Hiking the Northville/Lake Placid Trail – Wakely Dam to Lake Durant Campground

Another weekend down, another hike completed!

Friday after work my friend Meredith and her boyfriend John and I drove north to do some backpacking! We all had been wanting to check out the Northville – Lake Placid Trail, a 133 mile long foot path through the Adirondacks from Northville to Lake Placid.

10494772_907477441292_813981769123275365_n
We chose to do a short section of the trail that began at Wakely Dam that also had a camping area nearby, so we could pull our car right up the site. This wasn’t your normal campground–meaning it was primitive–no running water or electric. There were picnic tables and outhouses though, which I thought was a nice step up for someone like me, new to backpacking and backcountry camping. I’m taking baby steps!

10489799_907501902272_1170852776604184641_n

My new little Kelty tent. It kept me warm when the temps dropped below 40 on Friday night!

We got our camp set up at about 8:30 PM Friday night. The sun went down at around 9. There were a few other people at the camping area, so I didn’t get too freaked out about camping such a remote area. We went to bed around 10:30, we had a long day of hiking a head of us.

I didn’t sleep that great that night due to so much rustling in the woods At one point I woke up to a heavy breathing animal wandering by my tent at ground level. Lord knows what it was–we dubbed it The Beast.

Once the sun came up, I actually slept a few more hours, much better than at night which was kind of funny.

We got up, had breakfast and packed away all of our gear all while be being attacked by swarms of gnats. They were SO BAD near this area, so we checked out Wakely Dam and the Cedar River Flow briefly before we left, a short walk over from our site.

10257786_907477376422_1292427555204000863_o

10467030_907477296582_4588442519204433617_o

Wakely Pond–a moose would have made this picture even better!

Our plan for the day’s hike was to walk the portion of the NPT to the Stephens Pond lean-to and camp there for the night, which was about a 9 mile hike from where we were.

The first few miles were on an old logging road, and then eventually the trail went left and into the woods.

10403642_907477600972_7075722061763711458_n

The trail was marked pretty well, with the blue NPT trail markers.

10411961_907501757562_2902529475057239228_n

However, the trail itself wasn’t very worn down and it didn’t look like anyone had hiked here in a while! There were a few sets of foot prints that we followed the entire way, so that was a bit more comforting. We didn’t see another soul on the trail the entire day!

10303731_907501942192_4882179072389836367_n

10309633_907501862352_8769043796960962526_n

 

10376917_907501612852_4819097658889495256_n

Honestly the hike was uneventful and there wasn’t much to look at.  There weren’t many good stopping points so we hiked on through continuously without stopping much. We did encounter a deer, some birds, and lots of toads on the trail! We also spotted some droppings which were so big we figured it was from a bear. It was also fresh and kind freaked us out. A bear was there, probably watching us!

About six miles into the hike, John twisted his ankle! It was a big bummer, but he managed to keep on hiking! We hiked to the lean-to, which was our original camping destination. After evaluating, we decided to hike the remaining three miles to the campground, and to Route 28 where my car was parked.

10372757_907501672732_8366218875709138777_n

10454322_907501632812_2826712918928288163_n

Resting and having a snack at the lean to. I was expecting a view of the lake at this spot, but there was none. I think a trail lead down to the lake across from the lean to but I was too tired to explore much.

Then onward we went to the campground. The last few miles the trail widened, and we could hear boats on the Lake. It was nice!

10458390_907501832412_6355554825743845284_n

10470608_907477650872_2399097727031142361_n

10488364_907501787502_2238450018086525658_n

Finally, something to see! We signed out of the register and walked over to the campground’s beach. This would have been a nice place to camp, there was a tent site right on the lake. But we decided to head on home. I wasn’t opposed–I was imagining another night with The Beast roaming near my tent!

10436205_907501587902_3508024683850013726_n

10330265_907501368342_8793740083943803196_n

A long 12 mile hike with a heavy pack, but it was fun. Although I don’t think I would ever try thru-hiking this trail.

Northville – Lake Placid Trail

Wakely Dam to Durant Lake Campground

12 miles

Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park

This post was way overdue! When I was in Ohio with Chris a few weeks ago, we went to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a short drive away from his new apartment.

003

There were miles upon miles of hiking trails, along with a really long bike trail, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, which was really busy with bikers and made me wish I had my bike with me!

