Friday, September 13, 2013

'Cooba Divin

Well I never made it out to the Long Path last weekend.  Chris was moving out so we spent Saturday moving stuff around the house and Sunday I had the worst hangover in the history of the world...stupid wine.  We did get to do go to the range and go diving so that made up for it.

This was the first time we went to the shooting range in Norwalk and it was great.  The target system is fully automated so you can specify how far away you want it and set it to turn at intervals, and move forward and back if you want a moving target.  I'm having trouble with the .380 - a piece actually fell off and I had to ask someone to help me.  The guys exact quote - "Well at least you didn't bring the gun out with you."  Do people do that?! Dear lord... Other than that it was fun.  Nice to get back out there.

We also made our debut into the cold water diving world.  We went to Rex on Thursday night to pick up our gear.  Up to this point we have never worn anything thicker than a 3mm wetsuit.  Now we're trying to get into a 7mm farmer john and and a 7mm shortie over it.  If you've ever seen "A Christmas Story", you know how I felt.  I was just walking around the dive shop saying 'I can't put my arms down...'.  Either way, got our gear, put it in the car, and went home for the night.

Ready to go!

 Get up next day, drive to Dutch Springs - which is in Bethlehem, PA about two hours away from where we live.  Issue No. 1 - We pay and go down to the parking lot to set up.  As I connect my regulator and turn on the air, it leaks.  A lot.  So we figure out it's the regulator itself, not an o-ring so we have to load up again, drive to a nearby dive shop and have them fix it.  Luckily it was just a leaky hose and didn't cost us any money.  Issue No. 2 - We get back, unload again and set up our gear.  We squeeze into our wetsuits and are now sweating profusely.  As I try to put my weight belt on, I realize the now 14mm of neoprene over my midsection makes me too fat for my goddam belt.  Luckily we have the old fashioned kind that they put the weights on for transport, so Mike gave me his and used the crappy one.  Issue No. 3 - As we're loading up the weight belts with the 24 lbs they told us to use at Rex, a "helpful" lady comes up and tells us she's on her 300th dive and this is way too much weight.  We only need like 12 lbs.  That's what she uses.  So we compromise on 16 lbs each.  Tank up.  Get all the way to the water.  Put on mask and fins and...can't get below the surface because we're too damn light.  Mike took everything off, went back to the car and got us both 8 more lbs.

FINALLY we get to descend and the visibility is awful.  Probably like 8 feet.  The guy who works there says it's normally much better but they've had a lot of rain lately.  Mike and I lost each other twice and had to come up to reconnect, and once we lost the 'attractions' and had to come up to figure out where the hell we were. When you look at the lake from the shore, you think 'Oh it's not that big - how hard can this be? But with such low viz and feeling like an overstuffed sausage - it was tougher than I though.

Dutch Springs Quarry

After coming up for lunch and refilling the tanks, we planned out our second dive.  This time we took the right weight, and had a definitive plan.  They say plan your dive and dive your plan and they're right.  The second dive went great.  We went down to 75' where the water temp was 53 degrees and stayed pretty warm.  The park has a whole bunch of planes, cars, trains, etc. at the bottom to look at so that was kind cool.  I saw some bass, bluegill, trout and koi.

Overall, it's a good place to try out new gear and test your resistance to cooler water.  There's not a ton to look at but it was really nice to get some mid season diving in.  It is a place where you have to know what you're doing, however.  There's no one to guide you, no boat captain to advise you.  YOU are responsible to make sure you stay safe.  As long as you keep that in mind, you're good to go.

Monday, September 9, 2013

P90X: Back to Basics

So anyone who has been around me during the past year and half knows that I've lost about 35 lbs total by doing P90X and Insanity.  And no I'm not a Beachbody coach.  The programs are solid and I hate the gym with a burning passion.  I'm not coordinated and suck at any type of cardio, so when the girl on the treadmill next to me looks like a glistening gazelle I tend to lose my motivation.

Either way, this past summer I ate a lot of delicious food and drank way too much beer and somehow managed to re-find about 15 of those lbs.  So now that I'm back in school and my pants are a bit *ahem* tight, I'm getting back on the wagon and starting up with P90X classic. I've done Classic, Insanity, X/Insanity hybrid, and a few weeks of X2.  P90X is by far my favorite.  It's well rounded and really gets the job done as long as you don't eat like crap.

I did day 1 today and holy moly am I out of shape.  I used to be able to do this with some semblance of competency but today kicked my ass.  Pull up are my arch nemesis and even with the pull up assist bands I can still only get up like 5.  All I kept thinking is 'I remember this being easier...'.

Fries bad! Shakes bad! Cheeseburgers bad! 

Day 1 is in the books, and hopefully by posting on here I'll actually stick to it and it won't end up like 10 or so P7X's that I've done in the past.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Section 8: 9.2 Miles

Alright well I finally filled in the holes and have officially hiked the entire "Hudson Palisades" section of the Long Path.  I really thought I'd be farther along by this time and this may be the 2013-14 project instead of just 2013, but I've really enjoyed doing it and am happy that I've gotten this far.

We brought the dog this time - he had a good time and thankfully didn't get any raw spots on his feet.  He also got to try out his new backpack.  It held two water bottles, some snacks, his leash, and his water bowl.  It also rub Riley raw like his last pack which I'm sure he was really grateful for.

Me and Riley at the top of High Knob in our matching gear.  

We hiked North to South, starting at a commuter lot.  The trail heads away from the lot on a short road walk.  Later, it cuts into the woods by a lake and the rest of the trail is off the road.  It's great that the Long Path organizers are working to move it off the roads as much as possible.  There are some cool buildings in Gonzaga Park that are left from when the property was a Jesuit retreat.

The stone wall around the retreat plus some cool old buildings.

Almost the whole trail is co-aligned with the Highlands Trail (light blue) and inside the park, it's also co-aligned with the Jessup Trail (yellow).  This makes for a lot of blazes, and the trail is not always marked with all of them, sometimes just yellow, so it's important to pay attention to where you're going.  The Highlands and Jessup trails split from the Long Path about 3 miles from the Woodbury trail head, so looking for that turn off is key.  The views from the top of High Knob are fantastic.  There are a whole bunch of overlooks in a row.  I do caution that there are some steep climbs and descents getting there.  We had to do some scrambling and had to grab Riley's harness and lift him down at times to keep him from going flying down the side of the mountain.

View from High Knob.

Beautiful hike with some great views.  I'm hoping to get up to the Catskills for this (Thank you Rosh Hashanah) 4 day weekend and cross over the 100 mile mark.  :-)