Swing into Summer

“Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul” – Christopher Forrest McDowell

On June 21, the first day of Summer, we took a hike at David Weld Sanctuary in Nissequogue, on the North Shore of Long Island.  So it turns out I’ve spent decades living just a few miles from this peaceful haven for birds, deer….and of course people; and never visited.  I’d heard of it but always passed by the parking lot on Nissequogue River Road on the way to Short Beach and didn’t give it a second thought.

We’ve been back a few times in the past month and will tell and show you some of the most fun and interesting parts we have explored so far.  As a special treat we have some fun videos and a poll at the end of this post – don’t forget to check it out!!

The hike through the preserve can be done in various routes, some as long as 3-5 miles if you take some of the side trails just before

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Cloudy with a Chance of Bears

** Written by Sofia (8) and Brandon (11) **

Sofia – “Yesterday I went hiking and camping at Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks.  They are located in Upstate New York and it was 90 miles to drive there.  First we drove to the top of Bear Mountain and we hiked down a little to look at the valley and trees.”


Top of Bear Mountain

Top of Bear Mountain


Sofia – “At the Perkins Tower, we climbed up 4 stories to the top.  I saw an amazing view.  It had all these mountains and trees.

Brandon – “On every floor of the tower there was pictures of different times in the history of Bear Mountain and what it looked like.  People used to take steam ships to get to the bottom of Bear Mountain”.

Perkins Tower

Perkins Tower


Sofia – “After we came out of the tower we hiked on the Appalachian Trail and we

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The Woodpecker Games

From Brandon, age 11…


On Sunday we had some time before dinner so my dad and I got to go on a cool hike around Miller’s Pond in Smithtown.  When we got there our car almost went into the shallow edge of the pond when my dad got out of the car without putting the car in park.  I jumped out of the car and my dad jumped back in and hit the brake.  It was scary at first then but after it was funny.


The pond had a lot of ducks in it.  It also had 1 swan.  There were people fishing and a lady reading a book in her car.  We started hiking around the pond along the Greenbelt Trail, which is 32 miles across Long Island.  You can start at Sunken Meadow and finish at Heckscher Park or the other way around.  We were somewhere in the middle.  When we were on the trail we saw lots of birds, trees that had fallen down and then cut and moved off the trail and some flowers starting to grow.  After walking through this part of the trail, we crossed over

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Long Cold Winter

Everyone on Long Island is well aware of the insane prolonged weather we had to put up with, so that’s an explanation or an excuse as to why our site has been dormant since November.  We promise you things are about to pick up once again on 1Quest2theNext.  We took our first 2014 hike a few days ago and will post in a bit.  To sum up what little outdoor fun we had on LI since mid November, we are just going to publish a set of photos.  Hope you enjoy, and please visit often as we go on new adventures this Spring (now that it’s really Spring!).


5+ mile hike w/ Brandon in November from Kings Park Bluff -> Nissequogue River St. Park -> woods leading up to Smithtown Landing CC and back on the LI Greenbelt

5+ mile hike w/ Brandon in November from Kings Park Bluff -> Nissequogue River St. Park -> woods leading up to Smithtown Landing CC and back on the LI Greenbelt

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LI Greenbelt Trail: Boys Hiking Weekend Pt. 2

I guess we were inspired from our 6 miles on the trails at Muttontown Preserve yesterday and instead of running this morning Brandon and I completed a 5.5 mile section of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail just South of the LIE.  Brandon wrote yesterday’s post on his own and those are so much more interesting than mine, but he’s tired so we are sharing the responsibility tonight 🙂

We started off at Lakeland County Park and hiked through Connetquot River State Park Preserve ending at the South entrance in Oakdale.  We have been to the Preserve several times in the past year – I’ve run the Blue Trail (well, most 6.5 of 8 miles, lots of soft sand that I’m not great running on), passed through the Preserve last Sunday running from Lakeland Park to the South trailhead of the LI Greenbelt in Heckscher Park.  Also, we’ve gone to Frog Night at the preserve and held toads and frogs from the Main Pond.  The kids have gone a few other times as well on the shorter trails; enjoying the horses and checking out the reptiles and amphibians in the main office.

