Posts Tagged ‘hike’

Joel and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary. That is just crazy! It does not seem that it has been that long since we got married. Since the day fell on a Thursday, we celebrated by going to dinner at our favorite restaurant, Good Luck. But since it was such a milestone, we nicely asked my parents if they would watch Julia for us for two nights… yes, two nights! Luckily for us, they said yes.

Our last trip to Lake Placid installed the hiking bug in us. Because of this and because of the anniversary milestone, we decided to go back to Lake Placid and hike a High Peak. But of course we did not hike just one High Peak, we hiked two High Peaks plus another “small” mountain who happened to be on the way. It had to be an epic hike, no?

In the days leading up to our trip, we discussed hiking Phelps and Tabletop. Joel was a bit on the fence about it, since he ran up Phelps last summer. He felt that he wanted to hike a peak that was new. So we decided to hike Dial and Nippletop… Bear Den is not a High Peak, but it is on the way to Dial.

The trail to hike all three mountains resembled a lollypop. One of Joel’s running friends recommended hiking it counterclockwise, but after chatting with the folks from The Mountaineer, they recommended hiking it clockwise… so that is what we did.

The parking lot for the trail head was about a mile or so from the actual trail head. I remembered this part from when we hiked Mt Colvin and Blake. You walk on a road alongside the Ausable Club grounds until you reach a gate, which is near the trail head’s sign in book. You then continue to walk on the road until you find the trail head. I remember this section being a chore last time we walked it and this time it proved to be just the same, especially on the way back.


The hike overall was great! It did start going up right from the beginning. It leveled a bit at times, but not very frequently. Reaching Bear Den was good but very unimpressive… you could not even tell that you were on its summit. Luckily there was a lookout prior to the summit and the view was just fantastic!

Reaching up Dial was also good. The views were just as fantastic, except that it was very one-sided. Nippletop was the same. We felt good the entire time. We even ran some sections. :)

Then the descent began… the steep, rocky descent, which felt like it took hours and hours. My legs were screaming!! The best part about the descent was reaching Elk Pass, where these beautiful ponds emerged from the woods. It was so beautiful and serene.

The descent continued but luckily it was not as steep as before. We could not wait to reach Lake Road. The trail markers came and went. We were so excited when we reached the last trail marker… Joel read about the Gils Brook Trail, which according to the guide book offered a scenic stretch. So we decided to finish the hike using the Gils Brook Trail. I am so glad that we did that! The entire trail was along the brook, which includes numerous waterfalls and also allows you to walk in the brook. It was super beautiful! It definitely took our mind off of reaching Lake Road.

Emerging out of the woods on Lake Road was a relief. My feet were achy and I just wanted to be done. Unfortunately, we still had to walk all the way to the parking lot. I am not exactly sure how long our walk was, but it felt like it took forever. It once again reminded me of our hike to Colvin and Blake, which we hiked with our friends Donna and Pete… I remember feeling the same way then. To take our mind off of it all, Donna suggested playing a car game… we had to think of names that started with each letter of the alphabet… we played it twice! Joel and I should have played the game this time too, but we did not. We quietly (with the exception of a few complaints from me along the way) walked all the way to the car.

The loop to and from the gate was 13 miles and it took us 7 hours and 45 minutes. We did not count the walk from the gate to the parking lot in either direction, but it definitely added some miles and time. I felt super accomplished!

For this hike we both decided to wear our trail running shoes (I have the Saucony Perigrine trail shoe). Overall they worked great, except for the last 5 miles or so. My feet were very achy. I am not sure if I will wear them again for such a long hike. Also, I used an older backpack, which was not very comfortable, especially when it was full with the water and food. I definitely need to invest in a new one.

We really enjoyed our epic trek! It was a great way to celebrate our 15 year anniversary, my 10th and Joel’s 11th High Peak, as well as our first kid free weekend getaway. :)



The last thing that I want to mention is that this hike really made me think of our friend Donna, especially since we hiked on a couple of similar stretches as we did for Colvin and Blake. Joel and I kept reminiscing about that hike. She passed away about 5 years ago. She was an amazing woman. She loved hiking and she also aspired to become a 46er. I tend to think of her a bunch especially when hiking around Lake Placid. She would have loved this trek… I hiked for you Donna!

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This past weekend we spent 5 glorious days in Lake Placid. I really love that place… the mountains, the clean air, the landscape, and the amazing views. I can spend weeks there. We have been going to Lake Placid for years. Joel and I aspired to be part of the ADK 46ers club, which means that one has to hike all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks, so we frequented the town. We hiked 8 of them throughout the years and then cycling and Julia put a damper on that. Ha!

