May 26, 2009

Tabletop makes 20

Number 20 for two of us that is. We started out the 2009 high peak hiking season on Tabletop. My father and I welcomed some extra hikers on this trip. Dan joined us for another go at a high peak after he proclaimed Cascade and Porter to be the first and last of the 46ers he would attempt. Sherilee was up for a visit this weekend like many of the other New Jersey folk we saw on the highway and she was more than ready for the 10.5 mile hike we had in store. We arrived at the adirondack loj at about 8:45 to suprisingly find more than enough parking on this Monday holiday. We made it to Marcy Dam by 9:40. This is such a neat spot, I am glad my husband was finally there with me. There are a whole lot of people who have no idea where or what is Marcy Dam. After a short rest we set out on the phelps brook trail which is rocky but they are smaller rocks which are easier on the feet. There was not as much mud as I had expected on any of the trails. In fact I would say that even the muddiest spots were no worse than they would be in July. There was no sign of snow left anywhere. It seemed that we quickly passed the trail that leads up Phelps and my father and I recalled thinking our Phelps hike was a big one. Back when an 8 mile hike was unheard of for us. We continued on for about 40 minutes and arrived at the cairn (and a sign) marking the herdpath up Tabletop. It was 11:30. We had already planned to visit Indian Falls and loop over to Avalanche Camp via the Lake Arnold connector trail but the decision that needed to be made was..... do we climb the mountain and eat lunch at the summit or visit the falls for lunch first? Standing at the cairn with the idea that it is only half a mile to the summit made climbing the mountain seem like the best option so that we didnt have to double back the .1 mile after visiting the falls. WELL....Let me just tell you....Tabletop is NO EASY climb. It is an unmarked herdpath alright. It starts out VERY narrow and with a little portion of blow down. The city girl who likes to lead the way quickly gave up the front position because it was a little confusing for someone who has not seen a herdpath before. She can navigate the path train from NJ to NYC like a champ though, so we didnt make fun of her. Sure enough there was plenty of root grabbing and fancy foot placing to get up this one. Pretty slow going. It took us an hour. We were definitely ready to see that summit marker and our lunch. It was 12:30. There was one little area beyond the summit marker to eat lunch and it featured Mt. Marcy as the backdrop. Dan asked a lot of questions about our climb up Marcy last July. I think he was pretty impressed seeing it for real and knowing that Greg had done it with us. We spent at least a half hour eating lunch. The climb down required just as much caution but we were able to do it in 30 minutes. Back on the blue trail to Mt. Marcy we hiked about 5 minutes to a creek. We crossed it and continued on for about another 5 minutes realizing after asking the ranger, that the little creek we had just crossed did lead to the top of the falls. There is a sign, but we missed it. When you follow the little paths leading out to the falls everything opens up and you have a beautiful unobstructed view of Algonquin, Iriquois, Wright, Colden and Avalanche Pass (although you cannot see down through the pass) This actually would have been the better spot for lunch, but at that point, I was glad the climb was behind us. Dan drank his first filtered water out of Indian Falls. For some reason I think it is important to make note of where your first katadyn filtered water drink comes from and it should not be from just any old stream. a few minutes were spent enjoying the scenery and the sit down. We started the mostly downhill portion of the Lake Arnold crossover trail and continued toward Avalanche Camp for more downhill rock hopping. Avalanche Camp was a welcome sight because it is a nice open clearing to sit and rest. It is an old lean to site. The new lean to was built much farther up in the woods and the little clearing has been a re-vegetation area that is now all grassy. We left this spot at 4:00, VERY TIRED and ready to use a real bathroom and sit in the comfortable seat of the car. The one mile to Marcy Dam went relatively quick as the trail is mostly flat and not at all rocky. It is a nice section that follows Marcy Brook. We hit Marcy Dam at 4:30 and at break neck, my legs are killing me and my boots are filled with hot lava speed- we signed out at 5:15. No black flies to speak of except at the last break we took with .9 till the parking lot. We will now take the month of June off as to not have a repeat of the black fly torture endured last June on Street and Nye. Time to plan for the first backpack trip in July.

May 20, 2009

lazy catch up post.

