the “democratization of hiking.”

democratization of hiking
New Hikers Enjoy the Sunset
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Stealth Camping in the Catskills

Stealth Camping in the Catskills is a nice solution for camping further from roads and other people than designated sites allow. Designated sites in the Catskills tend to be near roads or trailheads and fill up early in the day. You’re allowed to camp outside of designated sites if you follow a few rules. Keep reading to learn more about stealth camping in the Catskills.

stealth camping in the catskills
An Ideal Stealth Site in the Catskills: off the plants and well away from the trail.
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Enlightened Equipment Quilts

In 2013 I purchased my first of several Enlightened Equipment quilts. Although I’ve been camping all of my life, this quilt gave me my first truly comfortable night of sleep. Since then, I’ve purchased several more quilts from Enlightened Equipment and helped many family members and friends make the conversion. Now, almost everyone I backpack with has one or more of these trusty hiking companions. I read recently that about 75% of 2017 Appalachian Trail Thruhikers slept in quilts by EE. Continue reading Enlightened Equipment Quilts

Intro to Backpacking – Recommended Tents

This last weekend, I hosted an Intro to Backpacking workshop with Hudson Valley Hikers.  The idea of the event was to allow future backpackers to see and feel real gear in the real world.  Each of our hosts brought one or more of their favorite tents. Students were able to watch them set up and then crawl inside to get a feel. They especially liked hanging in the hammock! Continue reading Intro to Backpacking – Recommended Tents

How to Keep Clean while Backpacking

I have been asked how I keep clean while backpacking.  If you’re not already an experienced backpacker, you might not like my answer to this.  Backpacking changes your standards for things like cleanliness and the quality of food.  This change in your outlook on life is probably the biggest benefit of backpacking. Eventually you’ll come to appreciate being able to sit on the subway car no one else will ride in and you won’t mind so much when its leftovers night. You’ll marvel at the amount of time your more domesticated friends spend cleaning their homes.  And you might not ever be asked to babysit. Continue reading How to Keep Clean while Backpacking

Intro to Backpacking Syllabus

Intro to Backpacking

This weekend I will be hosting an Intro to Backpacking seminar with Hudson Valley Hikers. This is not a backpacking trip, but a short hike with an opportunity for show and tell.  The idea is to let novices see some gear options in the field before they go shopping.  My co-hosts and I will have a wide variety of gear available, ranging from typical “beginner gear” to expert ultralight gear.  Participants will get to try on our packs and takes turns carrying them to our mock campsite, where we’ll set up various tents and talk about our gear.  Continue reading Intro to Backpacking Syllabus

Camping vs Backpacking

Several large tents set up in Base Camp in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness
Basecamp in the Pharaoh Lakes Wilderness

Ahead of my upcoming “Intro to Backpacking” event, Nancy asks about Camping vs Backpacking:

Question about backpack: what’s different from camping ? Sorry, I have no knowledges about camping and backpacking. Just started hiking .  But I am interested to learn everything you want to show me. Thanks.

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Rochelle Park Troop 114 Goes to the Catskills

Two scouts from Rochelle Park Troop 114 admiring the view from Blackdome Mountain in the Catskills.
Two scouts admiring the view from Blackdome Mountain.

April 29, 2017 – East Jewet, NY

On a cool spring morning, 7 members of Rochelle Park Troop 114 traveled to the Catskills for a weekend of adventure. After scoping out camp, 4 boys and 2 adults immediately went on a 6 mile hike along the Blackhead Range. The troop  went up Black Dome Trail into the col between Blackhead and Black Dome mountains, then turned west and went over Blackdome, Thomas Cole, and Camel’s Hump mountains to be picked up by a waiting assistant scoutmaster. Along the way the scouts learned skills that will count towards advancement and merit badges. Continue reading Rochelle Park Troop 114 Goes to the Catskills