The summer when Julia turned 2, we went back to Lake Placid and we hiked Mt. Jo, which is a good mountain to hike with little kids. Julia loved it! We had a backpack carrier for her and throughout the hike she kept saying that she wanted to hike on her own. So we let her hike on her own and we were super impressed. Hiking in the Adirondacks is no joke, no matter how “easy” the mountain is. A lot of the hikes contain lots of rocks/boulders throughout the trail, sometimes the entire trail is full of rocks. They can also be very rooty and steep at times. She loved climbing the boulders… some were taller than she was. It was so fun to see her hike. During that same trip we hiked Owl’s Head, which is another good hike for little kids. She loved that too!

Then last summer we went back and planned to hike Baxter Mountain. About a quarter of the way through our hike, Julia planted herself on the trail and refused to budge. We tried everything to get her to keep hiking with no luck. We did bring the backpack carrier, so Joel carried her all the way to the top and I carried her all the way down. That was our last hike for that trip and rest of the year. We were kind of sad about it since she did so well when she was 2. We figured that since she was a year older, she would be more capable and interested. I guess that it was just not her thing that year.

So this summer we were unsure about our hiking prospect. We decided to take her on a small hike in Mendon Ponds Park as a test. Throughout the hike, she kept saying how she loved the hike. We were super excited!

Our Lake Placid trip this year was kind of a spur of the moment decision. A couple of Joel’s friends were planning to mountain bike around there, so we decided to join them. As it was getting closer to the trip, we asked Julia if she was excited to hike a mountain and she said yes. Perfect!

The decision to hike Giant’s Nubble was also a last minute decision. I researched a few possible hikes and Giant’s Nubble was one option. Since the other mountains were a bit of a drive from our location, we decided on Giant’s Nubble.

Giant’s Nubble is part of Giant Mountain, which is a High Peak. Giant Mountain also happens to be one of the first High Peaks that Joel and I hiked. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into back then… apparently we forgot. Although Giant’s Nubble’s elevation is not as high, the trail that leads to it is part of the full hike and it was super rocky and steep at times.

Julia was such a trooper! She loved climbing the boulders and hiking. She did complain a bunch, so Joel and I were prepared. We gave her 2 M&Ms every 15 to 20 minutes. That really kept her going. I am not one to bribe with food, but I did make an exception this time (judge me if you will… ha!).

Throughout our hike, Joel and I kept looking at each other wondering if it was a good idea that we were doing this hike and wondering if she would really be able to get to the top and hike all the way back down. In fact, we reached one of the false summits, which is very typical of a High Peak, and as Julia was having her snack, I told Joel that I did not think it was wise to keep going, since Julia was really complaining. The funny part was that as soon as she finished her snack, she enthusiastically said that she wanted to go to the top. So we did!

The hike back down was slow but we made it. The hike ended up being 4.5 miles and it took us 4.5 hours to complete it. I am SO proud of Julia! The mountain was definitely challenging but she made it. I know that she was super proud of herself too!




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I spent my lunch in the woods following deer tracks and a stream.

51The deer set the best routes… if you follow them, you will for sure have an adventure.

2It was so nice to be out… the weather has been super frigid lately and I felt cooped up.

4I was alone in the woods. It was quiet and serene. I did occasionally hear a few birds sing and the sound of the stream rolling through the ice.

6The snow was fantastic.

3Lunch was just… perfect.

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We just came back from the most fantastic trip. We spent 4 nights camping at the Adirondack Loj in Lake Placid with our friends Amy and Richard and their 2 daughters Chloe and Aubrey. Lake Placid is a heavenly place. The air is clean and the views are just amazing. I just love being there.

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At the summit of Mt Jo.

We have not made it to Lake Placid in about 5 years or something like that. Cycling, pregnancy, and Julia’s arrival were the culprits. :) Since Julia is a bit older now and after camping in Watkins Glen, we decided to give it a try. I must admit that I was a bit nervous. I cannot remember the last time we camped for 4 nights, if ever. I guess there is always a first… ha!

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Our house. :)

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The drive was fine, but as soon as we arrived in Lake Placid, it started to pour… a torrential downpour with hale. Yikes!! I knew that rain was in the forecast, but no one mentioned hale. Luckily we planned to have lunch first, so we did not have to setup camp quite yet. The rain did stop, so we ended up setting camp in semi dry conditions. The rest of our stay was beautiful! Sunny and warm. So lucky!

