Posts in category hiking

Hiking: Whiteface

I knew that Whiteface was different from most of the peaks we have climbed, because it was an operating ski mountain during the winter, but that came with unexpected surprises.

The weather was perfect - a bit chilly at first and also at the summit but very comfortable once we started moving.

At several points along the trail, we were reminded that this was a ski mountain when we crossed big, cleared trails dotted with snow-making equipment, signs, and chair lifts.

As we approached the summit, we apparently got off trail and ran into an impressively high stone wall. Coincidentally, this is around when we started hearing engine noises.

We finally rose above the wall and found a line of cars waiting their turn to drive to the summit. They did not seem to notice us.

The summit was busy with maybe fifty people who had driven up. Judging by the trail register, it looked like only six or so people hiked up.


Also, it was fall.

Hiking: Black Mountain

I am a few weekends behind in posting this, but we hiked Black Mountain by Lake George, and although we selected it because it was relatively close and quick, it was a good hike. The ridge in the middle of the picture is the Tongue Range where we have previously hiked, and one of the islands ought to be Turtle Island, where we have previously camped. The weather was perfect.


Hiking: Algonquin and Iroquois

This weekend we climbed Algonquin, then Iroquois, then back over Algonquin. That should count as three peaks. My Tracks on my Moto X stopped recording before we even reached the first summit, and I am not pleased.


This was the first time I had the opportunity to carry rocks to the summit.

Getting back to Algonquin from Iroquois was more demanding than I would have expected.

Hiking: Dix Mountain


This mountain has a higher difficulty rating than most we have done, but it did not seem too much different. There was a long hike to and from the mountain, and there were some steep sections.

It seems like most people camped near the trail not too far from the mountain, but we hiked 7.3 miles from the Elk Lake Road parking area to the summit via Hunter's Pass and 6.6 miles back via the Beckhorn. The parking area was basically full at 8:15AM.

The views were great, and the summit was big enough that we could find a nice quiet spot to stop and relax. The weather was perfect, with a predicted high in the high 60s.

My phone stopped recording data on the way back, possibly because it was busy delivering me email when I briefly got a signal at the summit.

Hiking: Big Slide

Because an ADK Ranger mentioned it, we did Big Slide on Saturday. This was a nice challenging hike, considering I have not done much yet this season, and it had some fantastic views.

Even with an early start, the parking lot was full at 8:30AM, so we parked in the town, and an extra 1.5 miles was added to our hike in each direction. Also, my phone mysteriously stopped recording GPS data on the way down.


I walked up some rocks.

Lots of people at the summit tried to point out what each peak was to each other. I have probably been on some of these, but there is no way I can tell without them clearly labeled on a map.

Hiking: Crane Mountain


We hiked Crane Mountain last weekend. The weather was perfect except for a few sprinkles on the way down.

This was a pleasantly short hike, but it was very steep. It left me pretty winded, and something drove my allergies wild the whole time.

Do You Want to Go to Puerto Rico? Yes

A few weeks back, I spent five days in Puerto Rico. This is how it went.


The morning after we arrived, we went on an Adventuras Tierra caving adventure. This included meeting the group at 5:45AM, zip-lining down into a clave, climbing, swimming, and generally jumping around in the cave and then climbing back out of it all. It was quite exhausting but set us off to a great start for the trip.


We stayed at the Caribe Hilton on San Juan Island, which left us a forty minute walk to Old San Juan or about half that to Condado. We hit both frequently for food.

In addition to some parrots in the lobby, the hotel had some peacocks that enjoyed making a great deal of noise as well as a turkey, white and black swans, ducks, and geese.


We were teased for saying we hiked by the caving group. Other places call it trekking or more exciting things than "walking up a mountain."

We headed to El Yunque to get a taste of a tropical mountain.

Here are some of the differences I noticed compared to the Adirondacks:

  • Lots of palm trees, not pine trees.
  • Lots of snails, not squirrels.
  • Frequent rain shelters.
  • A road went up to the summit of this particular mountain.
  • A waterfall on the path below where we hiked was a bit chilly but refreshing and much appreciated after we finished.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan:

  • Good food.
  • Lots of forts.


The last night, we did a much-recommended bio-luminescent bay kayaking tour.

I completely failed to capture photographs of the bio-luminescence, but the glowing effect as we splashed around in the water was fascinating, and I didn't want to leave.


Except for some computer reboots and power outages at Philadelphia airport, travel was uneventful.


The day after I got back, I participated in a game jam.

Hiking Summary 2014

Because I was asked and did not know off the top of my head, we climbed five Adirondacks high peaks this summer:

PeakHeight (feet / meters)Rank
Marcy5,344 / 1,6291
Algonquin5,114 / 1,5592
Sawteeth4,100 / 1,25035
Cascade4,098 / 1,24936
Porter4,059 / 1,23738

The non-Adirondack peaks we climbed included:

Hiking: Overlook Mountain #2

This happened over a month ago, and I'm just getting around to posting it. This was my second time up Overlook Mountain.


Hiking: Buck Mountain

This was a nice and short hike, with an impressive view, not too far away, preceded by an amazing breakfast at Iron Roost.


Hiking: Algonquin Mountain

This Sunday, we set out to hit the Iroquois, Algonquin, and Wright Peaks. It did not work out that way, but it was a great hike anyway.

My phone died shortly after we passed the path to Wright Peak, so there are about 2.5 miles of data missing. Fitbit says I took 34,446 steps the day of the hike.


When arrived at the Adirondack Loj in a cold drizzle. Some rangers tried to make sure we had rain gear and flashlights. It did not look promising, but the forecast for Saturday was about the same, and we are running out of summer days.

