Fall in the ADK and Hiking Cliff Mountain

This past weekend was prime for leaf peeping in the Adirondacks! Sunday morning I drove up to Keene Valley to hike one of my favorites, Indian Head! Last summer Christine and I hiked it and I couldn’t wait to come back.  Just look at this view.


Monday was my first day off since Labor Day! Brendan and I drove up to the Upper Works trailhead in Newcomb to go back for Cliff, a peak we orphaned back in May when we hiked Redfield. It was going to be a long day.

It was in the mid 30s when we got to the trailhead. Brrr! We got there around 7 and were on the trail by 7:15. The parking lot was crowded, but we were wondering where they all were since we didn’t see many people on the trail. The 4.5 mile hike in to the Flowed Lands was uneventful. We passed the time chatting. When we got there, we signed in and headed to the Uphill Lean-to. We got to the Lake Colden bridge at 9:40am.
Looks like winter here
Looks like winter here
Then it was up, up, up to the Uphill Lean-to. We got there at around 11:45 and stopped for a brief snack before taking the herdpack on the right to Cliff/Redfield, marked with a cairn. I forgot the herdpath splits and Cliff’s goes to the right, and Redfield’s continues along the Opalescent. At 11:15 we were climbing Cliff.
We got some nice views while climbing. There was ice on the neighboring peaks!  Winter is coming!
The bog was a sloppy mess, but the “cliffy” sections of cliff weren’t as bad as I was expecting. There were lots of hand holds and tree roots to hold onto. There was only one small section where I needed a boost.
We arrived at the summit at 12:30, which was 8.8 miles from Upper Works. We made pretty good time!
Descending was a lot easier. It included a lot of butt sliding. I had to take my pack off and throw it down first before going down some sections.
After descending the final cliff, our friend took off to hike Redfield, while Brendan and I made our way back to the Uphill Lean-to for lunch. We got back there at 1:40. We shared some lentil soup and cookies. Perfect for a chilly fall day! We also had a visitor, a little Pine Marten! So cute!
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We started heading back at around 2. Again, the hike out was uneventful. We got back to the bridge over Lake Colden at 3:00, stopping for a snack for about 5 minutes. It turned out to be a gorgeous fall day.
Our speedy friend caught back up with us with a few miles left so we all hiked out together.
We arrived back at the car at 5:45. It was a long, but enjoyable day in the mountains. I’ve got three high peaks left. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
Cliff Mountain
17.5 mi RT from Upper Works
10.5 hours, including stops
Elevation 3,944′
Ascent 2,691′
Gear Used: EMS Gore-Tex gaiters, EMS hiking pants, ExOfficio long sleeve, Reebok puffy vest, LL Bean fleece gloves, Osprey Sirrus day pack, Kelty trekking poles, Keene Durand hiking boots, Smartwool socks, 3L Platypus hydration bladder

Gear Review – What I Used and Loved During the Trip

I meant to publish this post a few weeks back, but time got away from me! I wanted to do a quick review of the gear I used during our trip this past July. Here is what I loved.

Salomon Women’s Ellipse Aero Hiking Shoe 

I was on on the fence about getting new hiking shoes just for this trip, but I am SO glad I did. My usual hiking boots are big, clunky and hot. These Salomons were perfect for this trip. Most of the hikes we did were on well-worn paths. Some were on Utah’s slickrock trails. Since it was so dry, I had no problem in these shoes. They were comfortable and supportive and did not weigh me down!

Gregory Women’s Pace 5 Hydration Pack


I originally got this hydration pack for trail running, but it worked great for this trip. It has a 1.5 oz bladder, which was perfect for the shorter hikes we did. I always had it with me on our Utah hikes, because it was so hot, it was important to have easy access to water at all times. It was great! It also had a pocket on the shoulder strap for your phone, keys, etc., as well as a pretty big main pocket for your lightweight jacket, map, headlamp, and first aid kit.

Tasc Performance District Capri


These are hands-down, my favorite piece of clothing from tasc performance. They are comfortable, stretchy, and still look cute. They are awesome for hiking (although maybe not in wet weather since they do take some time to dry) as well as just walking around or going to dinner. I wore them constantly during this trip!

LL Bean Freeport Flannel Shirt


I had a gift card for LL bean to use so opted to get one of their versatile flannels. This one was perfect for the chilly San Francisco weather. I also wore it during our hike in Muir Woods. It is now my go-to outer layer when out and about!

Tasc Performance Hit the Trail Skirt

Hiking in a skirt is not something I thought I’d ever do, but this one was so comfortable, I decided to try it (It was toward the end of the trip and was low on clean laundry…) So, not only did this skirt serve its purpose for going out to dinner in the evenings, I hiked it in it to Delicate Arch–a 3.2 mile hike in Arches National Park.

