Adirondack Hiker’s Gift Guide – For Him

 1. GoPro Hero5 Session – We have this GoPro and we love it to record our hiking and mountain biking adventures!
2. Osprey Kamber 32 Backpack – This pack is made specifically for winter hiking or skiing. It has place to carry your snowshoes (or skis), a waterproof main compartment, an insulated harness sleeve for your hydration pack and also loops for your ice tools. If I actually decide to become a Winter 46er, I would definitely want this pack!
3. Stanley Stainless Steel Shot Glass Set – this set would be perfect to bring on that backpacking trip with friends.
4. Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest LED Hammock – Now this is just cool. Made for two with battery-powered LED lights, this hammock would be awesome for camping!
5. Original Buff – Every outdoor enthusiast needs a Buff. They can be used as a sun guard, scarf, hat, or neck gaiter. They also come in tons of awesome prints!
6. Princeton Tec Backcountry LED Light Kit – This kit comes with a flashlight, lantern and headlamp, all of which are great to have in your pack or when camping.
7. Yeti Rambler Colster – This Koozie is made of heavy-duty stainless steel and works with bottles and cans–another great thing to have when camping!
8. Garmin Montana 610 Handheld GPS – I don’t own a handheld GPS but if I did, I would want this one. Even though we shouldn’t depend on electronics in the backcountry, they are useful to have and this one has all the bells and whistles.
9. EMS Spindrift Gaiters – Gaiters are an awesome piece of gear for winter hiking. They also come in handy during the shoulder season when you are knee deep in mud on the trail (literally).
10. Kahtoola Microspikes – An absolute essential for winter hiking–never leave home without ’em.
11. EMS Roundtrip Full Zip Sweater – I have the women’s version of this fleece and it’s one of my favorite pieces of clothing! It’s warm and cozy and can be worn under a shell during a hike or looks great wearing around town.
12. MSR Miniworks EX Water Filter – I have this exact filter that I bring with me on backpacking trips and long day hikes. I love it and highly recommend it!

Again, I’m not affiliated with any of the above companies, but I have purchased many similar items and highly recommend them.

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Owls Head Mountain Fire Tower

It is finally winter conditions in the Adirondacks! Saturday my friend Skyler and I drove up north to hike a fire tower. Our first choice was Vanderwhacker Mountain, but the road to the trailhead hadn’t been plowed and his car didn’t have enough clearance to get down the road so we abandoned that idea. After sitting on the side of Route 28 for 5 minutes checking over our maps, we decided on Owl’s Head Mountain in Long Lake.

We arrived at the trailhead at about 11:00am (late for us!) and then proceeded down the trail with just microspikes. It was below freezing, so we were both bundled up pretty good and managed to stay warm during the hike. At about 1.5 miles in, the previously broken out trail disappeared, so I put on my snowshoes and began climbing, following the sparse red trail markers. Some of them were fixed to actual wood poles (something I’ve never seen on a hiking trail in the Adirondacks?) so it was easy to spot them. I broke trail for the next 1.5 miles, arriving at the false summit, a winter wonderland.

Even though there were no tracks, the opening in the snow made it a bit easier to find the trail

We climbed to about 2600′ and it started getting pretty steep. The trail markers were nowhere to be found. We stopped for about 5 minutes to assess (we were extremely close to the summit) and try to figure out where the trail went. We found an opening that we thought was the trail and climbed up a bit, spotting a red marker in the distance! We continued on, finally reaching the tower. Thankfully it wasn’t windy at all, so we both climbed up. The top was still open.

I imagine the views are spectacular on a clear day! I’ll have to return to this one. We made it down in about an hour and a half, and we were back at the car before 3pm. There was nobody else on the trail all day.

Owls Head Mountain Fire Tower (12/18 ADK completed)
Distance 6.5 mi RT
Total time 4 hours, including stops
Elevation 2,812′
Ascent 1,300′
Gear used Sugoi Subzero Tights, Nike long sleeve base layer, EMS Excel Thermo Hoodie, Marmot Snowqueen Jacket, Kahtoola Microspikes, Vasque Snowblime Hiking Boots, Tubbs Mountaineer Snowshoes, Osprey Sirrus Day Pack, Hydroflask insulated water bottle, Scott mittens, Smartwool hiking socks, Kelty trekking poles

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Adirondack Hiker’s Gift Guide 2016

Have an avid hiker on your holiday gift list this year? Check this out! I love reading gift guides, so I finally decided to make my own!