Last Saturday we set out for Brooklyn to watch Greg's travel team play the Brooklyn Bonnies. Before we left, I walked around the yard and photographed my full and fragrant lilac bushes for fear that they would be past peak when we returned.
We met the rest of his teammates at Bella Napoli. I could not resist, despite my husband's (successful) healthy eating plan, going inside and purchasing some goodies. Twice, I have bought the one type of cannoli that is sold at our local bakery, Biscuits. Saturday, I was ovewhelmed with the choices of sinful treats. They had several kinds of cannoli, including the mini french ones that I devoured as soon as I got to the car. Slowly but surely, I ate everything pictured above, with only slight assistance from Greg. Tasted great and was good comfort food for the stress of trying to follow the other parents who drove like madmen on the NJ turnpike. As an aisde, while in NJ we passed the CAMPMOR store. Unfortunately, we didn't have the time to stop. My father and I were like two kids passing by a candystore!!!
A few more tidbits:
  • the baseball went well. Greg pitched and they only lost by 1 run in each game on Saturday.
  • Sherilee met us there and we got to have lunch with her on Sunday below the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Father in Law Bob let us borrow his Van and his Garmin GPS. Thank You!
  • Dan can say he has driven through Manhatten (thank god for that GPS gadget)
  • I have the best daughter in the world. She didnt complain about having to drive 8 hours to watch 8 hours of baseball and she amused herself by watching all the different dog breeds being walked through the Parade Ground Park in Brooklyn, a little sad that she had to leave Hudson home. When she wasn't dog watching, She napped on the bleachers to pass time. Awesome. Thanks to Gramma Cindy for babysitting her yorkie grand-doggie.
  • Oh yeah, and after my whirlwind trip to the city, I had to report for Jury duty monday morning. 6 more hours of sitting just to be released without so much as one question directed at me. 6 more years before I have to do that again.

Now, is it really only Thursday? I am tired. Can't wait for the upcoming three day weekend!

May 10, 2009

mother's day

I was greeted at the door after work on Friday by both kids bearing gifts that they had made in school. I have to say I expected something "school made" from reagan, but getting a computer lit class generated mother's day card from greg was a shock. I immediately thought of a conversation that a friend and I had right before our boys started preschool together. She said, "I can't wait until we start getting projects made with macaroni from the boys". Gifts made at preschool were so cherished that they could easily have been the sole reason to send your 3 year old there. Here is part of Greg's card. The front has a picture of Mt. Marcy on it (we climbed together) and the page opposite this picture of him batting was the Hadley Mt. Firetower Patch. Reagan painted me a mini flower pot and made french toast and coffee for me this morning. This would have been a real treat, except she loves to do this whenever we have a weekend morning free. Like the sentiment in Greg's card....they both make me feel special everyday.
Happy Mother's Day to you all.

May 8, 2009


I read the book and then dared to watch the movie. I am not sure which was worse. I should have known better. Awesome (true) story. Almost unbearable to sit through the last 30 minutes. My crying at this movie was a given, 10 year old could have gone either way, whether Dan would stay awake is always the question when we sit down after 8pm to watch ANY movie.....ALL 3 OF US CRIED Audibly for a good 10 minutes. People with older dogs are cautioned strongly to proceed with caution on this one.

"A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine. A dog judges others not by their color or creed or class but by who they are inside. A dog doesn't care if you are rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his. It was really quite simple, and yet we humans, so much wiser and more sophisticated, have always had trouble figuring out what really counts and what does not. As I wrote that farewell column to Marley, I realized it was all right there in front of us, if only we opened our eyes. Sometimes it took a dog with bad breath, worse manners, and pure intentions to help us see."— John Grogan

May 7, 2009


Since renewing my friendship with my friend from college I have received 2 packages and one card in the mail from her. Last week I got a card out of the blue...which was a very bright part of my week. I happened to have a blank card at home so I quickly wrote a response and intended to be a "real mail sender" myself. However, the card has sat in my purse waiting for a stamp. Blog tributes to this wonderful girlfriend are going to have to work for now....Today I got home from work to find another package. This time it was a hand crafted mother's day card (actually it was a mini scrap book) with a mixed music (meaningful) CD. You see, we are doing the Brene Brown read along together (but miles apart) and part of the read along is doing homework assignments. regan decided to share her mix tape assignment with me by sending that CD.
Friend regan (as opposed to daughter reagan) included the quote: "I do not wish to treat friendship daintily, but with the roughest courage. When they are real, they are not glass threads or frost work, but the solidest thing we know"......Ralph Waldo Emerson.

She also included a wish for a happy mother's day.....

Happy mother's day to you too regan!
Us....13 years ago.

