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


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


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


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. 🙂 


Over the Top Trail Run/ Mountain Bike Ride at West Mountain

So, I’m behind on my blog posts, but it’s never too late to catch up, right? Back in August, I signed up for my first ever duathlon, a 5K trail run and 10k mountain bike ride at West Mountain in Queensbury.


image from West Mountain’s facebook page

I really had no idea what to expect from this race. I signed up for it with a few of our friends, and none of us got any emails or anything about the logisitics. We just knew it started at 10:00am at West Mountain Ski Resort. We got there at about 9:15, picked up our shirts and bibs and headed over to the starting line, which was at a different area than the main lodge where packet pickup/ the afterparty was located.

I set up my bike at the transition area (a first for me!) and got ready to run.


The only picture I got from the whole race, my mountain bike at the transition

The run portion started off great. But soon, the hills began and I found myself walking a lot. But my only goal for this race to was to have fun (and finish it).


Run Time: 36:08.7
Pace: 11:39

Transition time: 2:04.2

I got on my bike and pedaled away. The first part of the bike course was on the same course as the run, which was weird. But then I found myself going up the mountain. I guess they don’t call it “Over the Top” for nothing.


There were some nice views at the top of West Mountain! But I was on my bike so my phone was in my pack.

Bike time: 1:01:33.4
MPH: 6.04 (I am SO SLOW at climbing on my mountain bike. So not efficient.)

Total Time: 1:39:46.4

There were 20 individuals in this race (some people were competing as teams) and my friend Aubrey was the 3rd fastest woman! I was the 3rd from last. At least I wasn’t last!

After we all finished, we loaded our bikes back up and drove back to the main lodge for the post-race party, where hamburgers and beer awaited.

Overall, I think this was a nice little race. The volunteers were friendly it it seemed to be organized well. The course was marked  well, too. I would do it again!


Wakely Mountain Firetower

A few weeks ago Brendan and I drove up to the Adirondacks to hike another firetower. We’ve both been simultaneously hiking the 46 and the Adirondack firetowers, the latter being the easier of the two challenges. We parked at the trailhead on Cedar River Road (12 miles from the turn off on Route 28 in Indian Lake). The first 2 miles were a very nice walk on a wide logging road. It was gorgeous. The climbing began about a mile from the summit.


Soon enough we arrived at the helicopter pad.


The firetower was only a few steps away. Sadly there aren’t any views unless you climb up.













Wakely Mountain Firetower
11/18 ADK Firetowers
Distance 6.1 mi RT
Elevation 3,766′
Ascent 1,640′
Time 3 hrs, 40 minutes


Hiking Basin and Saddleback and Camping at Rollins Pond

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend! Mine was fantastic!


The past few weeks have been pretty great. I started my Dietetic Internship, did a few other hikes, and this past weekend got together with my closest hiking friends for a weekend in the Adirondacks.


Brendan, Jenna, her friend Colleen and I booked a camp site at Rollins Pond in Saranac Lake for two nights. We had the best camp site! It was big, secluded, and right on the pond, complete with its own beach. How had I never camped here before?? We arrived Saturday afternoon, set up camp, and cooked dinner. We went to bed pretty early because we had a big hike on the agenda for the next day, Basin and Saddleback Mountains!

One of the things I’d suggest about doing this hike is waiting until you have perfect weather. We got up at 4:30am, cooked breakfast and drove the 1 hr 15 minutes to Keene Valley to park at the Garden Trailhead. The Garden parking lot is small and famous for being full at early hours, but we were lucky and snagged the last spot! If it had been full, we would have had to take a shuttle from another lot a few miles away, which would have sucked if we missed the last shuttle after hiking all day.

We started hiking at 7am. The trail is nice and easy for the first 6.8 miles. It was a lovely walk in the woods. We passed the John’s Brook Lodge, where I stayed a few years ago when hiking Haystack. I hadn’t been on this trail since.





We arrived at Slant Rock and took a connector trail to the Great Range Trail  on to head up to Basin first. We chose to do a counter-clockwise loop so we could climb the famous cliffs of Saddleback rather than descend them. But I’ll get to that later. First, we had to hike up to Basin! After 9 miles of hiking, we got to the summit. There were a few sketchy spots but nothing too bad.


Lots of rock scrambling on this hike!

Basin makes 41/46. Getting so close!





Next up: Saddleback. I had been fearing this part of the 46ers journey for the past few years. Saddleback is known for its tricky ascent up some steep cliffs. It was about a mile in between the two so I had time to prepare and convince myself that I had this!



Colleen contemplating her route up

The photo below sums it up…Jenna pulling herself up the side of the rock.


There were only two big sections that I had trouble with. Thankfully, a nice guy was there to help push my foot up behind me. If it wasn’t for him I probably would have had a little freak out.







This picture of Jenna should be on the next Adirondack magazine, no?

The whole climb of the cliffs lasted about 15 minutes, but felt longer. We were so happy to be at the top. We shared the summit with a group who was finishing their 46. How awesome! That’s going to be me soon. 🙂



42 peaks done! This was such an epic hike (and probably one of my favorites so far!) It was just what I needed after some previously soul-crushing hikes.




Looking back at Basin from Saddleback



A great view of Gothics!



Some day I’d like to hike the Great Range in its entirety. We stopped for a breather and a few snacks on the summit before heading down the other side of the Saddleback, down the Ore Bed Trail.


This trail was phenomenal. There was an enormous slide to the left of the trail, which was actually wooden stairs following the slide all the way down to the base. It was insane!

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Looking up the massive slide

On the way back out to the car we stopped at the Johns Brook Lodge briefly to refill our water bottles. I had brought my MSR pump, but didn’t need it. The last 5 miles of the hike were pretty, but uneventful.


Basin and Saddleback Mountains
Counter-clockwise loop from the Garden trail head
Distance: ~17 mi RT
Time: 11 hours, including stops
Gear used: Osprey Sirrus day pack, Salomon hiking shoes, EMS hiking pants, tasc long sleeve merino/bamboo blend shirt (unpictured), Smartwool hiking socks, 2 L Camelbak bladder, 1 L Nalgene

We got back to the car and promptly drove to Tail o the Pup BBQ joint in Raybrook, in between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, for some BBQ and beverages to celebrate hiking Saddleback and Basin.


We got back to our camp site at about 9pm. I was exhausted. I crawled into my sleeping bag and passed out. It was probably the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a tent in a long time. The next morning, I enjoyed some coffee by the pond. It was so relaxing.

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It was a great way to end the summer. I have to say, I’ve had a pretty epic one.


Canyonlands National Park and Delicate Arch in Arches NP

After mountain biking and eating lunch, Jordan, my parents and I drove the ~45 min to Canyonlands National Park. We didn’t have much time to spend here because we had plans to hike Delicate Arch back at Arches, so we made a quick stop at the visitor’s center and drove to the trail to Mesa Arch, one of the most popular spots in the Island in the Sky District.


The trail was short, but offered some great views. You can see the La Sal Mountains in the background.



What an awesome spot! There were lots of people wandering around the arch so I wanted until nobody was under it to take some good pictures.






There is a pretty steep drop off right behind the arch…scary!






Mesa Arch
Total distance .7 mi RT

We didn’t waste much time and drove straight to Arches National Park. My dad had said a few days earlier that his goal was hike to the famous arch. It was only a 3 mile hike total but it was warm out. I told him he could do it with us while my mom waited for us at the car. She knows her limits and decided it was too hot for her, so she was fine with us going ahead. The trail starts next to an old homestead where you can go up and look in. It is a one room house that an entire family lived in–talk about tiny home.


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The trail is nice and wide for a while with a gentle incline. Eventually you come to a big slickrock hill you have to climb up, with cairns to guide you.

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Eventually you come to a narrow ledge that has a steep drop off into a crater-like hole. I didn’t want to particularly fall down in there.


Is this what walking on Mars would feel like?

We rounded a corner and finally saw it. Holy crap!




There is a line to get your picture under the arch

Walking up there is another large crater with a steep drop off. Yikes.



My turn! At first I wasn’t going to go up to it, but Jordan convinced me to. I mean, when was I going to come back here. I did it!


What an epic end to an amazing trip. I was pretty tired from mountain biking earlier in the day, but I am so glad we hiked to Delicate Arch. My dad made it the entire way, too. So impressive! I was so happy I got to do this hike with him. I wish I had gotten some pictures with him!


Jordan by a different kind of cairn

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It was a gorgeous evening.




Heading back down the slickrock hill.

On the way back down we stopped to see some rock art, more petroglyfs.


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Delicate Arch
Distance 3.4 mi RT
Time 2 hr, 7 min, including stops
Elevation 622′

I soaked it all in since this was our final day in Utah. I’m missing it for sure. It is fitting that yesterday was the 100th Birthday of the National Park Service. I am so grateful that I got to experience so many incredible national parks on this trip!  There are still so many more I want to visit. If it weren’t for my parents, it wouldn’t have been possible for us-they planned almost the entire vacation!


Missing the Utah sunsets

We had dinner at a restaurant across the street at the Broken Oar and got to enjoy some Polygamy Porter-ha!