Category Archives: hiking

Becoming an Outdoorswoman

It’s been a 2 or 3 years since I did Becoming an Outdoorswoman (BOW). My sister still is teaching there. In fact, she hit 10 years of teaching at BOW this year!  It has been moving to different places in the state, which is one of the reasons I haven’t gone, but this year it was back at Silver Bay on Lake George.

There was some construction going on as the dining hall was being demolished to build a new one, so all the meals were moved to the inn itself – which was a little crowded.  I roomed with my sister and we stayed in the inn.

It’s very old, which is cool. You all know I love that.  The rooms are nice:

My first class was Backyard Wildlife, which I didn’t really take any pictures of. We talked about ecosystems on your property and ways to improve it. We also studied tracks and poo so you can figure out what went through your yard LOL!  There was also talk about exclusion for animals like deer, keeping bats and squirrels out of your house, and bear awareness.

Saturday was hiking. This was the hike for people who have experience hiking.  This is in the Adirondacks, so you it’s going to be up. This hike started out right away with an incline:

This went on for about half a mile. It was quite the start. One thing about the day is that it was hot and humid. Once you get into the woods, you don’t get any breeze, so it feels really stuffy. I was a sweat machine.

We took a break at a lean-to, which overlooked the lake:

This was one spot where there was a breeze since it was open and it felt heavenly! Good thing the hike was in the morning, too.

Lots of interesting things to look at. Tons of mushrooms everywhere.

Lots more inclines to go. Our instructor said over the course of a mile we went up 800 feet in elevation, which equates to 15% grade. That’s how steep it was at times! Our goal was to get to Jabes’ pond and boy was it worth the hike!

When you say a perfect day, can you think of a better picture?  It was so peaceful and quiet, too.

The hike was planned well with lots of different terrains, so it was very interesting to do.

The pine forest was my favorite spot:

The hike ended up a bit over 6 miles and we finished in a little over 3 hours. It was a great workout. The instructor said we were one of the fastest groups he has ever had on this hike. I think we surprised him because he was huffing and puffing and staying in the back LOL.  There are times when I feel like I am all flabby and out of shape and then I realize there is no way I could have done (or wanted to do) that hike if I wasn’t in good shape. The mind plays tricks 😀

I’ll talk more about the other classes in another post.

Meadowbrook Preserve

Sunday I did a little solo hike. The afternoon was really nice and I decided I wanted some foot work instead of bike work.  Since I was going alone, it’s all about safety and I went to our local nature preserve, which you can’t get lost in and is really close to home.

It was a sea of Joe Pye weed and goldenrod:

.

There are several loop trails through this totaling 2-2.5 miles all together. I went around most of them with a little doubling back. I brought the Rebel along for pictures today. The preserve is as flat as can be, so carrying camera gear is not a problem.

.

Enjoying the day!

.

.

I heard lots of Jays, saw some Red winged blackbirds, but no turkeys. We do see turkeys around when riding sometimes.

.

.

Sea o’ ferns:

I don’t know what made this hole, but I didn’t want to stick my camera in there!

.

.

Back out in the goldenrod meadow. It was full of bees.

My nose was running a little bit during this hike.

All in all a beautiful day. Between my other walking and intervals, I ended up with about 7 miles on the day!  It’s good to be active.

Berry Pond Hike

We had a very mild weather weekend here. In fact, it was 48 degrees Saturday morning when we got up!  There was hiking planned for the day and the trail was Berry Pond. There was supposed to be a beaver colony on the pond and I wanted to see that. We had nixed our original hike route as we thought it was going to be a bit much for the day, but we underestimated this hike LOL!

It took about 20 minutes or so to drive to the trail head. There is a large complex of trails at the Lake George Recreational Center to choose from.  We were thinking based on the mileage given by the map it should have been about 4.5 miles, 2.7 for the blue trail and 1.7 for the orange trail.

It was very quiet on the trail. We were the only ones on it for almost the whole day.

.

This lean-to overlooked West Brook, which was probably my favorite part of the whole hike. The stream was covered in moss and looked so pretty.

.

.

.

I could have just parked myself by this with a picnic lunch and spent the day here. But, we had plans!

The trail began to really climb. We had no idea it was going to be such a grade at times.