004

It was a fantastic day. We decided to check out some of the park’s biggest waterfalls, and did a five mile loop hike to Brandywine Falls.

007

One thing nice about this hike? It was flat!

011

014

019

022

023

After our loop, we drove to the trail head to a smaller falls called Bridal Veil. It was so pretty, someone was seated nearby painting a picture of the falls!

028

Next up was another short hike, the 2.2 mile ledges trail, which lead us to a scenic overlook. This part of the trail reminded me of Thacher Park!

031

The scenic overlook, where we had a snack.

032

It was really nice to see of the trails of Ohio. A lot of them were wide and looked like a trail runner’s paradise.

Hiking Big Slide and the Brothers

Friday night, my sister, our friend Brendan and I drove to Keene Valley to stay a few nights in the Adirondacks for some hiking! I wanted to take my sister up there to experience a hike and thought she would enjoy it! She is in pretty good shape, even though she doesn’t do any hiking, so I figured we could tackle a moderate but not too easy hike, so I decided on Big Slide!

IMG_0001

Saturday morning at around 8:30 am, we parked at The Garden Parking lot for $7 and it was already filling up! Everyone knew it would be a nice day for hiking, despite the previous night’s rain.

IMG_0004

We decided to take the route to big slide via the Brothers, three smaller mountains that you summit on your way to Big Slide. They boasted good views so, we might as well, and we were also told the other route was treacherous because of the rain and we should avoid it. The Brothers it was!

We hiked for about an hour and half until we reached the first Brother. With some rock scrambling, we made it to the first viewpoint!

IMG_0006

We stopped for a snack and some photos, obvisouly.

IMG_0015

IMG_0016

IMG_0018

IMG_0019

IMG_0024

IMG_0025

IMG_0027

IMG_0030

IMG_0035

The view of Big Slide, from the Second brother (I think?)

IMG_0038

The views were so good, I can see this being an easier hike for those not wanting to go all the way to Big Slide.

Things got a little freaky when at the second Brother we thought we were at the third! And there wasn’t anyone else at the trail at that point, so Brendan consulted his trail book and we determined we still had well over a mile to the Big Slide. Eventually we ran into a group coming down so they confirmed we had about a mile left of hiking! Hurray!

IMG_0039

IMG_0041

More views, from the Third Brother.

The higher up we got, the more interesting the vegetation got! Here is the Old Man’s Beard a type of moss that grows up there.

IMG_0043

IMG_0048

Finally we saw some signage! .3 to the summit of Big Slide!

IMG_0049

A few scary minutes of climbing ladders (I didn’t know there were ladders on Big Slide) and we got to the summit!

IMG_0050

IMG_0053

IMG_0055

IMG_0059

High Peak # 8 for me, complete.

IMG_0062

IMG_0065

IMG_0067

IMG_0073

We stayed up there for a while enjoying the view and eating some snacks. Every so often the clouds would come by and cover the nearby peaks, it was a lovely sight.

IMG_0075

4 miles of climbing make these views worth it!

IMG_0079

We took the same route back, stopping at the Brothers again to recharge before hiking back to the car. Overall we spent about 9 hours on the trail. It was a LONG day, but we stopped a lot and weren’t moving very quickly. I’m one of those hikers that likes to stop and enjoy the scenery around me, listen to the birds and take photos. :-) The trail was muddy and getting dirty was unavoidable. The black flies were nowhere to be found.

Back at the car at about 5:30PM. Time for a shower!

Big Slide

Via the Brothers: 8 mi RT
Elevation: 4240′
Ascent: 2800′
High Peak Rank: 27

My favorite way to refuel after a hike: a red ale from Paradox Brewery at The Cottage in Lake Placid.

IMG_0087

Chicken and mushroom flatbread.

IMG_0088

And without a doubt, the maple cream soft serve from Emma’s. THE BEST.

IMG_0092

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

Last Sunday morning marked the start of the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in Boston, and the conclusion to the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Festival! It was also my third and final race in the Hat Trick.

IMG_5110

After another early wake-up, Loretta and I drove over to the Boston College campus for the race, which began at 7:30am. The race had corrals again, just like it did for the 10K, which I liked.

