August 29, 2008

shelving rock * lake george

We have a lot to do this weekend to get ready for the huge labor day picnic happening the only hike that could be fit into the busy schedule was the 3.4 round trip hike up shelving rock mountain. This is an easy hike with very manageable switchbacks that rewards the hiker with a nice view of lake george from its grassy summit. the drive to and from took longer than the climb up and back. we left the trailhead at 3:15pm and were back in the cars by 5:30pm. this is one of those times where you might say, it doesnt matter where you hiked but who you hiked with and hey, at least you got to spend time in the woods. My cousins were with me, my mother and father, my daughter and my best friend of 18 years.

shadow was happy to be included and he got to bring his new friend (cousin), Patten the german shephard. We had the whole mountain to it's back to the picnic prep.

August 27, 2008

bistro tallulah

I can't name the 13 other restaurants we have dined at for our wedding anniversaries, but this one will not soon be forgotten. The Bistro Tallulah was a fantastic choice for our 14th anniversary. Dan likes basic meat and potatos and is rarely open to trying new "cuisine", so I have been holding off suggesting that we try it. When he asked where I wanted to go this year, I thought it was time to spring it on him. I park near the bistro quite often when my work takes me to downtown Glens Falls, and I have looked longingly at the menu posted in the window on a couple of occasions, the last time making sure to scope out what was on the menu that I thought Dan might like. He got the hanger steak with sundried tomatos, grilled asparagus and gorgonzola with a garlic aioli- and liked all of it! He chose the chicken gumbo soup and raved about it. I had the pan seared salmon topped with arugula and citrus supreme salad on yukon gold potatos and grilled asparagus. To start, I chose a mixed green salad with two large scallops. The salad had pine nuts, a bleu cheese vinagrette dressing and cranberries. This was one of the best meals I have eaten in a long time. We were sat immediately at our reserved table, the waiter was very attentive and I was able to have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband. I am still shocked that he ate sundried tomatos.. something new even after 14 years. We will definitely be going back to tallulah's...

August 19, 2008

bagging dix, macomb, east dix, south dix and hough

The plan was to do another three night backpacking trip, this time in the Dix Mountain Wilderness. However, threat of rain in the Adirondacks deterred me from leaving as planned on Friday. Instead, I spent a well deserved day off with my daughter (school shopping) and was then able to leisurely pack for the trip. My father and I headed for I-87 at 6:00am and made it to the Elk Lake Trailhead at 7:30am. The lot was already full, so required me to creatively park my vehicle within the public trailhead parking. I nervously left my car there hoping that the people of the Elk Lake Lodge are not as overzealous as the members of the Ausable Club. Getting on the trail by 8:00am, we packed in the 2.3 miles to a designated site at slide brook, arriving at our destination by 9:30am. The sky was blue and it was a comfortable 75 degrees. Of the three sites in this area, only one was ideal and it just so happened that a group was packing up to leave it as we arrived. They quickly shared their experiences of hiking the range and pointed out the best level spot for the tent. We were most surprised that they had built a fire in what appeared to be a well used pit. Soon, we discovered that fires were being enjoyed at all of the sites and the lean to areas. Have they changed the rule?

We left our packs, eager to get on the trail to Dix. At 10:00am we left the campsite aiming for the beckhorn route. The first clap of thunder occurred at 11:30 and soon the sprinkling rain turned to a full blown thunder shower. My father the "minimalist" had chosen not to bring his rain jacket and so was soaked in minutes. We ventured on (I had my rain jacket) until more thunder and harder rain came. We decided to sit for a while under my space blanket. This thing has traveled unopened with me for almost a year in case of emergency and I determined my soaking wet father was an emergency at this point. We opened the cellophane like material and attempted to use it as shelter. One hiker heading down said "nothing you can do but keep going". Umm OK but we were on our way up... Soon another hiker came along, also on his way up, so I thought we should push on close to this guy. I was praying that lightening was not going to accompany the thunder as we hiked on. At around 12:45 the rain stopped and it began to clear. We passed people who said they were on top just as it started to hail and lightening. I was glad we stayed below tree line unaware of that electricity. By the time we arrived at the Beckhorn, the final push to the summit, we were dry and again hiking under blue sky. The beckhorn is VERY tricky bare rock. It is very steep and pretty much a cliff. I know enough about physics to know that if my body weight did not get propeled in the right direction I would end up somewhere in the col between dix and hough. Many times during this hike I was reminded that I am not a thrill seeker and do not thrive on adrenaline rushes caused by putting myself in dangerous situations. Maybe because I am an overall play it safe kind of person this seemed worse than it really was...maybe you could judge for yourself. If I ever planned to climb Dix again, I think I would try it from the route 73 approach. We chose to descend back over the beckhorn because it is a shorter route and arrived at camp after completing 10.9 miles of hiking. We set up the tent, ate an "add boiling water" meal, drank some coffee and went to sleep under a clear sky with a full moon.