It was certainly a workout climbing.

We reached a summit outlook. This is the west side (?) of Lake George:

We kept going and going waiting to hit the orange trail. We finally came across where it met the blue trail.

The orange trail went to Berry Pond itself and the beaver colony.

You could see a lot of old and new beaver damage.

.

Here is an old dam:

There were lots of lily pads on the pond.

I think that one and this picture are among my favorites of the day.

We finally found the new beaver dam on the other side of the pond. It is really huge!

It was kind of weird being below the level of the pond on this side of the dam.

Very cool. We didn’t see any beavers, though. I was hoping to see the, but I guess they were sleeping 😀

From this point, the trail looped back onto itself back to the start.

We ended up with 7.5 miles! I don’t know how that extra 3 miles happened LOL. I had 19,000 steps on my phone. That’s a lot of walking.  I would do this hike again, but I think we might take a shortcut for part of it.

Cole’s Woods Hike

This weekend was the most beautiful weather. Temps in the 70s and lower humidity. We spent a lot of time outdoors!

On Sunday, we went for a short hike. We had already biked 18 miles in the morning, so we didn’t need a long exercise hike, but just out to enjoy the day.  We decided to check out Cole’s Woods, which is about a mile and a half-ish from our house. It’s a little section of woods nestled in between the Northway, the mall and housing.

Cole’s Woods was initially built for cross country skiing and was one of the first trails in the US to be lit at night!  Below is the  squiggly line of paths available. The red line is a 5K loop and that is all lit at night.

Also to be noted –

Lyme disease is endemic here (like rabies), so you do have to be careful. There are a lot of ticks around here. I actually found one on me after working in my garden beds when we first moved into Radiance Manor and I was getting rid of the overgrowth! Ick.  Anyway, we sprayed ourselves with bug spray as a deterrent.

These paths are so nice. Smooth and wide.

There is no way you could really get lost because the trails were all really well marked, although they criss-crossed higgledy piggledy all over the place. The area is small and you bump into “civilization” on all sides. It was a little confusing to follow the path we wanted. We were trying to go on the red line. There were lights along that route in the trees:

It would be really cool to come here and cross country ski in the winter. You aren’t supposed to walk on the groomed trails, so we would need to ski it.

There was a lot of this going on:

It’s like one of those Choose Your Adventure books. Remember those? I loved them.

We crossed over a stream:

That blue color was reflection from the sky. Isn’t it cool? I didn’t color edit this picture at all. It was a cloudless, bright blue sky day.

Mr. ‘Merica Bear:

We reached four corners:

The paths all cross over each other here and make….four corners.

There is a monument to someone who really made the trails happen.

And he was an Olympian in 1952 as well.

That sign close up:

We did see some Phragmites, though:

That stuff is bad. It’s an invasive species and very aggressive. It will choke out a lot of water/marsh plants like cat tails.

Crossing back over the stream:

What a gorgeous day it was. One of those days where you say “This is why I live here”. 😀

The trees along here are incredibly tall as well. It seems they go up for miles:

And check out that sky.

We ended up only doing 2 miles. Somewhere we got off the main 5K path and ended up on some of those secondary ones, but we ended up back at our car just the same.

This is definitely a keeper trail. It’s so close to home and a great spot on a hot day with all the shade.

Pilot Knob Hike

This is Pilot Knob take 2. We did this hike in 2015. It was in the fall and the waterfall was dry so we wanted to go in the spring when it would have water in it.  My sister and BIL joined us for the hike on Sunday.

The trail head is 15-20 minutes from our house. It was pretty crowded on Sunday, too. We were really lucky to get a parking spot as someone was just leaving when we got there.

My hiking boots are working out really well for me.

The trail was a little muddy in spots, which wasn’t surprising since we have had a lot of rain lately. It wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it would be, though.  This is fairly rocky terrain.

One thing that was annoying was loose dogs. I have no problem with dogs on the trails, but they shouldn’t be going free IMHO. That dog in the picture didn’t belong to the people behind it, but way back not even in the picture.  I’d be afraid of losing my dog. Anyway, there was other wildlife to be seen as well.