Music Playlist at

May 4, 2009

tulips are blooming

With camera in tow after Saturday's hike, I caught my mother working in her flower garden. I wish I inherited more of her flower determination. Most of what I have in my yard came either directly from her or at her suggestion. Here are some of her more common beauties...but the best of her garden is yet to come.

May 3, 2009

dedicated to friendship.

I love this song and was even happier that the video included long time friends as well as couples. My friend Sherilee left her position of employment this past week after an extended period of mounting difficulties. She routinely worked 16 hour days, not including the time spent on the road as an underpaid and underappreciated "personal assistant". It sucks to have your loyalty questioned when you've been giving a 150%. I am thinking about her and trying to converse with her more than normal. She just told me she has expanded her brand new job search to the Albany area. What? That would be too good to be true! Talk about change (smallpines). Come on up Sheri....we don't need no stinking billionaire!

May 2, 2009

Thomas Mountain * Bolton Landing

Jennifer suggested that we hike today sometime mid week. I love that she planned ahead for us to do something healthy both mentally and physically together....everyone needs that after a busy week at work! It also gave me the opportunity to "play" before I had to SHAMPOO CARPETS and BABYSIT MY NIECES AND NEPHEWS...WHEW....that is a whole different post people.

No short drive to a local hike should be without a DETOUR.....Yup, we knew exactly where we were going until they threw this little curve ball at us. The detour took us along the Schroon River on a dirt road to Ridin-Hy Ranch. This was CLEARLY not where we wanted to end up....Reagan and Jennifer share a love of horses though, so not all was lost. Reagan wanted to ditch the hiking idea and just go riding. Actually, when she heard the word "Resort", she thought we should rent a cabin and stay a while. Rather than feel stupid that we took an unnecessary trip, we regarded it as a little treat.

We got on the trail about 20 minutes later than we hoped, but it did not affect the ending time that we were shooting for. The trailhead is off Valley Woods Road, which is 4 miles east on route 11 from exit 24 of I-87. I only saw room for about 6 cars. In the summer, I am sure you need to get there early (or late) to get a spot. Reagan signed us in and along with Hudson, the three of us followed the obvious woods road which began to climb steady 10 minutes into the hike. Most of the hike was on good footing, not alot of rocks and boulders in the trail. It seemed moderately strenuous. At the one marker sign pointing us to Thomas, it said .8 miles and 557 feet of ascent. That is nothing to sneeze at. Round Trip is 3 miles to Thomas Mountain and 6 miles if you choose to do Cat Mountain in a loop. Just climbing Thomas fit with the schedules of the day and is a decent hike for the beginning of the season (and Reagan). We encountered a snake, toads and a grouse taking off that scared the bejesus out of Reagan. The bird sounds like an animal growling when it takes off from its perch on the forest floor. The scariness depends on how close you are to them. We remarked that this didn't feel like a "woodsy" hike but the payoff is a cute little cabin at the small summit lookout. We sat on the porch of the cabin and had a snack while enjoying the view of Lake George to the left and rolling mountains to the center and right. Notice that birch logs are the posts of the porch. When Jen pointed this out, Reagan informed us that she had noticed that right away. Well, I am glad she is paying attention to detail out here in nature! "Clearly" ( Jen remarked after Reagan used the term that she doesnt get it from a stranger...sounds funny coming from a 10 year old) Clearly, she is not as blind as we thought. Things are starting to green up, so the view was looking slightly plush..not as barren as a few weeks ago. Reagan asked if I had climbed this mountain before. I told her after two hadley mountain hikes in a row, I was happy to report that I HAD NOT climbed this one before.
Not the same old view of Lake George from this mountain. We had to look real hard to see any sign of civilization out there.

Clearly, Reagan is enjoying her cliff bar....after she confirmed it was not a peanut butter one.

We made it back to the car with a round trip total of 2 hours and 15 minutes. This hike could obviously be done much quicker without my 10 year old...but in all fairness, we all stopped often to look at the scenery (and rest). At one clearing, there were weird plastic cylinders that were protecting seedling spruce trees. We were guessing that a slide had occurred to create the clearing and the Land Conservancy is trying to fill the area back by protecting these little guys. It wasn't until we were on our way back that we noticed that in this clearing is a good size patch of Forget-Me-Knots. A favorite of Jen's late mother-in-law, who was also my great aunt. Was this a little whisper from her?

The slightest thing happened today that I am grateful for....when Reagan signed us out, she wrote thank you.