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We had lots of activities planned, thanks to Richard. He is so good at planning! :) He found a bunch of things for us to do, including hikes that were toddler friendly. Owl’s Head was the first mountain that we climbed. It was a typical Adirondack mountain… normal trail leads to scrambling up rocks and boulders as you reach the summit. As soon as we started our hike, Julia insisted on hiking on her own. Once we let her loose, she was having a blast! She loved climbing up the rocks and boulders. So fun!

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Julia’s first hike in the Adirondacks… Owl’s Head.

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We made it! Hoorrayyyy!!

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Our second hike was Mt Jo. This too was a typical Adirondack mountain. We decided to hike it as part of a guided tour. Our leader Laurel told us about the vegetation and history of the mountain. It was fun to lean more about the area. Once again Julia insisted on hiking on her own, but since we were hiking with a guide, we kept telling her that she had to wait. She ended up hiking on her own during the descent. It was definitely more challenging descending, but she did so great! She loved using the roots as holds.

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Julia descending Mt Jo.

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I am so proud of her! I never in a million years would have thought that my 2 year old could hike, especially not a mountain in the Adirondacks. So great!!

Our planned activities also included a bike ride for the boys and another for the girls. Joel and Richard went for a mountain bike ride on the Lussi and Loggers trail. Apparently it was a good ride.

Amy and I rode on the Adirondack Loj Road. It included a few awesome descents. Amy turned around once we reached Route 73 and I continued on to Bear Cub Road. The road was super nice… very quiet and scenic. I passed the Cornell maple and potato seed farms, a few farming fields, as well as 2 guys on a horse and buggy that was pulling a huge tire. They stopped to let me pass and I learned that they were using the huge tire to move rocks. Ha! Riding on the road also gave me a different perspective of Algonquin Mountain… I have only seen the mountain from 2 directions, so this was kind of fun.

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Amy riding on one of the ascents on Adirondack Loj Road going toward Route 73.

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The road had some amazing view of the surrounding mountains.

My return on Adirondack Loj Road was a different story… those amazing descents turned into painful ascents. The worst of it was at the last stretch before reaching the campground. Oy! I was really hoping to do another ride, but time did not allow. I really wanted to ride on River Road. Joel and I took a drive on it instead and it was so beautiful… lots of twists and turns and amazing views of Whiteface Mountain. Next time.

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Riding on Route 73… I could not help myself not snapping a photo of the sky jumps. :)

Julia and Chloe rode their bikes a bunch too. As soon as Julia woke up everyday, her first words were “I want to go outside and ride my bike!”. They rode around the campground’s road and also around our campsite. It was so fun to see the two of them ride. Amy and I kept saying that we were so glad that we had their bikes, since they had something to do. I love watching them ride. So cute!

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Riding around the campground’s road.

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I love the sun rays in the background!

Aside from hiking and biking, we mostly hung out around camp, swam in Heart Lake, went to a show, and spent a little time in town, where we walked around and also ate some crêpes. That’s right… I said crêpes. It was the best discovery! We had some as a snack one day and some for lunch the next day (savory and sweet). Delicious! Another reason to visit Lake Placid! :)

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Julia’s first time wearing a head lamp.

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It was such a fun trip! Julia did so well at camp. She slept super well every night, despite the cold nights, and loved being outdoors. I look forward to our next trip.

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View of Heart Lake.

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I just realized that I have not written a post since March. March… how can that be?!?! I remember writing the last post a month or so ago… or so it seems. I guess between taking care of Julia, doing house chores, cooking (yes, I have been cooking), reading my book, trying to finish off the entire Breaking Bad series (just finished it last week), and trying to stay active… yeah, yeah, yeah… excuses, excuses.

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Hiking on the Crescent Trail.

Trying to stay active has been a bit challenging, but it is getting much easier. Instead of running, hiking, biking on our own, we have been bringing Julia along a bunch. We have a running stroller, a backpack for hiking, and a bike trailer. Luckily she loves all 3!!

As I mentioned, we have a bike trailer… our friend let us borrow it. I have always heard mixed things about what kids think about the bike trailer. Some apparently love it and some apparently hate it. As soon as Julia climbed in it, she was sold. Joel rode around the neighborhood for the first ride.

Julia's first trailer ride!

Julia’s first trailer ride!

Then we did our first family ride to the Village of Fairport. That was fun since it was during the Fairport Canal Days festival, so we had lunch and listened to some music.

Our first family ride.

Our first family ride.

Then a few weeks ago, Joel took her on an RBC ride. He rode for an hour and a half and I guess she really liked it. I rode separately and when I saw her that evening, she told me about her adventure… how she saw a rooster, a bunny, a horse, and deer. She was super enthusiastic about it. :)

Julia's first RBC ride.