Does a millipede count as wildlife? 😀  The weather was just about perfect for hiking. It wasn’t hot and clouds were around, but it was still sunny.  I’m glad we went Sunday because Monday would have been a washout.

If you look really hard, you can see the orange trail marker on the trees about halfway up.

I guess they are up that high because of snow in the winter, but when you are looking down a lot to make sure you don’t trip, it’s easy to miss a marker.

There were some challenging bits:

It’s nice to actually see scale in a picture for a change LOL! Usually when I take incline pictures it just looks flat.

Centipede:

Just about at the top:

Then you hit open field and the gazebo:

We sat and relaxed in the gazebo with some snacks.

The gazebo provides a great view of Lake George.

After a rest, we pushed on to the blue waterfall trail.

This year we were finally rewarded with water! It’s so pretty. This goes on for quite a while downwards behind me as well.

.

.

A couple large groups of people got there after us. Definitely many people had the same idea of it being great weather for a hike!  We headed back to the gazebo and went down the other side.

When we did this hike before, we came up this side and down the other. It’s definitely shorter on this  side and greener.

This is that time of year where the green is so fresh and vibrant.

It felt like going through the Emerald Forest.

It makes the crappy winters worth it to have this stuff so accessible for us.

We finally got to the connecting part of the loop:

The hike was 4.2 miles (ish). It took us 1-1/2 hours of hike time not including our snack break. This was a good start to the year. My sister has started doing the High Peaks hikes. She wants to be a 46er (there are 46 high peaks). We might do a few, but I’m not sure I want to do 46 of them LOL!

This is a highly recommended hike. Some challenging spots, but it’s very doable. There were lots of kids on the trail, too. And dogs…

Rush Pond Hike

We decided to go on a hike this weekend. Do you know this is the first hike we have done all year?  Other than hiking all over Ireland. Time just get away from us and we spent a lot of time on the bikes.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, about 60 degrees and sunny. This is a trail that we pass by on one of our regular bike routes, so I wanted to check it out.

img_4305b

Colors are a poppin’ now.

img_4304b

This is really a beautiful trail. Much different from our mountain hikes.

img_4307b

The path is pretty smooth and well marked. A few climbs here and there, but not too hard.

img_4311b

Not sure why this is off to the side. It kind of seems like something you would see on a mini golf course or a theme park LOL

img_4309b

.

img_4314b

.

img_4315b

.

img_4317b

.

img_4320b

.

img_4322b

.

img_4327b

The sun was streaming through the leaves of this tree.  It looks like an instragram filter or something.

img_4341b

.

img_4343b

Somebody lost a shoe!

img_4345b

.

img_4347b

.

img_4348b

.

img_4354b

The hike ended up exactly 5 miles. It’s such an enjoyable trail and I could see doing some winter hiking here. We thought about cross country skiing, but some of the hills are too steep for newbie skiers 😀

More Ireland posts coming this week!

Spruce Mountain Fire Tower Hike

We did another official trail hike, but first – the pink picture of the day!  My new biking jacket. It is super bright 😀

WP_20151014_002

The Breast Cancer Site

On to the hike!  On Monday, my sister and BIL had the day off since they are state employees. I was working, but managed to take off in the afternoon so John and I could join them on the hike.  The trail we went on was Spruce Mountain.  This trail was finally finished after getting some easements to make the trail passable all the way to the fire tower. The firetower was in disrepair for many years, but they just finished the restoration so that you can climb up the 5 (!!!) stories to get to the top.  The trail closes by mid October for hunting season, so there are only a couple weeks left to go.

Apparently,we were not the only ones who wanted to squeeze in a holiday hike.  We were pretty surprised at the number of cars at the trail head.

IMG_1050

It actually wasn’t super crowded on the trail and it seemed most people were on their way down when we started up.

IMG_1055

.

IMG_1062

Since there were easements, instructions were to stay on the paths.  Some property owner put this up by a section:

IMG_1064

Okay, then.  The trail was pretty much all wooded on the way up and mostly just forest floor instead of the rocky climbs we have done before.

IMG_1136b

Check out how this tree perfectly fell into the V of two other trees.

IMG_1096

Talk about threading the needle. We had to duck a little bit under this tree.