IMG_5112

We both went to the back of the pack because we had planned on doing the “run/walk” method. I knew because I hadn’t been running the past few weeks that this race was going to be tougher and slower than all of my other races. At times I felt like I was shuffling through the final miles of a marathon, because my legs were so fatigued. It was my first time EVER doing a run/walk method, but I knew it was the right decision when I felt strong while running, powering up the hills and generally feeling okay until about mile 9 or 10. I used the stopwatch on my phone to time 8 minutes of running, followed by 2 minutes of power walking. This worked great until about mile 9 when the walking kind of took over.

By the time we hit Heartbreak Hill, I was tired, and was ready for the race to be over. As soon as we got to the top, I ran to the finish line, which was just around the corner. I was so happy to see it, for the third time this weekend.

We were handed our medals, and I shuffled over to the finisher’s tent for some Gatorade and snacks. I was SO thirsty! Running so many miles this weekend, combined with the warm weather was really tiring! I just made sure to hydrate well before and after each race, and on the course as well. Thankfully, the half marathon course had water every mile and a half, along with a few Gatorade stations, and a Clif Shot station. However, there was no water available at the Clif Shot station, so I carried it for about a mile until I got some water. That could have been planned a little better!

My final time for the half was 2:37:28, my slowest road half marathon (I think my first trail half was faster). But I’m 100% okay with it, because I had doubts in the beginning I could even finish the Hat Trick! Just the fact that I finished all three races this past weekend amazes me.

IMG_5115

Overall, the races in Boston were very well organized and were very fun to run! I’m really glad I signed up for the Hat Trick, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have come all the way to Boston just to run a half marathon. It was also great being able to run on portions of the Boston Marathon course! As a runner, this was amazing and I definitely felt a lot of emotion while I was out there! I know it will be the only time I’ll ever run a race in Boston.

IMG_0040

Three races and 22.4 miles completed. We are awesome.

IMG_0048

 

Heartbreak Hill Half Festival – 5K & 10K

Friday afternoon after I left Ohio, it was time to head to Boston for the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Festival! I arrived in Boston around 4:30pm, and my friend Loretta picked me up at the airport. From there, we stopped for some seafood with a view of the city.

IMG_5076

I got some tasty shrimp for dinner.

IMG_5075

Loretta had kindly already picked up our bibs and swag. We were both running the Hat Trick, which meant we were running the 5K and 10K on Saturday, for a total of 9.3 miles, followed by the half marathon, 13.1 miles, on Sunday! We got two shirts and a finishers’ hat!

IMG_5079

We stayed in Friday night to rest up for the upcoming weekend. I was a bit nervous since I only ran once in the past 17 days or so. Before we knew it, our alarms were going off at 5:30AM. The races began at 7:15 and we had a 20 minute drive to the nearby Boston College in Newton.

IMG_5095

It was so exciting to be a part of the Runner’s World event! Running the Hat Trick had been one of my goals since I first heard about it.

IMG_5081

There were pace corals, which was nice. Everything was organized well and there were signs for everything! The only thing that was annoying was that the bathrooms were really far from the starting line!

IMG_5082

We lined up near the back, we had no time goals for these races, we just wanted to have fun and finish!

IMG_5089

IMG_5096

First up, the 5K!

 

IMG_5092

Happily I finished the 5K under at 10 minute mile, but I knew I couldn’t keep that up for the 10K.

 

IMG_5098

I took the 10K much slower, and the second half got pretty hot (and hilly) since it was up the famous Heartbreak Hill.

IMG_5101

IMG_5102

The 10K was an out and back, which was cool because we got to see the faster runners come back. I saw Shalane Flanigan, one of the top American female elite runners, run right by me! It was so awesome.

5K and 10K, done! We got some pretty nice medals for both, too.

IMG_5099

After the race, we went back to the hotel to shower and change. Then we went back to the College to check out the expo and some seminars. The one Loretta and I most wanted to see was Nancy Clark’s seminar on nutrition for endurance runners. Nancy wrote the sports nutrition bible, the Guidebook for Sports Nutrition.   We got to chat with Nancy before the seminar  (she was taking our questions) which was really cool! Her talk was really helpful and informative, even for someone like me, studying nutrition! She was awesome.

IMG_5107

Loretta and I also got to be on the cover of Runner’s World! (Just kidding, it’s fake!) but really cool.

IMG_5105

After the expo, we grabbed dinner in Davis Square and then crashed early. We had another 13.1 miles to run the next day!