Based on what I had read of other people hiking these peaks, I wanted to go out by Avalanche and Colden Lake first, which would bring us around the back of the mountains. I was hoping to get most of the hiking on level terrain out of the way so that we would not have a long drudge back to the car after we were sore from the climb. We did it that way, but in retrospect, we might have been less sore if we had gone up the less steep side.

The hike out to the lakes was muddy and rough. The views were pretty great.

Once we passed the lakes, we had a very steep, wet climb up the mountain. We zigzagged across a stream bed several times and on occasion basically climbed straight up waterfalls.

Eventually we reached the alpine-arctic vegetation zone, which meant we were near the peak. Around here, the clouds really took over. It was very eerie, and though I was hoping to see the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, this was pretty spectacular too.

For a brief moment, the clouds opened up a bit near the Wright peak, and I snapped this picture:

The hike back down was mostly uneventful. When we described our route to one of the summit stewards, he said, "oh, you went up the steep side!"

Hiking: Tongue Mountain Range

After climbing Mount Marcy, we decided we should take a bit of a break from hiking. Two weeks later, we found ourselves out on Tongue Mountain Range, with this excellent view of Lake George:

It was a good hike, a bit reminiscent of Sawteeth, with its ups and downs and long flat section. There was some interesting wildlife around. The weather was perfect, and we had a nice break at the waterfront when we eventually reached it.


Hiking: Mount Marcy

Last weekend, I hiked to the highest point in New York state.

It went well.

We got there a little bit later than planned, around 10am, and the Adirondack Loj parking area was full, so we had to park further away and extend our hike by a few miles.

The hike up the mountain was not bad. I think there were probably as many people on it as were on Cascade Mountain, but we did not see as many, since people were more spread out.

I tried to record GPS data as usual, but when I checked on it, I realized it never actually acquired a GPS signal the entire hike. There seem to be bugs with this that I have somehow never encountered before. I see some reports that Motorola devices especially have a bug preventing them from acquiring a GPS signal when they are not able to transmit. This has to be a recent issue. I was recording on a Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX running Android 4.1.2 with Google Play services 4.4.52 and My Tracks 2.0.7, on Verizon Wireless. The lesson is: do not rely on the "Now Recording..." message to indicate that you are recording GPS data. Wait to see that GPS data is being displayed.

I recall especially that we encountered a sign marking 1.2 miles to the summit near a clearing. This was probably the biggest mental setback of the climb, because we could see the summit off in the distance, and it still looked quite far. Also somebody actually ran past us at this point.

I think we started hiking around 10:00AM, reached the summit around 1:40PM, started down at 2:30PM, and got to the car at about 6:00PM. The data my phone did record says that 8 hours is just about right. Judging by the signs, I believe our total distance was about 15.2 miles.

The mountain also did funny things to my breathing and circulation beyond just the normal tiring me out.

The view at the summit was pretty great. It was a bit busy, windy, and cold, but we found a nice quiet rock to sit behind to eat lunch which solved all of that.

More wallpaper material:

The mostly level path back to the car was maybe the most mentally challenging part. It was longer than I remembered going out, and the insects had come out.

In summary, the hike looked like this:

Hiking: Sawteeth

This was an interesting hike. I did not know much going into it except that it was listed as "hard" and that it had ladders.

The first surprise was that the parking lot was over three miles from the mountains. We walked past a golf course and down a long dirt road through the woods to get to the actual trail. Even then, we hiked along the edge of a lake for some time before even beginning to ascend. I was fairly concerned at how tired I was before we even started to climb.


There was plenty of climbing, and some of the views made it really worth the effort.

This was the first mountain climb that went more or less like I naively imagined climbing a mountain would work. Much of the trail was just a scramble upward over whatever terrain happened to be in the way. At least that is how it felt compared to Cascade, where the trail was far more traveled and seemed to wind more gradually up the mountain. The big difference, which is obvious in retrospect, was that we basically hit three separate peaks over the course of the hike - Sawteeth.

This is a picture taken from a bridge that returned us to civilization. I almost lost my phone here while trying to shake a spider off of it immediately after joking that I ought not to drop my phone.

Hiking: Cascade Mountain #2 and Porter Mountain

I had plans to go hiking this weekend, but we decided on a trail at the last minute. The weather turned out to be perfect. There was no snow like last time, but we did pass an icy patch near the summit. We went to Porter Mountain first and then made the short (but steep) trip to Cascade Mountain. The view from both were great. I do not think I noticed the first time that you could see people on each peak from the other. Next time I need to bring semaphore flags.

I tried to make a time lapse video of the entire hike. Several things happened:

  • The camera stopped recording before I reached the second peak.
  • At one shot every five seconds, there was not enough continuous motion to make anything watchable.
  • I have almost 2000 decent shots of awesome trails.


The other technology failure came from my work-provided FitBit Flex. Something is causing it to drain its battery super fast. I charged it the night before, but it only recorded about 500 steps that day. I think I am done with it.

Hiking: Overlook Mountain


There was a bicycle race in Woodstock which made it hard to actually get to the mountain. Once we did, it was a bit warm and humid at first, but the weather was perfect the rest of the time. The maintenance guy was working on the fire tower at the top of the mountain, which gave us the opportunity to get into the room at the top. I could be a bit better with heights.

The first attraction was an abandoned and decaying hotel. At the summit, there was a small building with nature and historic information. There was also a fire tower, which was conveniently open as the caretaker was cleaning it. I think we were probably the last group to be allowed up it that day.

Hiking: Hogback

Went for a hike! It was still snowy in Vermont.


Hiking: Cascade Mountain

Lauren and I set out to climb our first mountain today. Some of my coworkers suggested Cascade Mountain, so we did a little research and decided to go for it. It is cited as one of the easiest of the 46 Adirondack high peaks, but it was an awful lot of work.

When people say it's well worth it for the view, this is what they mean: