Columbus Day Fall Foliage Hike: Jay Mountain

Where: Town of Jay, New York, Adirondacks
What: Jay Mountain, first lookout ledge
Elevation: 3257′
Distance: 5.5 mi RT

The fall colors were exquisite this past weekend in the Adirondacks! Check out these photos from my hike to the first lookout point on Jay Mountain.
















2015 Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon

Another Hudson Mohawk Half in the books! Sunday was my fourth HM Half, and we had the perfect day for it! It was a little bit chilly at the start, but not too bad. Turns out all I needed was a pair of throw-away gloves.


The first mile of this race is always super slow for me. It weaves around the Colonie Town Park and eventually goes to the bike path where I can finally get my stride going. The key to this year’s race was the fact that I had no goals. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go because I didn’t particularly train for it. I ran two long runs and hardly ran during the week…I don’t even think I ran 15 miles per week all summer. But I had spent A LOT of time on my feet hiking and taking strength classes at the gym, and mountain biking, with running squeezed in occasionally. Apparently that is good enough!


Running friends! My favorite thing about this race is that almost all my running friends run it too. Love!

I ran along–my miles never going above a 10 minute mile (except for the first one)-and before I knew it we were down at the Watervliet Bike Path.


I found Christine and ran alongside her for a little bit. Then we were at mile 10 with a 5K to go. I picked up the pace a little bit and was surprised I actually had energy left.

Amazing considering I don’t think I ran under a 10 minute mile all summer. But I’ll take it!


We hung out for a little bit at the finish line and took advantage of the post-race massage tent! My feet were feeling a bit sore but that was it. Afterward a few of us went to The Old English Pub for brunch, which is now a post-race tradition for me!

I didn’t race that much this year, I ran 1 marathon and three half marathons (and I’m running another in November) but all the race excitement of this past weekend has me thinking about race goals for 2016. I’m thinking of running another marathon! So after searching a little bit I found the Shipyard Brewing Maine Coast Marathon in Maine in May 2016! And they have a 39.3 mile challenge–a half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday–I think I’m going to go for it!

Shipyard Maine Coast Marathon_0

Also–I signed up to be an ambassador for the race! It sounds awesome. If you are interested in signing up, use my promo code JenM for a $5 off registration!

Hiking Gray Peak and Mount Skylight

Happy fall! I celebrated the first weekend of fall by hiking, of course! My friend Jenna and I drove up to the ADK Loj to hike Gray Peak and Mount Skylight. We got an early start because it is a long hike! We left the Exit 9 Park and Ride at 4:35AM and got to the Loj around 7, and were on the trail by 7:15. We were at Marcy Dam by 8:05AM.



We got the the Phelps/Marcy and Avalanche Lake junction and went right to take the Avalanche Lake trail. At 8:40 we got to the junction for Lake Arnold and took a left. We were going to go past Lake Arnold and up to Lake Tear of the Clouds to get to Gray Peak.









The trail through here was really pretty! There were some bogs we crossed between Mt. Colden and Gray which were interesting. Thankfully there were planks to cross! Eventually we came to the junction for Lake Tear of the Clouds, the highest point of the Hudson River and also where the herd path for Gray Peak picks up. We arrived there at 10:53 AM.


We got there around 11:45  and saw the cairn that marked the herd path to Gray. We realized that it crossed over the stream and started up again on the other side, it’s unmarked but pretty obvious.


We started climbing Gray at about 11:45AM. The first part of the herd path was a bit tricky. There was a huge cliff with a pretty big drop off–if you were tall and had long legs it would be easy. But neither one of us has those-so we skirted around to the left of the cliff and found our way down pretty easily. Anyone who says Gray has no views is lying!


We could see Skylight–our next destination!



We stopped at a lookout a little bit from the summit to have a snack.


Can’t forget about the summit pic. Got there around 12:20.




A great view of Marcy and Skylight from our snack spot. After about 10 minutes we headed back down the herd path to Lake Tear of the Clouds.




We got back down to the lake at around 1:00 and started heading left at the cairn to get back on the marked trail to Skylight. At 1:12 we hit “Four Corners”, where there was a sign marking a trail to Marcy and a trail to Skylight.


We followed the trail to the summit of Skylight, which was steep and rocky, and after hiking almost 10 miles already, I was tired. But, once we got up top at 1:37, I knew it was all worth it.





I could have stayed up here all day! Skylight was amazing. And it was also my 30th high peak! I can’t believe I’m at 30 peaks!





Jenna and I stayed on the summit for maybe 10 minutes and had the entire thing to ourselves. I could have stayed forever, but we had a loooong way to go back to the car. Eight miles of hiking, back the way we came. And we wanted to get out before dark! We knew that there was a strong possibility that we would be hiking out with headlamps. Thankfully, we were back at the trail register by 6:30PM and it was still daylight.



What a long, long, day. Skylight was one of my favorite summits so far, but it just takes so long to get there. I would highly recommend this as an overnight. Most of the people we saw were staying at lean-tos and I must admit I was a bit jealous. But, I guess that makes us more badass for completing this hike in day trip.


Gray Peak and Mount Skylight 
Distance 17.7 mi RT
Time: 11.5 hours
Total Elevation Gain: 4,343′

Gear used Osprey Sirrus Daypack, Kelty trekking poles, Smartwool socks, Under Armor Crops, Icebreaker merino wool base layer top, Keen Durand hiking boots, 3L Platypus bladder, 1L Nalgene

50 Mi Tour de Habitat

Saturday morning I rode in the Tour de Habitat, a local bike ride to benefit the Habitat for Humanity. I rode this ride a few years ago and was happy to see that it was happening again after a few years off. The Habitat for Humanity builds and rehabilitates homes and brings neglected neighborhoods back to life.


There ride began at Druthers Brewing Company in Downtown, Albany. I was doing the 50 mile ride! I was a little nervous because I haven’t been road biking in a while and the last time I rode that far was back in July. Oops.

Thankfully, I felt great all day! I brought along two 25 oz water bottles, snacks such as Gu, Honey Stinger Waffles and a cliff bar. There were three aid stations on the route that provided water, electrolytes, and pb&j sandwiches! There were about 25 riders doing the 50 miles. The route took us south of Albany all the way to Alcove, NY. I’m really familiar with area since I grew up south of Albany so it was nice to ride some familiar roads. The scenery was gorgeous!



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3 hours, 46 minutes of riding later I was riding back into Druthers! They were serving pizza and beer at the post-ride party.


Very delicious after such a long ride!

Recap of Summer Hiking

Summer 2015 was definitely the best summer for hiking I’ve had! It was incredible because I didn’t have a single bad weather day! Here’s a little recap.


Pyramid, Gothics, Armstrong & Upper Wolf Jaw Mountains


This was my first big hike of the year. I hiked a few times before this just to get my legs in shape and tackled most of the lower great range with Brendan back in June. It was a long day, but had some great views. I felt strong and this hike convinced me that I wanted to take on a bunch of high peaks this summer.


Street and Nye Mountains


This hike was a blast. It was the largest group I’ve hiked with and we had fun crossing streams and climbing the unmarked Street and Nye, even though we had limited views.

Algonquin, Iroquois and Wright Peaks

This had to be one of my favorite hikes this summer. Jenna and I climbed the second highest peak in NY, Algonquin, along with its neighbors, Iroquois and Wright. We had one of the best days I’ve had hiking and it was quite memorable.


Black Mountain Firetower


I started August with a smaller hike. Near Lake George, Black Mountain is one of the nice easy hikes closer to the Capital Region. It has awesome views of Lake George was a fun hike.

Lower Wolfjaw Mountain

Lower Wolfjaw marked my halfway point of hiking the 46, so it will remain memorable, even if it was a super steep hike and I felt like I wanted to die on the way up. (It really wasn’t that bad. 😉 )

Mount Colden via Avalanche Pass


Hiking through Avalanche Pass was high on my hiking bucket list and walking through there was an eerie but gorgeous sight. Again, we had one of the most beautiful days and tackled Mount Colden from the steep route. It was a long one, but well worth it. Colden is now one of my favorite mountains.

Mount Marcy


In August I finally got to take Jordan hiking with me in the high peaks! He loved it and now wants to be a 46er too. The views from Marcy were amazing and I will definitely be back up there again in the future.

The Santanoni Range


It was rather fitting that my last summer high peaks would be some of the hardest I’ve done. The Santanoni Range was no walk in the park. Taking nearly 13 hours, I was glad to check these peaks off the list.

And with that, I ended Summer hiking with fantastic views from Indian Head.


Christine and I hiked together to finally check out Indian Head, where some of the best views in the high peaks can be found. I will most definitely hike this one again!

I’d say that was a successful summer. But I’m really excited for fall hiking–where cooler temperatures, crunchy leaves and autumn colors await!