Julia’s first RBC ride.

The downside of it is that the thing is a tank! Because of that, we cannot really transport it, unless that is the only thing that we put in our trunk. Our neighborhood is so hilly that riding with it is a workout, for Joel at least since I do not ride that bike. I think that my legs would fall off. Ha!

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Julia did not care for the backpack for a long time, but lately she is more interested in it. At the beginning of June we went camping at Watkins Glen State Park with a couple of friends who have a little girl, Chloe, who is Julia’s age. They played so well together!


Hiking with Chloe.

Chloe has a backpack too, so we went hiking together. The trip was so memorable for Julia. A week or more after the trip, she was still talking about hiking by the waterfalls.

Hiking at Watkins Glen State Park.

Hiking at Watkins Glen State Park.

I think that that hike definitely helped with being more fond of it. We have taken her on several hikes since then and she stills seems to like it.

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Hiking with Chloe at Abraham Lincoln Park.

The running stroller has been a hit too. She loves to “run” with us. She loves looking at the trees, spotting birdies, and waving to doggies. A few weeks ago we decided to do a run loop from the house to the playground and back. She was so excited once we arrived at the playground.



Ready for a run!

Riding, hiking, and running is SO fun! We look forward to many more adventures!


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Winter is finally back! A while ago we got some snow and it was great! I was able to get out and enjoy the snow. But then we had a warm spell and all of the snow melted away. Such a waste! Then it became super frigid for a few weeks. Who wants to go outside and do anything in 2 degree (or colder) weather?? Finally, the temperature has improved and we even got some snow. What do you do when the perfect conditions arise?? You go outside and play!

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My favorite winter activities are cross country skiing and snowshoeing. I have not skied as much as I would have liked to so far, but I have gone snowshoeing a bunch. My favorite spot to go is Powder Mills Park. It is not because the park is close to my house, although that is a plus… it is because the park has super trails!

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You can always find fresh powder or spots where the snow is untouched by anyone. In fact, every time I go, I am the only person on the trail. The terrain is great! There are some flat sections, some hilly sections, and some rolling sections. To make it even more challenging and fun, I bushwhack through the forest and just explore. The best outing is to follow deer tracks… no need for trail markers.

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Irondequoit Creek

I usually snowshoe on the trails near the downhill ski area, starting on the Powderhorn Trail. The trail is fun since it takes you along Irondequoit Creek and near the YMCA Camp Arrowhead. It is super pretty!

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But since I always go on that trail, this past Monday I decided to explore a different route (across the street from the Powderhorn Trail). I climbed up a steep section and ended up on top of the ridge. I was super surprised about the terrain. The possibilities were endless… I could have been there all day! There is no trail per se… if you look at the park’s trail map, it marks the section as “unmarked trails”. I cannot really tell you where I was, but it was definitely a super fun section.

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My “trail”

What I love about snowshoeing is that you can make it as easy or as challenging as you like. You can simply walk, you can hike on a steeper section of a particular trail, or you can run. That’s right… I said run. Talk about a workout!

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Winters can be a drag, but a beautiful, sunny, snowy day makes winters fun!

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One of the items that I registered for as a shower gift was a play mat/activity gym. I really loved this particular one, Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym, since it included birds and trees… it was kind of my theme for Julia’s nursery. It was one of the best things that I could have registered for. Julia just loves it! She has been using it since she was a few weeks old. She loves the birds, especially this particular one that includes noisy wings and a clear ball with small beads inside it.

Julia’s favorite birdie…

I used to, and still do, show it to her and tell her about the real birds that you can see and hear in nature. Since one of my favorite birds are the chickadees and their call is easy, I decided to tell her that it was a chickadee. She loves it every time I sing the call to her… chickadee-dee-dee, chickadee-dee-dee. So fun! She usually has the biggest smile on her face. :)

Hiking with Daddy.

The weather two weekends ago was really nice, so we decided to take Julia for a hike. We decided to hike in Mendon Ponds Park on the South Meadow Trail, which connects to the Quaker Pond Trail. Both of these trails are a favorite. They are great for running as well as cross country skiing. They are also great since you can make your hike/run/cross country ski trip as long or as short as you want it. Another great thing about them is that you can feed the chickadees. So that is what we did… we fed the chickadees. Julia was very intrigued by the birds. It was so fun to watch her expressions.

I cannot wait until she will be big and brave enough to hold her hand out to feed the chickadees. :)

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