Disclaimer: I am a tasc performance brand ambassador! tasc provided me with clothing in exchange for my review and social media posts. All opinions are still my own, though! Everything else I purchased. 🙂 


Mountain Biking in Klondike Bluffs, Moab, Utah

Our last full day of the trip was an action-packed one. Jordan and I were on the fence about renting mountain bikes during the trip, but decided to go for it on the last day. We were in Moab, after all, where some of the best and most famous mountain biking trails are located. Our hotel was also right across from the best bike rental shop in Moab, Poison Spider. The night before we picked out and got fit for our bikes. I chose an Ibis Mojo HD3, an extremely high end, 27.5 wheel size, carbon fiber, full suspension mountain bike. We asked our friends who had come to Moab previously on a mountain biking trip where the best place to go would be. They recommended Klondike Bluffs, just outside of Moab. The guys at Poison Spider installed a suction-cup bike rack on our rental vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, while we picked out the bikes.  We brought them home for the night so we could get up early and hit the trails the next morning. We parked at the North trail head off of 191 since the South Entrance was closed. The trail names are dinosaur themed because dinosaur footprints can be seen on the trail. Crazy! Here is a great description of the trails.


It was unlike any mountain biking I’ve ever done! It was so different out here because it was so wide open! I’m so used to riding through the woods, afraid of hitting trees, I actually enjoyed riding these open trails much more.






Riding the Ibis Mojo was amazing. I can see why it is such an expensive bike. I felt comfortable on it and it rolled over every rock effortlessly!



Can you spot the jack rabbit?



I was worried it would be hard to find the trail, but they were marked very well.









Green Lizard Guy

We stuck to mostly beginner/intermediate trails and rode 11.3 miles total in about 1 hr, 45 minutes.

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We were so glad we decided to rent bikes. We got out early (around 7:30) to beat the heat. It started to get hot fast, and by the time we were done it was in the high 80s.

For lunch we went to the Quesadilla Mobilla, a food truck in Moab serving what else–quesadillas! They were delicious! We liked them so much that Jordan and I ate lunch here two days in a row. Yum! When can we move to Moab?


The Southern Belle – Shredded beef with cheddar/jack cheese, sautéed corn, sautéed onions and roasted sweet potatoes



Summer Solstice 14K Trail Run

Last Wednesday Jenna and I went down to Lake Minnewaska State Park Preserve near New Paltz for the Summer Solstice 14K trail race. It was the perfect night. The race started near the upper parking lot and ran uphill to Castle Point. It was straight uphill for 3.5 miles. From there, it goes back down back to the start making a big loop. It’s part of the same course as the After the Leaves Half Marathon that they hold in November.

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Jenna and I took a van down with the Albany Running Exchange! It was nice to not have to worry about driving down so late in the afternoon. The race started at 6:30PM.

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View from the course

There were gorgeous bushes of Mountain Laurel blooming all through the course. It was wonderful!


I love that the race has so many awesome views and takes place on wide carriage trails.




I finished in about 1hr, 35 minutes. Post-race refreshments included watermelon, strawberries and lots of other goodies! After staying for the awards (a lot of ARE members won in their age categories!), we got back in the van and headed back to Albany.  Minnewaska is really one of my favorite spots.



Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon

Back in the fall I signed up for my 5th marathon, the Maine Coast Marathon, as well as the half marathon, in the same weekend. After months of slacking on training (I only did two back to back long runs, I was supposed to do them every other week), I wasn’t sure I was up for the 39.3 challenge. My goal for the weekend was to run the half marathon on Saturday conservatively to save energy for the next day, have fun, and to feel good. I wanted to finish the half and then evaluate for Sunday. I didn’t tell many people I was running both races because my head was full of doubts that I could run both back to back.

Friday rolled around and it was time for Jordan and I to drive to Kennebunk, Maine. I had never been to Maine was was super excited to check out the Maine Coast. (Turns out, I love Maine.)


We stayed right in Kennebunk, a short drive to the coast and to the marathon start/finish area. The half began in Biddeford at the University of New England campus, about a 20 minute drive from our motel.  A few of my good friends were running the half marathon, so it was loads of fun to hang out in Maine with them.


The day turned out to be much warmer than expected. Thankfully I opted for the ARE tank top! The sun was beating down during the entire race.


I took it slow and enjoyed the scenic views, making sure to walk the hills (there weren’t that many), and to drink at each water station to stay properly hydrated. My goal was to finish feeling strong because I’d have to run double the distance the following day. One thing was for sure, the views during the half marathon were incredible!









Despite the warm temperature, I felt great the whole race. My legs felt fresh. I was feeling good! I finished the half in 2:25:04, just over an 11 minute mile. Okay. I felt good and decided to at least start the marathon the next day.

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Jordan got to take his road bike out and ride some of the course–he found me near the end to cheer me on! The medal we got was awesome-a mermaid with a bottle opener.

Even though it was a hot race and not everyone hit their goals, we still had fun out there.


The race provided runners with 1 slice of pizza and two Shipyard beers! It was kind of early when we finished, so we didn’t have our beers, but we had plans to visit some Maine breweries later on.

After we showered, we drove to Portland. We first stopped at Bissell Brothers, followed by Allagash Brewing.


Free beer tasting, anyone? They were so good!


Portland was such a cool town. We loved it! I can’t wait to go back and explore more.


So, Day 1 of Maine Coast Marathon weekend was complete. Next up: the full marathon! Stay tuned…