Things are coming along nicely. I’m waiting until later this week to post updated statistics and measurements, but, let’s just say that I’m headed in the right direction. I have even been exercising like crazy. Well, crazy for me at least. I know there are people out there who burn almost 100% of their BMR every day. I’m not there yet, however, I have been hitting the weights three times each week and doing elliptical or treadmill walking another two or three days. I burned 4300 calories exercising over the past seven days (all measured using a high quality heart rate monitor) so that alone is impressive for a guy who, just a few months ago, hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in years. That said, I was craving more diversity in my exercise routine.
I found out that just a few miles from where I live is a beautiful and expansive park system with miles upon miles of hiking trails. Some of the trails are paved (the beginner or intermediate ones) but the majority of the trails are unpaved through the woods. Also, the terrain on these advanced trails is typically very hilly rising a couple hundred feet only to drop a couple hundred feet with another rise immediately afterwards. The area is known as Hartshorne Woods Park and has some pretty interesting history as well:
The Hartshorne property was a desirable defense site because of its high elevation. Through the years, it hosted a number of different land and air-based military installations to defend New York Harbor and surrounding areas.
During the WWII era, batteries for heavy artillery were built on this site to modernize coastal defense efforts. These concrete and earth encasements or bunkers – considered “bomb-proof” at the time – protected personnel and equipment. These structures can still be viewed today.
With the rise of strategic air power and nuclear weapons, the reliance on artillery guns for coastal defense ended. During the Cold War Era, from the 1950s-1970s, the site served as a missile defense site and command center with radar, computers and electronic plotting devices. Structures from this era have all been removed.
So, after reading all about the location, my wife and I set out Saturday morning to discover this park treasure located only a few miles away from our house. After starting out on the Battery Loop (a paved but hilly path), we kicked it up a notch and took the Rocky Point Trail for about 2.5 miles through awesome forest and along the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers here in New Jersey.
Lots of nature surrounded us, and at one point, my wife looked back at me and said, “How are you doing, Caveman?” I was doing fine, but, with her simple question, she somehow reminded me that while I’m enjoying my new lifestyle so much, it’s really just rooted in our ancestral background. There I was, walking up and down hills through thick vegetation in the same way that man has for thousands of years. Of course, I wasn’t hunting for my food and could depend on the fact that my fridge held plenty of grass-fed beef, pastured eggs and organic vegetables for me to eat when I got home. But, the key here is that I wasn’t just sitting at home eating out of said food reserves. Obviously, I’m lucky enough to have shelter, food and warmth without having to hunt, gather, and build. That’s been one problem though. I’ve been too comfortable and have skipped the exercise and adventure that comes with getting out and exploring your surroundings simply because I could.
We had so much fun on Saturday hiking for a couple hours that on Sunday morning, we decided to do it all over again with the dogs this time. So, we suited up, and put leashes on our two pups and headed out into the vast wilderness only ten thousand feet away from our ever-present comfortable shelter and food stores. I’m at work finishing this entry up right now and thinking about when I can get out there again. Probably too dark when I get home from work tonight, but, I bet I’ll squeeze another trip in sometime this week.