Seymour Mountain

With last Monday's hike up Cliff Mountain, I had three peaks left. Seymour, Esther and Whiteface. Seymour was orphaned in August after hiking most of the Seward Range, so driving the 3+ hours to Saranac Lake had to be done. I was not particularly looking forward to this hike, either. I planned to make a weekend of it and hike Seymour on Saturday and finishing the 46 with Esther and Whiteface on Sunday. I left home at 4AM Saturday morning and was on the trail to Seymour by 7:45. I met a new hiking friend at the trail head (One of my 46er friends connected us so so I didn't have to hike solo!) I was worried the parking lot was going to be empty and we'd be the only people on the mountain. Boy was I wrong. It was FULL! The first 5.2 miles of the hike is relatively flat, following the blueberry hiking path. It was a gorgeous fall day. img_4692 It went by pretty quickly and before we knew it, we were at the Ward Brook Leanto (at 9:45AM). img_4676 The herdpath to Seymour is marked by a cairn on the right just shortly after passing the Ward Brook Leanto. It starts out gradual but soon climbs steeply. Eventually you see the slide. On this day, it was wet. And muddy. Very muddy. I don't have any pictures of this section, but believe me, it was muddy. Eventually the herd path keeps right to avoid the slide. We made our way up slowly, arriving at the ridge (thankfully), passing by the lookout at the top, and then finally hitting the summit t 11:48AM. I was so happy to see the summit sign I nearly cried. img_4681 There were great views just beyond the sign at a small lookout. But after snapping our summit pictures, we headed back to the first lookout that we passed on the way to the summit to stop for food. img_4691 img_4682   img_4690 There's a nice view of ampersand lake and ampersand mountain. img_4688 To the far left of the ledge you can get a great view of Seward, Donaldson and Emmons. After stopping at the ledge for about 10 minutes to sit and eat our lunches, we headed back down, dreading the descent down the atrocious slide. I don't think I've seen that much mud on a hike, ever. I also ripped what was probably my 5th pair of hiking pants during my 46ers journey due to butt sliding down the mountain. At about 2:15 we reached the cairn marking the start of herd path, and now it was just an easy walk back to the car. We made it back at about 4:45 pm, in just under 9 hours total, including our breaks. My hiking partner and I both enjoyed a beer at the car when we were done...it was well deserved! Seymour Mountain (44/46) 15 mi RT from Corey's Road trailhead Elevation 4,055' Ascent 2,676 Total Time (including stops) 9 hours screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-7-08-05-am Gear used: Northface rain shell, Kelty trekking poles, Kelty Amber backpack, Keene Durand hiking boots, EMS Gore-tex gaiters, Cloudline hiking socks, Platypus 3L bladder, LL Bean fleece gloves, Nike baselayer long sleeve, and EMS hiking pants
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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. img_4619 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!
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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!
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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.
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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'
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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
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A Visit to Salem

Last weekend, my friend Lyndsay and I drove to Massachusetts for a wedding! Two of our good friends from college were getting married! The wedding venue was only 20 minutes from Salem, a place we'd both been wanting to visit. We met my sister and her husband at Gulu Gulu cafe for lunch and drinks. I got the nitro cold brew coffee--it was so good. It looks just like a stout! img_4401 We only had about an hour to check out the Witch City. As you probably know, Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials back in 1692. Everyone remembers reading The Crucible in school, right? The building below is the last standing structure from the Witch Trials era. It was home to the judge of the trials. img_4406 img_4402 After wandering around the streets of Salem a little bit more, Lyndsay and I went back to our hotel in Peabody. We took a Lyft car to the wedding in Danvers, which was amazing. I'm so annoyed that the Albany area doesn't have Uber or Lyft services yet. It would be super convenient for times like these. Anyway, the wedding venue was incredible! img_4412 img_4414 img_4413 It was such a gorgeous evening. Congrats to my friends Melissa and Nico! 14470423_10100301965201632_4323682824664974663_n The next morning, Lyndsay and I decided to take advantage of the nice day and head back into Salem to explore some more. We hit some witch shops, saw a witch trials reenactment, got a tour of the Witch Dungeon, and then stopped at the Burying Point, the oldest cemetery in Salem. Inside are the graves of a Mayflower pilgrim and witchcraft trial judge John Hathorne. img_4424 img_4426 img_4432 img_4431 It was very eerie in there. I can't believe how old these gravestones are. After wandering around the cemetery, we walked to the Salem Beer Works for lunch, heading home afterward.
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Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service Review

After hearing about Blue Apron (and the many other meal-delivery services out there), I finally decided to try it. I picked Blue Apron because I had a discount code for three 2-person meals for $19.99 ($59.00 regularly) and because I've been in a recipe rut and hate grocery shopping. Note: this is not a sponsored review, just my honest opinion in case you were curious about these meals. Friday my first box of food got delivered in a large box filled with ice packs to keep the food cold. I wasn't home at the time but Jordan unpacked it all and put everything away, so it was in the fridge when I got home. They sent three recipe cards, along with labeled ingredients, indicating what goes with which recipe. img_4369 Last night I decided to make the Basque-Style Cod. On the back side of the recipe card, there are step-by-step instructions on how to cook the meal. img_4359 I followed it as I would a normal recipe, it was super easy. If you have any basic cooking knowledge at all, it will be be a breeze. The grain in this recipe was freekeh, something I had never heard of before. Similar to farro, it is an ancient grain made from durum wheat. Freekeh is a good source of protein and fiber, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important for eye health. It is also great for the gut--it's a prebiotic that can increase the healthy bacteria in your intestines which improves digestion. img_4353 While the freekeh was cooking, I chopped up the pepper, onion, garlic. Unfortunately when chopping the pepper I found some mold inside. Yikes! But I actually had some peppers in the fridge so I didn't have to miss out on that ingredient. I took a picture of the mold and immediately emailed Blue Apron. They responded quickly and provided me with a $9.99 discount on my next delivery. That was pretty awesome of them! img_4355 img_4356 img_4357 Next I made the parsley and almond relish. The directions said to chop it up into a paste-like consistency, which I found difficult to do with a knife, so I threw it in my food processor to get the appropriate texture. img_4354 img_4361 The relish called for olive oil, but I didn't have any on hand (that's one of the few ingredients they don't give you, along with salt and pepper), so I used almond oil instead! Then I made the sauce,  cooking the onions, garlic and pepper, adding in the vinegar, spices they provided, and oil. It called for olive oil and since I was out, I used avocado oil instead. It came out great! img_4360 Next I added the can of tomatoes they provided. img_4358 Then I quickly cooked the cod with a little bit of salt and pepper. img_4363 In about 45 minutes, the meal was complete! img_4364 img_4365 The verdict: it was delicious! The flavors were bright and everything was very fresh. The meal served two very generous portions. I plated them both and put one in the fridge for Jordan and enjoyed mine for dinner. Overall, I was really happy with my first Blue Apron meal! I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves to cook and wants to try new recipes but hates shopping for random ingredients.
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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

IMG_3111 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

IMG_2652 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

IMG_2680 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. 🙂 
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