Blackhead Mountian

Yesterday I took a day off from work to hike with my friend Brendan. He had the whole week off for vacation and Monday’s weather was looking fantastic, so I suggested we go down to the Catskills. I found three mountains we could hike, but ultimately decided just do one to make it a short day: Blackhead Mountain, the fifth highest Catskill peak, part of the 35 over 3,500 ft.

We parked at the Big Hollow parking lot in Maplecrest and started our hike at 11:00AM. Late for me! The first mile or so of trail was relatively easy and flat, a nice little walk in the woods with a few stream crossings. Then we started climbing, up up up along a very rocky trail! Thankfully it was only about 1 mile of climbing to the first view point on Blackhead.



The first and only real view we got.


A short walk ontop of the mountain lead us to the true summit, a flat rock to sit and rest and eat a snack, but no view. Boo!



Just a few signs, but no summit marker, at least none that we found.


We were a little worried about running into a bear but we saw none. We did see about five snakes, though. Eek. One last stop at the view point, where we heard talking. Turns out there were people on the neighboring Black Dome Mountain, which we could see from our mountain. There was nobody else on Blackhead.


This made for a nice quick hike, as it took us under three hours to hike the whole thing.  It is rated as difficult for Catskill standards, but I found it enjoyable.  I’ll probably go back soon and hike the neighboring Black Dome and Thomas Cole since I’m now familiar with the area!

Blackhead Mountain
4.8 mi RT from Big Hollow
1,922′ Ascent
3,942′ Elevation
Catskill 3500 Rank: 5 of 35

Country Long Run

Sunday was my first “long run longer than a half marathon” for this marathon training cycle! At 9 am I went out for a 16 mile run, the longest I’ve run since May 26, 2013. The run went pretty well, despite being muggy out. I ran on some back roads near my house and it was gorgeous. There were numerous gardens, rolling hills and farms to see.





I was planning on doing two 8 mile loops with a stop at my house, but then decided against it because there was a slight chance I might not want to go back out after coming home. So I packed a Camelbak with 50oz of water and a Gu and off I went. The run took a little over three hours because the route I chose wasn’t exactly flat.


I did see some interesting things on my run, including some white geese running through the woods, a deer, and this cute little guy chained up in someone’s driveway.


I was losing energy by the end of my run, mostly because it was really hot and I ran out of water on the last mile. I also should have brought more calories, since one Gu wasn’t enough for that long of a run. Marathon training finally feels real, and I am very excited to run 26.2 again in October.

Owl’s Head Mountain

Saturday I finally got to take my parents on an Adirondack hike! The last time I hiked with them it was 2009 and we hiked to the Hadley Mountain firetower. They loved it, but hadn’t hiked anything since. Saturday was the day. I picked Owls Head in Keene because it is an easy hike with outstanding views.


I was a bit worried about the rain, but it held off, and we could see in all directions! There are many view points all along the .6 mile trail to the summit.











It took us about 45 minutes to get to the top and right as we got there it started to sprinkle. Perfect timing. We saved our lunches to eat when we got back to the car rather than sticking around in the rain.



The rain clouds came rolling in shortly, by the time we got back to the car it started raining heavier. Perfect timing. I was happy to experience a hike with my parents and to show them how awesome the views are around here. Now they get why I’m driving up here every weekend. :-D


Owls Head Mountain
1.2 mi RT

Elevation: 2120′

Mountains Beyond Mountains – 12 Months of Hiking

Sometime at the end of last year I made it a point to hike at least one mountain a month. Well, it’s been a year and I successfully accomplished my goal! It all began in August of 2013 when Christine and I hiked Crane Mountain near Lake George.


I hadn’t hiked in a good two years, and I was itching to get back out there! After reading about the 46 high peaks, I hiked my first two that same month, Cascade and Porter. It was amazing.


Here’s a look back at my last 12 months of hiking.

August 2013 – Crane Mountain, Cascade Mountain, Porter Mountain


September 2013 – Blueberry Mountain


October 2013 – Tabletop Mountain


November 2013 – Mount Colvin and Blake Peak


December 2013 – Sawteeth (microspikes used)


January 2014 – Phelps Mountain (snowshoes used)


February 2014 – Slide Mountain (snowshoes used)


March 2014 – Buck Mountain (snowshoes used)


April 2014 – Panther Mountain and Giant Ledge


May 2014 – Windham High Peak and the Burnt Knob Loop


June 2014 – Big Slide and the Three Brothers, Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge


July 2014 -Dippikill Mountain (trail run), Mount Haystack


I’m really lucky to live in a place that allows me an easy drive to two different mountain ranges, the Catskills, which are South, and the Adirondacks, which are North. How does it get any better than that?


Let’s hope I have another great year of hiking!


Mount Haystack and the Johns Brook Lodge

Saturday was a great day to tackle a high peak! Chris was visiting from Ohio this past weekend (and also defended his dissertation and now officially has his doctorate! Yay Chris!) and to make things more exciting we also had a hike on tap. Our friends Meredith and John wanted to hike a high peak (they have already done all 46 and want to hike some of them again!) and stay in the ADK Mountain Club’s John’s Brook Lodge for a night. When they asked if we were interested I said of course!

The JBL is a lodge located 3.5 miles from the Garden Parking lot in Keene Valley and is a popular place for hikers to set up a base camp for hiking the high peaks. We knew to pack lightly since it is a 3.5 mile hike from the parking lot into the camp, so we brought just the basics for an overnight: sleeping bags, pillow cases and a few other things to drop off there Saturday morning before our hike. The JBL also provides all of your meals during the summer, so it’s a pretty sweet deal if you want to do some really long, strenuous hikes and want someplace nice to stay other than a lean-to or a tent.


We stayed in the small 4 person bunk! They provide you will a pillow and a wool blanket, you bring the rest!


We dropped off some stuff into our room and off we went to hike Mount Haystack, the third highest peak in New York!



Haystack was about 5.5 miles from the Lodge, so in total, we hiked about 9 miles to get to the summit. The trail up was very enjoyable and time went by really fast! We even ran into some summit stewards who gave us some information on the rare alpine vegetation on the summit! The last half mile or so is completely exposed, with some great view of the high peaks, and the neighboring Mount Marcy!



With only a little bit left until the summit, we got some great views of Little Haystack and Mount Haystack, it looks deceiving!





Views from the top.


11th High Peak!



We enjoyed a quick snack on the summit, but a dark cloud rolled in and it got very cold, so we didn’t stop for long! We had a 5.5 mile trek back to the JBL where a nice hot dinner was waiting. We were determined not to miss the 6:30 PM dinner bell.  The last few miles felt like they took FOREVER. The big rocks were starting to hurt my feet, and I just wanted to sit after 10 hours of hiking. Think about it…I was hiking for longer than a day at work. Crazy.

Finally we saw the lodge!! We got cleaned up a bit, and sat down to an awesome dinner of BBQ chicken and cornbread. There was even home made ice cream and brownies for dessert. It was pretty amazing, considering the JBL staff hikes in all the food a few times a week.


The next day it was pouring when we got up. We had breakfast of  pancakes, bacon and fruit, and then made our way back to the car in the rain, which was okay since all we had to do was drive home.

Mount Haystack
High Peak Rank: 3
Elevation: 4960′
Ascent: 3570′
10.8 mi RT from the JBL
17.8 mi RT from Garden Parking lot