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  1. Big Agnes 15 Degree Down Sleeping Bag – this sleeping bag looks perfect for cold weather camping and should definitely keep you warm and cozy in your tent.
  2. LAMO Footwear Suede Sheepskin Fleece Lining Slippers  – there’s nothing like slipping your feet into warm fuzzy slippers for the drive home after a winter hike.
  3. Pistil Clara Visor Beanie – I have a beanie very similar to this one and I love it
  4. Adventure Medical Emergency Bivvy – keeping one of these bivvys in your hiking pack is a must for anyone hiking in the high peaks. I got one as a gift a few years back!
  5. Mountain Landscape Necklace – Etsy is a great place to find unique jewelry for that hiking lady in your life.  *coughcough*
  6. Adirondack Peaks Plaque Burl – With a customizable summit marker, this would make a great gift for someone finishing the 46!
  7. Sea to Summit DryLite Antibacterial Towel – these towels are amazing for camping. They pack down small and are super absorbent and dry quickly!
  8. Stanley Adventure Stainless Steel Food Jar – these are great for keeping food hot! Enjoying a hot meal on a cold summit definitely warms the soul.
  9. Moutain Hardware Snowpass Scarf – fleece infinity scarf. Enough said!
  10. REI Revel Cloud Vest – an extra layer of insulation in the high peaks is always a good idea.
  11. Jetboil MinMo Cooking System – a stove is a  must for winter hiking and  year-round backpacking. I have a jetboil and it is amazing–it boils water in a flash.
  12. Smartwool PhD Outdoor Mountaineer Socks – every hiker loves getting a good pair of wool socks, just sayin’.
  13.  Marmot Fuzzy Wuzzy Glove – keeping hands warm is key during a cold hike–these gloves look like they’d do the job.

Note: I’m not affiliated with any of the above companies, but I have purchased many similar items and highly recommend them.

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2016 Troy Turkey Trot 10K

It’s somewhat of a tradition for my friends and I to run the Troy Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning.

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You may have noticed I haven’t been running much lately! I’ve had a reoccurring hip issue for the past few months. I took the entire month of October off from running and skipped two half marathons I was signed up for, hoping that it would get better. On Halloween I ran for the first time in a month, with short runs here and there after that, nothing over four miles. I had thought my hip was healed!

At about mile 5 of the Turkey Trot, my hip started aching (not enough to stop mid-race, however). I managed to finish the race at about a 10:18 average pace per mile, which is okay considering I haven’t been running regularly.

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After the race we stopped for some coffee and breakfast, which was fun. I’m so thankful for all my running friends and for the running community, and I miss our group runs and races. I’ve started doing some hip and glute strengthening exercises in hopes of healing my hip for good, so with some more time off from running, I’m hoping it heals so I can start a training plan for a goal race in the spring.

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Yard Mountain, Big Slide and the Brothers Loop

Since finishing hiking the 46 high peaks last month, I took a much needed break! However, I can’t stay away from the mountains for too long. My new hiking friend was looking to hike in the high peaks on Saturday and I couldn’t resist joining him. The great part is, now I can hike what I want, whenever I want! There are bunch of peaks I want to hike again, taking new routes. YEsterday, we decided to hike Big Slide, one of the easier high peaks. Instead of doing the popular out and back route over the Brothers, we chose to take the trail into the John’s Brook Lodge, ascending Yard Mountain first, followed by Big Slide, then out over the Brothers for a nice loop hike.

We got to the Garden lot in Keene Valley a little before 7:00am and were on the trail to the Johns Brook Lodge at 7. After hiking for 3.5 miles we came to the JBL (at 8:30), which was closed for the season. We took the Klondike trail (red), which on the left behind the JBL, our destination Yard Mountain.

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This trail clearly doesn’t get much use! There was a lot of blowdown and overgrown grass. We didn’t encounter another soul until just before the summit of Yard.  At 9:15 we came to another junction, taking the blue trail on the right to Yard.

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The trail got pretty steep for some small section, but nothing to horrendous. It was quite enjoyable! Walked up and over Yard without really even noticing, the summit just a small clearing at 4,009′ elevation. It was 10:22am. On top is a sign indicating the direction to Big Slide. It was refreshing to take an alternate approach to such a popular mountain–there was nobody up there!

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About an hour later, we saw the summit of Big Slide! It had been a few years since I was last up here. We had such clear views–not a cloud in the sky. Pretty rare for mid-November in the high peaks!

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We stayed up there to have lunch and enjoy the sunshine for about 30 minutes. It was time to head back down, going over the Brothers. I had forgotten what this trail was like–but it was muddy and steep. There was a pretty degraded ladder also, which I didn’t remember from last time. You can tell this trail gets a lot of use. I was so glad we hiked Yard first becuase the view on each of the Brothers is even better than on Big Slide, in my opinion.

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The hike out took longer than I was expecting, but once we got down off the First Brother, it was an easy walk to the car. We got back before 3pm.

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Yard, Big Slide, and the Brothers Loop
Distance
11.3 mi 
Ascent  
2,961′
Total time
7 hrs, 45 minutes

Gear used EMS hiking pants, Nike baselayer long sleeve, Gregory Amber pack, 3 L Platypus bladder, Vasque Snowblime hiking boots, Kelty trekking poles, Smartwool socks, EMS Gore-tex gaiters

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