You could almost make 2 canoes out of this split tree:

IMG_1099

Woodpecker damage on an old stump:

IMG_1098

This trail pretty much kept climbing upwards for the whole 1.2 miles to get to the firetower. It definitely got the heart rate up there!  We did have Gryffon with us again on this hike, so we took breaks for him (and us!).

IMG_1092

He’s so special he has his own collapsible, portable water bowl!

More and more climbing and we started to enter a different landscape:

 

IMG_1107b

Yippee!!  We finally saw our destination:

IMG_1110

I have to say the thought of climbing this made me a little nervous. I am not a fan of heights, but I didn’t hike 1.2 miles up a mountain not to get to the top!

Gryffon didn’t get to go up in the tower. He was attached to a tree while we climbed:

IMG_1133b

There were only a few people there, thank goodness. It would have been hard to get up and down if we had been there earlier with all the people we saw coming down.  Good thing I was busy at work in the morning and delayed the hike 😉

The fire tower was originally built in 1928 (there I go with my favorite time period). Thank goodness they refurbished it… Colleen and Dave climbing:

IMG_1135

The view was getting better with each floor up:

IMG_1115b

Colleen says “Lean out of the tower!”. She wanted our picture from above.  Eek!  Not too far. (This was her picture).

firetower

These actually were out of order as John and I climbed first and she took these when we were on our way down, but I wanted to save the view shots for last.

Higher and it was a loooong way down. Look at the tiny people below:

IMG_1121b

It was a little scary, I have to admit, but the view was incredible. This is at the very top.  There is a plexiglass enclosure so you don’t fall out, I guess, although the floors on the way up are wide open.

foliage

You can see for 120 miles from up here and are the colors not amazing?!!?!

We made it!! Top of the world!

WP_20151012_002

Interesting note. Selfie was done on my phone. You can see the difference how the phone does not pick up the fall colors like the Rebel does. 

IMG_1131b

.

IMG_1125a

We really picked the perfect day to go to see colors.  I just could not get over this view.  Here is the shadow of the firetower while we were up top:

IMG_1127b

This was definitely worth the climb up. Going down was pretty much all downhill and fast (relatively for hiking).  I took a few more pictures, but they just can’t compare to the fire tower shots LOL.  It was about 2.5 miles round trip for this hike.  I do recommend this one for sure.  Several days later and I keep thinking about the view from the fire tower. 

Pilot’s Knob Hike

We had company this weekend and one of the requests for things to do was go on a hike.  We looked for easier trails and settled on Pilot’s Knob, although it might have been a bit more challenging that we expected. 🙂

IMG_0495

The trail head is about 10 miles from home, so not very far at all!

It started out somewhat more uphill that we were anticipating, but it was shaded and pretty.

IMG_0500

.

IMG_0507

The trail was quite well marked and well traveled. It wasn’t quite as rocky as Sleeping Beauty, but still a little challenging with tree roots.

IMG_0502

.

IMG_0509

We hit a fork in the trail, both of which led to the gazebo.

IMG_0512

We weren’t sure which to take, but then someone coming down said the trail was a little easier and more interesting to look at, so we went to the right.

IMG_0515

My love:

IMG_0524

Finally up to the clearing and the gazebo 1 mile up.

IMG_0546

We had some protein bars and fruit here and enjoyed the view!

WP_20150919_007

That’s Lake George.

IMG_0548

 

I finally got my first butterfly shot of the year up here. This was taken with the 300 zoom.

IMG_0555

After a rest, our friend wanted to continue on, so we headed on the blue trail to the waterfall, which was supposed to be dry at this time of year:

IMG_0562

We haven’t had a ton of rain lately and even the normally muddy areas were dry:

IMG_0565

We didn’t have to walk on that to stay dry.  This is my favorite shot of the guys right here:

IMG_0567

We made it to the waterfall (at a total of 2.5 miles from the start), which was pretty dry – obviously or I wouldn’t be standing in it!:

IMG_0582

Itty bitty trickle of water.

IMG_0583

This is mostly full in the spring. I would like to come back and see that.  We decided to turn around and hike back at this point.  Back to the gazebo and back down the orange path:

IMG_0547

I found a little toad friend.  I actually almost stepped on him!

