Snowy Mountain Firetower – 8.6.17

On Sunday, Jordan had the day off, so he and I went hiking with my friend Skyler. I managed to convince him to hike a firetower that had been on my list for ages, Snowy Mountain. Located in Indian Lake, about a 2 hour drive North from us, it was labeled as one of the more challenging firetower hikes. This was perfect since we wanted to hike something challenging that wouldn’t take 10 hours. We got to the trailhead on the later side, around 11:15, and started hiking at 11:30.

The trail starts out very flat and continues along the Beaver Brook, making it an enjoyable hike. After about 2.5 miles the trail starts to climb steeply. It was wet, muddy, and reminiscent of many high peaks that I’ve hiked. Snowy misses the mark as a high peak, as it stands slightly under 4,000 feet of elevation.

The firetower is open, so you have the option to climb to the top for an exquisite view!

We found a nice rocky ledge to have our lunch on not far from the tower.

It had taken 2 hrs and 30 minutes to climb the 4 miles to the top. The last mile is very steep! It had been easier than I was expecting, though.

Snowy Mountain Firetower

Distance 8.1 mi RT
Time 6 hrs, including stops
Ascent 2,182 feet

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Friends Big Slide 46er Finish – 7.23.17

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. However, many things have happened in the past month since I’ve posted:

-I got a new job as an entry level dietitian (registration eligible!) at a long term care facility!

-I’m studying for the RD exam!

-I stayed at the Johns Brook Lodge and hiked Mount Haystack for the 2nd time on the Fourth of July

-I went to Norway for a 10 days (!)

-I hiked Algonquin for the 2nd time

-I hiked with 2 good friends for their 46er finish on Big Slide!

We had a beautiful day in the high peaks for my friends’ Jenna and Marget’s 46ers finish. Big Slide is such an awesome peak to finish on! It was my third time climbing it. We snagged the last spot in the Garden (luckily!) and started climbing!

There are such great views of the Great Range from the Brothers.

Woohoo! So proud!

Welcome to the club, Jenna and Margaret! From 46r #10007. ūüėÄ

Big Slide
Distance 7.7 mi RT
Ascent 3,087 ft
Total time 6 hrs, including stops

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Sawteeth and Indian Head – 6.24.17

Yesterday Skyler and I wanted to hike something big. Originally we were going to hike part of the Dix Range, but with some rain the AM forecast, I didn’t want to hike up the Macomb Slide, so we changed our plan to Sawteeth from the Ausable Club. I first hiked Sawteeth back in December 2013 with Jona, so it had been a while since I’ve been on this high peak. We pulled into the lot a little before 7am and were on Lake Road by 7:15AM. It was drizzling the entire walk in, thankfully we both had our rain gear!

As soon as we hit the bridge at Ausable Lake, the rain stopped and the sky began to clear. We hiked up the trail to Gothics/Sawteeth until reaching the junction at 9:50AM.

30 minutes later, we were at the summit! I forgot how steep this trail was!

There are nice views of the Great Range from Sawteeth. It turned out to be such a lovely day!

The hike out went by fast. We were back at lake road by 1pm and decided to hike to Indian Head on the way out. The views up here are spectacular! We got to Indian Head at 1:30, staying up there for about 20 minutes to have a snack and rest our legs.

I never get sick of this view.

Going down back to the road took a little under 30 minutes. Now we just had a four mile road walk and our feet were finally feeling the mileage. We got back to the car a little after 3:30pm where a cold beer awaited. It was another great day in the mountains.

Sawteeth and Indian Head
Distance 15.2 mi RT
Time 8 hrs, 45 minutes including stops
Ascent 3,868′

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Complete List of Hiking Gear

Being a 46er, I’ve acquired a lot of GEAR! And, I happen to be a gear junkie.¬†Fortunately, I can find pretty good deals online at sites such as Sierra Trading Post, Steep & Cheap, and REI Garage, so I’ve never paid full price for anything except for maybe a water filter. But if you found my blog because you’re looking to hike the 46 high peaks, look no further! Here I’m going to tell you what I find essential to bring on hikes and overnight backpacking trips. I don’t have the most lightweight and technically-advanced gear, so if you’re like me and have a budget, this is the list¬†for you. PS: none of this gear is sponsored! I’m providing the links to everything so you know where it can be purchased.

Gear for day hikes

Osprey Mira 25 L day hiking pack

I recently upgraded my pack when the zipper broke on my beloved Osprey Sirrus daypack. This pack is bigger by only one liter, but has more pockets. It also has Osprey’s anti-gravity system, making it a comfortable choice on the trail. So far, I really like it. It came with the¬†2.5 L Osprey Hydraulics reservoir¬†which I bring with me on hikes < 10 miles long.

Other items I bring on day hikes:
3 L Big Zip Platypus reservoir for hikes > 10 miles long + 1 liter Nalgene water bottle
Kelty trekking poles (these poles save your knees on those steep, rocky descents!)
Keene Durand¬†hiking boots (I think they have come to their end of life after hiking 30-some high peaks and numerous other hikes. I’ve switched to the¬†Keen Logan hiking boots, and I’ve only worn them for a few hikes so the verdict is still out on them!)
Salomon Ellipse Aero hiking shoes (I wear these on shorter hikes as they are a lot more light-weight than my other boots.)

