Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Dreaming of summer

Posted by Frum Hiker on March 8, 2007

Its about that time of year that everyone starts talking about how they are sick of the cold and the snow, though barely two months ago everyone was talking about global warming and how its been the warmest winter on record. I can even recall one Friday afternoon in January riding my bike in shorts and a t-shirt on completely thawed and dry trails in the Newburgh area. I can remember tasting the sweat coming off my helmet and the mud caking my bare legs and I marveled at the sunny skies and the fact that it was getting dark at 4:30 yet I was in my summer gear riding trails that haven’t seen snow in months. I could hear shots in the distance from small game hunters and I could see the boot prints and shotgun shells scattered about from the recently over dear season.

Like many folks I long for those long lazy days of summer. I sit in my car, and look for any signs of buds on the trees or any grass poking through the thick quickly browning shroud of snow that has been melted and refrozen like an ice cream pint defrosting in a freezer- to the point that its once beautiful sight of soft fluffy layering has been mixed into a construed field of icy, brown nastiness.

All I can do is wait and dream, daydream about all the hiking I will do- once the days get long and the sun hovers in the late day sky 9oclock at night, still setting, a huge orange blaze on the horizon spewing its brilliant orange, pink and purple hues in every which way as far as the eye can see. I can long for those sticky hot humid days, driving down some dirt road, with all four windows open, shirtless, feeling my back sticking to my leather seats, blasting some rocking country music with those shrill sounding fiddlers and listening to the whistling of the wind as it passes through my two bikes strapped to my roof. Small rocks slapping the underbody of my car, win flowing through my hair, sweat pouring down my unshaven face, not a care in the world, watching the trees fly by like picket fences in suburbia.

I long for those days spent, hiking up endless hills, 40 pounds strapped to my back, weeks worth of food and my heavy breathing the only sounds for miles. I long for the nights spent snuggled in my sleeping bag, quietly listening for the rustling of bears in the woods, praying to God that they don’t eat me tonight. The sounds of my MSR filter swooshing the clear contents of mountain streams through its silicon, drinking that natural water – straight from the source- no middle men. Sitting peacefully on top of mountains, no people or roads for 25 miles in any direction, soaking up the sun, carefully plotting my route on my topo-map, imagining all of the cool stuff yet to be seen. Feet aching from 25 mile day hikes, sucking it up and eating my nasty dehydrated food- just to see what the next 25 miles has in store. Just another mountain, valley, night spent in the woods.

I long for outdoor shows, sitting on the lawn and rocking out to some hardcore live music, maybe some Shakespeare, maybe some art thing, anything, just give me it outside. How about some small town fairs or county fairs, farm contests and rodeos, places for small town Americans to gather and gossip and share stories about how they grew Franklin Counties largest eggplant.

I long for clear blue streams, slowly gurgling over rocks, me sitting in just a pair of shorts- life jacket and holding my paddle, old bottle of mountain dew and a couple of energy bars- flying around in the hull, just paddling my little red kayak down Sacandaga River or Canandaigua Lake or anywhere else. Paddles dip gently in the still water, and the only sound is the slight part in the water created by my hull. Large birds fly around amongst their homes in the cattails and reeds and I lay on my back staring up at the ever changing shapes in the clouds.

Most of all I long for the feel of my bike between my legs. Pounding up and down hills, jumping over logs, the feel of caked mud up and down my legs, face and arms- mixing with bloodied elbows and sweat drenched t-shirts. The sounds of the chain slapping the chainstays as I fly down rock strewn paths that snake through the countryside. Rocks hitting my tires and my suspension moving in every which way – as I get lost in my own world. My lungs crying out for air and my camelback nearly empty at the end of an epic 20 mile ride on some gnarly trails. Or the feeling I get when riding in NYC down the bike path by the west side highway and munching on some candy- while seated on a bench in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge. I think of hanging out with my baggy pants punk rockin pierced up friends at some local skate park thinking of lines- just sitting on my bike waiting for the bowls to clear up.

And so I sit at my computer thinking of more posts and dreaming of summer- hope is in sight though- this weekend starts the warming trend and temps as high as 50 degrees are expected for next week


One Response to “Dreaming of summer”

  1. I’ve noticed that too that winters have been getting warmer

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