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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

August 2013 – Crane Mountain, Cascade Mountain, Porter Mountain

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September 2013 – Blueberry Mountain

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October 2013 – Tabletop Mountain

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November 2013 – Mount Colvin and Blake Peak

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December 2013 – Sawteeth (microspikes used)

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January 2014 – Phelps Mountain (snowshoes used)

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February 2014 – Slide Mountain (snowshoes used)

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March 2014 – Buck Mountain (snowshoes used)

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April 2014 – Panther Mountain and Giant Ledge

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May 2014 – Windham High Peak and the Burnt Knob Loop

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

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

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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?

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

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

 

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Views from the top.

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11th High Peak!

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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.

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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

2014 Trail Running Camp at Dippikill

This past weekend I finally participated in something I’ve been wanting to do for a while–but couldn’t for various reasons–the ARE’s Trail Running Camp! TRC is a three night getaway at Camp Dippikill in the Adirondacks for runners who want to learn more about/experience some trail running. It’s open to runners of all abilities and is pretty much a guaranteed fun time.

Thursday night

I arrived at around 4:45 on Thursday night, checked in and got my bib for the evening’s run, along with our handbook and our Frog. The theme of camp is Frogs–because of the Froggy Five Mile Race held on Sunday. Frogs were everywhere!

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I was staying in Garnet Lodge with my friend Loretta, once of the nicer lodges on the facility. We had electric, woohoo!

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After getting settled in we had a 5:30PM group run. We got to meet our fellow campers and had the option of running various trails throughout the woods around Dippikill. I chose a shorter 1 mile loop and did it twice. It was such a nice night for running.

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After our run, we had some dinner (all meals were provided for us, cooked by the awesome John, one of the staff members at camp!) and an orientation, followed by s’mores. Also, the camp was BYOB so campers must be 21+ and are allowed to bring their own adult beverages. :-D

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Yes! It really felt like Summer camp for adults (which it pretty much was)–which is fun for me since I never went to summer camp as a kid.

Friday

Friday morning we had another run. I chose the Pond loop, a 2.6 mi look down to Dippikill Pond. It was gorgeous!

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After the morning run, I went to a seminar on running injuries, which was really interesting. We learned some important ways to prevent injuries (LESS SITTING!) and how to properly stretch. Followed by that, I went to the first yoga class of the day. We had the option of going to ab workout class, but I chose yoga instead.

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The yoga was intense and was something my tight running legs needed. I hadn’t done yoga in a long time. After yoga, it was time for swimming. Or better yet, kayaking! There were canoes and kayaks down by the lake so I grabbed a kayak and just paddled around the pond for a bit, while the other swam. It was nice and relaxing.

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After our pond adventure, there was more yoga. This session focused on stretching the hips and IT band, and it hurt! But in a good way. After dinner there was trivia. This was really fun and our team tied for first place, which was awesome. There was also an ice cream social. :-D

Saturday

Saturday was the Run & Tube event. This was open to other ARE members, so a few people came up just for this. Saturday morning we took vans to a tubing company in Lake Luzurne, where the tubing bus dropped us off five miles from the launch point on the Hudson River. We ran the five miles (or had an option of three miles), down.  I was kind of worried about how tired my legs would be but they held up fine.  It was time to cool off after our run.

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We really had the perfect weekend for all this.

When we got back to camp, we had some down time. After dinner there was the famous Talent Show, which was really fun. Some of the skits were hilarious. It ended with a video recapping the weekend.

Sunday morning

Sunday was the last day of TRC :-( and the Froggy Five Mile Trail Race! The race/run goes all the way up Dippikill Mountain and back down again. I just wanted to enjoy it and did a run/hike, since I was determined NOT to fall and get injured.

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The race start.

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So many frogs.

At the halfway point of the race, there was a summit and a gorgeous view of the Adirondacks. I stopped just in time to take picture and then went on my way. And just because I’m a hiking nerd, I had to find: out the summit of Dippikill is 1,562′ in elevation. I was worried again about how tired my legs would feel, but they were fine. I think the yoga and stretching helped a lot.

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I finished in 1 hour, 11 minutes, which is pretty slow, but who cares. I just wanted to enjoy it. There was a BBQ following the Froggy Five and with that–camp was over. We squeezed a lot in over the three days and it was so much fun. The ARE does such a great job at organizing this event, I was really impressed. It was one of the best weekends of my summer so far, because I got do everything I truly love in one weekend: trail running/hiking, kayaking, yoga, spending the entire weekend outdoors enjoying my favorite place, the Adirondacks. I’m definitely going to try to go back next year!

Saratoga Springs Half Marathon

Good morning and happy Monday! A couple weeks ago I made the last minute decision to run the a new local races, the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon located in the Saratoga Spa State Park! With about 350 runners, this was a smaller race. The race started at 7:30am right near the Peerless Pool at the park, there were lots of spots to park, and no long lines for bathrooms or packet pickup. Now that’s what I like to see.

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The race started promptly, and began with a loop on the grass around the parking lot. Then it was off onto the roads throughout the park.

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It also took us near the SPAC parking lot, and through some of the roads near there.

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Then we ran down Avenue of the Pines, which was was nice.

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Then we turned right onto Route 9 for just a little bit. Kind of annoying running next to traffic (we were on the shoulder–but the right lane was closed off)–but this part was slightly downhill and we got a nice breeze.

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Then we took another right back into the park for a second loop. I didn’t mind the loops because by the second one I knew what was coming. Although I did feel like time was moving rather slowly and felt like I had been running forever. I didn’t walk that much, just briefly through the water stops (which were adequate by the way-but they ran out of electrolytes by end of my  last lap) and on a few hills, but that was it, and felt fairly strong for the majority of the race, despite the humidity. The lack of sun definitely helped, since it was mostly overcast yesterday morning.

I finished in 2:21:43, for a 10:45 average pace. Half marathon #15 is in the books (I think?).

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We got nice large, medals with the horse logo, along with some bright orange shirts that fit pretty nice. We also had the option to purchase a pint glass with the logo on it (I did because I’m a sucker for those things.) At the end there was also food: donuts, cookies, cupcakes, bread, bananas, water…but because of the heat I couldn’t stomach anything but an ice cold Gatorade that I had brought with me. It was a nice, no-frills, small race in Saratoga.