Gear for backpacking trips/winter hikes

backpacking gear – dog not included

Gregory Amber 34 L pack  (This is my recently upgraded backpacking (1-2 nights) pack, also used for winter day hikes when I have to carry a lot more gear, like crampons and my Jetboil! Tent and sleeping pad easily attach to this pack, while the sleeping bag fits at the bottom.)
Backpack’s Cache¬†Bear Canister¬†(this bear can is approved for use in the Adirondacks, where black bears are active – I’m going to purchase a carrying case for my bear canister so it can be attached to the pack easier–just make sure to remove the case when storing your bear can so the bear doesn’t walk away with your food.)
1 L insulated Hydroflask water bottle (great for winter hikes because it prevents your water from freezing  and great hot day hikes because it keeps drinks cold when you add ice)
Jetboil Zip cooking system
MSR Miniworks water filter pump
Kelty Grand Mesa 2 three-season two-person tent
Kelty Tuck 22 degree sleeping bag
Alps Mountaineering lightweight sleeping pad (I don’t love this sleeping pad, so I’m in the process of upgrading!)
CAMP crampons (for winter hikes)
Kahtoola microspikes (for late fall/winter/spring hikes)
Thermos Stainless Steel 16 oz Insulated food jar (for winter hikes)
Thermos Stainless Steel 16 oz Insulated drink bottle (for winter hikes)

Clothing
Wool hiking socks and EMS sock liners
EMS Compass Trek Hiking Pants
Any tech-wick tank or t-shirt for summer hikes
EMS Excel 1/4 Zip Fleece Lined Hoodie (for cold weather hikes)
Marmot Snow Queen Ski Jacket (for winter hikes)
LL Bean Sweater Fleece Down Jacket (for cold weather hikes)
Northface rain shell (always keep in my pack)

What I keep in my pack at all times
Map, compass, matches, firestarter kit, pocket knife, first aid kit, blister kit, ACE bandage
Emergency bivvy
Titanium mug
SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger
Northface rain shell
Extra socks and long sleeve shirt
Extra energy bars
Sunblock, body glide (to prevent chafing!) bug spray & tick remover
In the winter: hand warmers, Jetboil, extra gloves


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How I Fuel for Long Hikes

Packing enough food for a long hike is so important. Fueling adequately beforehand is also key.¬†It is not fun to “hit the wall” during ¬†a long hike. Muscles need glucose (sugar) to form glycogen (the storage form of glucose) which¬†serves as fuel during your¬†hike. When you¬†run out of glycogen, you¬†“hit the wall”, which can lead to extreme fatigue (the same thing can happen¬†during long distance running or cycling!) ¬†Nobody wants to feel like that on a hike, so fueling appropriately before, during and after your hike is very important. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy for your muscles, while proteins provide the body with essential amino acids to help build and repair muscles. Making sure you pack enough quality foods for your hike is essential!

Breakfast

Before a long a hike, a mix of protein and carbs is best.¬†Usually I have an egg and cheese sandwich on a roll. When I was hiking the 46, I was getting up before sunrise and didn’t have time to prepare breakfast. If I was really ambitious I would microwave an egg to have on a bagel to eat on the way up, but I rarely had time for that. Stopping on the way for a grab-and-go egg and cheese was usually my best bet. I knew I’d be expending a lot¬†of calories and I wanted to eat something that would stick, keeping me full for a the first few hours of hiking.

Snacks/Lunch

If I was feeling a little bit hungry on the drive up, I’d snack on an apple or a mini cliff bar before starting the hike. Both of these provide carbohydrate. For lunch I would usually bring a bagel with cream cheese or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread. For other snacks high protein snacks, I’d bring hard boiled eggs, beef jerky, nuts, even some cheese to enjoy on the summit. Eating a snack high in protein helps repair your muscles after an intense climb. Sometime’s I’d even bring a Gu or another type of energy gel for quick and easy energy. They provide fast and easily digestible carbohydrate that can be eaten while hiking. Honey packets or applesauce/pureed fruit packets are also great options for quick, easily-transportable energy. In the winter, I always make sure to bring a thermos of vegetable lentil soup, which provides salt, protein, and some carbohydrate, plus–there’s something special¬†about having a hot meal on a cold day in the mountains!

Hydration

Bringing enough water during your long hike is key, especially during warm weather. In the summer, during long hikes I bring 4 liters of water (3 L bladder + 1 L bottle) along with a water filter so I can filter water from a stream if it’s needed. When I hiked the Dix Range last summer on a hot day, I drank the entire 4 liters. If you find you are a salty sweater, it wouldn’t hurt to bring some electrolyte tablets, such as Nuun, a bottle of Gatorade, or even salt tablets. On a super hot day, I keep a frozen bottle of Gatorade in my pack next to my hydration bladder. It keeps the bladder cold and eventually thaws, leaving a nice cold beverage. Rehydrating (with something other than a craft beer!) after your hike is also extremely important–so leaving a cooler full of ice cold water and gatorade in your car for post-hike rehydration is a fantastic idea!

Hiking Snack Ideas

What are some of your favorite snack ideas for hiking?

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