This first photo below is from last week and already the colors have shifted to a less colorful shade.  The light and dark green, yellow, brown and reds of the woodlands surrounded us and Continue reading

Lost and Found in Muttontown

**written by Brandon, age 10**

This morning we drove to Muttontown Preserve.  A lot of our family lives near there.  I went with my younger sister Mia, my dad and my mom.  We packed KIND bars, waters, cameras, a compass, GPS watch and dressed for cold weather.  It still felt cold anyway.

My dad went to the Preserve last year with my 3 younger sisters but I couldn’t go that day.  There are many different trails and it is called part of the Gold Coast estates on the North Shore.  But when my dad and sisters went they couldn’t go really all the way through the Preserve.  We wanted to go all the way to the Walled Garden and the Ruins.

The Ruins were originally a huge mansion deep inside the woods.  It was owned by many people and then King Zog from Albania purchased it in 1951 and never moved in.  Later he sold it, but it was very mysterious.  People said that he buried his treasure in the mansion walls and a lot of people ransacked the house to try to find his treasure.  Later on the estate was demolished because it was falling apart.  I really wanted to go and see Continue reading

Step into the Weekend

Have you crashed and burned from all the candy last night?  The 1Quest2theNext kids sorted all their candy after trick or treating and a lot of it seems to have ‘disappeared’ already.  It wasn’t me.  Brandon bit into a candy bar while going through the neighborhood and now his already-loose tooth is hanging in the weirdest position and won’t come out.  Yikes!  More painful than the Knicks loss by a point last night.

I focused on the leftovers from our own candy bowl;  Skittles, Kit Kats and some Snickers I threw in the freezer first.  I’m on a no sugar diet today.  We will all have to work it off this weekend…

Brandon is doing a 4k tomorrow in Northport.  There are nature activities all through the weekend at Caleb Smith and Caumsett as well as in the Hamptons and Montauk.  You can go beach combing, wake up early for the Solar Eclipse Sunday morning or check out owls and other nocturnal animals at the Sweetbriar Nature Center tonight.  Oh, and don’t forget Sunday’s Half Hollow Hills Wellness Fair and 5k Run we covered recently!

Check out our Upcoming Events Calendar and have a great weekend…

https://1quest2thenext.com/upcoming-events/ Continue reading

Bluff to the Beach Hike

**Story by Brandon, Sofia and Mia**

From Brandon, 10:  Yesterday me and 2 of my sisters went on a hike on the Long Island Greenbelt Trail.  We started at the Kings Park Bluff and hiked all the way to Sunken Meadow Beach.  Along the way we walked through the woods, going uphill and downhill, and also got to look out over the Long Island Sound.  I saw chipmunks, squirrels, a lot of birds including Bluejays.  There were a few people on the trail; some running and some walking with their dog.  But a lot of the time it was just us.

When we got to Sunken Meadow State Park we reached the trailhead for the Greenbelt Trail just over a bridge.  We went to a playground and there was a high school cross-country race and lots of people cheering!

After awhile it got cold so we started back.  Even though we followed the white tree blazes for the Greenbelt on the first part of our hike, on the way back to the Bluff we went left onto the Yellow Trail for a little while and got closer to Continue reading

Love/Hate Friday


Friday morning:  Deciding where I want my Saturday morning run to take me.  Off road if I can help it.  A boardwalk, loop around a pond, some trails.  I probably think about it the whole train ride to work.

Don’t Love:

Friday night:  Shoot, where the heck am I running in the morning?

Hate, but typical:

Saturday 5:30am.  (Sitting in my car in the driveway) Ok where am I going?

Greenbelt Trail

Greenbelt Trail

There are too many running locations that interest me, that I want to do them all and can’t make a decision.  It’s not like I’ll never run again, I should just take a risk and Continue reading