IMG_0591

It was a bit of a steep descent, so I packed the camera away after that so I wouldn’t drop it or if I slipped it wouldn’t get damaged.  Didn’t care about me, just save the camera!

We did about 5 miles of hiking.  It was a good hike and I would do this one again as well.  Although, there are so many great trails yet to explore.

We had a post hike treat!

WP_20150919_008

It’s not a cupcake, but still pretty darn good 😀

Sleeping Beauty Hike

We finally did our first official Adirondack hike.  We took the Sleeping Beauty trail in Adirondack National Park. The trail head was about 40 minutes from our house, so not bad – although we were up early 😀

WP_20150816_001

 

We knew the hike would be around 6 miles, but it turned out closer to 7 miles since we took a loop around Bump’s pond instead of straight up and down.

Partners in crime for the day:

WP_20150816_005

 

This is my new hiking stick I got at the art festival a couple months ago.

WP_20150816_002

We actually had to walk 1.5 miles just to get to the trail head from this parking lot.  That was the easy part, then it got pretty rocky and hilly.

WP_20150816_034

It was humid, but we were in the shade of trees for the majority of the climb, which was really nice.  I was sweating like the dickens, though.  That humidity thing.

WP_20150816_038

The trail was really well marked and a fair number of people on it as well. Lots of people had the same idea of an early hike to beat the heat!

Lots of neat pictures to take. I won’t post too many since I don’t want to flood your reader 😀

.

WP_20150816_003

 

.

WP_20150816_025

.

WP_20150816_013

 

Finally we saw a happy sign!

WP_20150816_048

 

And what a view it was:

 

.

 

WP_20150816_071

 

That’s Lake George down there where we bike to all the time.

WP_20150816_062

 

.

WP_20150816_080

Here is a little movie of the view from the summit:

We ate some lunch at the top and then headed back down taking a loop around Bump’s Pond.

WP_20150816_086

If we had known it was going to add that extra mile, we wouldn’t have done it because we were pretty darn tired when we got to the bottom.  Although Gryffon was really happy to take a swim.

I think we should have brought more food, but otherwise it was suited pretty well for us since we bike a lot.  It was a little bit long of a hike – and next time we do this one, we will skip the pond.  It would be such a gorgeous view from the summit during fall colors!

 

Hiking in Vermont

Finally – a trip away! It was a short one. My birthday was Friday and I managed to get in my 47 miles of riding. That was a bit tiring, but very good to get it done!

Saturday morning, we left for an overnight trip to Vermont.  We stopped first in Rutland to do shopping. Poor John, I dragged him to all the Vintage shops I could find 😀

WP_20150606_011

I did manage to score a couple chairs at a sale from an auction house. 

WP_20150607_012

The one on the left is going to get painted a color and go into the garden with a flower pot where the missing seat is. The one on the right will get reupholstered for the inside.  Grand total for both chairs was $4.  Can you believe that?  One was $3 and and one was $2, but then the lady said it was $4 for both.  Who can pass up a deal like that?  Not me  🙂

We booked a place in Killington at Mountain Valley Resort, which is a B&B.  What a gem this place is!

WP_20150606_026

 

 

Our room was lovely looking out the back:

WP_20150606_022

 

Our hosts were very nice.  They also told us about a hiking trail just down the road, so we headed down to check it out.  It started in the marshy area with a nice bridge:

WP_20150606_032

 

Then we got to the climbing area. You could head 2 different ways and we took the shorter one to the falls since it was in the evening.

WP_20150606_034

 

.

WP_20150606_036

So beautiful and what a nice treat to find!

WP_20150606_039

 

We decided the next morning to go back up there and hike the other side. After a wonderful breakfast from our hosts, we headed back.

WP_20150607_001

This climbed up quite a bit.

WP_20150606_042

 

Turns out it is part of the Appalachian trail!

WP_20150607_003

 

It went on for quite a while going up.

WP_20150607_004

 

It’s a very well marked trail as well.  Our new hiking shoes did great, too!

WP_20150607_005

 

We could have gone on for a long, long time, but we weren’t really set up for a whole morning of hiking. We ended up doing about 3 miles.

I would for sure come back here to hike these trails again.  I love my biking first and foremost, but we are enjoying the hiking 😀

It was also great to get away and relax for the weekend!