Day two:

We got up at 6:45am, had coffee and pop tarts and were on the Macomb herdpath by 8:00am. This was easy as the cairn for the path was about 40 feet from where we sat drinking our coffee. The trail to Macomb was easy grade, soft walking and through pretty forest. Glimpses of the slide got my heart pumping. Soon we were at the bottom of the slide and trying to figure the easiest (I was thinking safest) route up. By the middle of the slide, I realized that I could easily become anxiety ridden and decided to focus on each step, not how much further I had to go. Of course when it was complete, I felt a sense of accomplishment but it was not without several panicky moments. Macomb brought our 46er count to 12. After a brief rest it was on to South Dix. This was a relatively easy "walk", the herdpaths between all of these somewhat connected mountains were very well defined and as long as you know the basic direction you are heading the start of the paths are easy to find on each summit. On top of South Dix we ate our wrap sandwiches. We got the idea to pack wraps and pepperoni from a group that visited us in the lean to on that rainy day at Uphill brook last month. We even had honey mustard for the sandwich. Macomb was now in a dark cloud. We began thinking that it may rain on us again and were quick to get on the trail to East Dix- or Grace as some prefer to call it though it is not officially renamed. The rain holds off and after a short rest we retrace back to South Dix to pick up the herdpath to Hough. First we must cross the side of Pough which takes only minutes. We arrived at the designated campsite that is nestled between Pough and Hough and from here the summit of Hough is reached in 30 minutes. Once again we are forced to scramble up difficult bare rock and being that this is the last of four mountains in one day, we are tired and touchy. We curse whoever put the summit sign at the tip top of a tree and wonder why if they are trying to make it also discernible in winter, they don't at least put one at eye level for the weary summer traveler. It is 5:30pm and we had decided long ago that we did not care how much blowdown is on the bailout route down lillian brook...we were not retracing our steps and NOT going down the slide of Macomb. The Lillian Brook path starts at the designated site back at the col of hough and pough. We started down it at 6:00pm. It is very easy to detect the path and as we were told by other groups the day before, trailwork has been done and it is in good shape. The trail seemed to go on forever though and it was 8:00pm before we reached the marked Dix trail. We were finally back at the campsite by 8:20 and ate by headlamp. We skipped the evening coffee and went straight to sleep.

Day 3:

We awoke at 6:45am and made coffee. My father was excited to make his backpaker omelette meal in his grandfather's world war 1 mess kit pan. It was actually pretty tasty and we decided it was a good breakfast option for a day you dont have to rush to get on the trail. We packed up and were headed out by 8:45am. We reached the parking area at 9:15am and I was relieved that my vehicle was right where I left it. I missed my son Greg being with us on this trip, but the climbs would have only furthered his belief that hiking is not his thing. It was a very strenuous two days.
I learned shortly after arriving back in town that my husband's mother had passed away the night before. I hugged my father a little tighter as I dropped him off and told him I loved him....hiking for two days with your father- priceless.

August 15, 2008

sweet! corn

we were a bit early yesterday in testing out the corn from our garden. by next week we should have more than we all can eat!
it appears to be one crop that is doing well during this rainy summer...

August 14, 2008

i've been assigned

Brian is my 46er correspondent. I got my letter in the mail today. He sent me climbing brochures and a welcome letter that encouraged me to continue sending in trip reports at least once a year, but more often if I would like. Filed with the Office of the Historian are 4 of my trip reports...I have 3 more written and ready to send, 3 from the last camping trip and hopefully 5 more peaks will be in the bag by Monday. Backpacking into the Dix Mountain Wilderness this weekend... too bad I couldn't talk Grace's niece into climbing East Dix with us!

August 11, 2008

say what you need to say...

I finally watched The Bucket List last night. I had heard mixed reviews so held off for a while because my expectations for movies tend to be high (I'd rather read the book) and I didn't want to be disappointed. Especially when the topic hits close to home. I was pleased with the subtle messages of what is really important in life as they crossed the activities off of their list. Not entirely in the way they had planned. It was an entertaining, feel good movie (despite the topic) and, well, Morgan Freeman can make even a commercial sound deeply profound. The accompanying John Mayer song says it best..."even when your eyes are closing, do it with a heart wide open..."

August 10, 2008

cell phone or ipod..hmmm

it is true that i am one of the last people to be living without a cell phone. even more sad is that my kids each have a track phone that i must ask to borrow should i be venturing out into a situation where i may need to call someone while on the road. an ipod is another piece of technology that i am living without. however, we bought our son a 4 GB ipod for his birthday and i quietly borrowed it while he slept this morning to take it on my walk. aside from not liking so much having to jam those little earphones in my ears, i thought it was pretty awesome. i walk/hike a trail behind my house (which is just inside the blue line of the adk park) and like to consider it a very handy way of fooling myself that i have been on an actual hike. i wouldn't hike with an ipod because it takes away from the sounds of nature, but i have now decided that my hike behind the house is way cool when it is set to music. i like music better than i like the idea of people being able to bug me wherever and whenever via a telephone attached to my hip. i may be in the market for my own ipod soon and for now still cannot think of a good enough reason to break down and get my own cell phone.

does anyone else care if john edwards had an affair?

mrs. edwards has terminal breast cancer and in the last bit of her time the "news shows" are going to make sure her family's dirty laundry is aired over and over and over again. She entered her own post on a liberal blog titled the daily kos..
elizabethedwards ....but wait, an american was killed today in beijing so maybe she is safe from public humiliation while she continues to fight for time. investigative journalism at its best- it was two years ago, he is no longer any type of candidate and his political life will not be ruined by this (remember Bill Clinton).

already in a cynical mood, i was watching the opening ceremony of the olympics (supposedly immune from politics) and found that matt lauer and his commentator friends did nothing but introduce countries and give a full report on what each of their political maneuvers have been of late. meanwhile, there are so many uplifting and painfully touching stories that could have been highlighted about the amazing athletes that are competing. i want to hear about that, the good stuff.