September 1, 2019

Bear Den Mountain

We have been coming up to the High Peaks region at this time of year for a long, long time, and always like to mix it up, hiking both big and smaller mountains, and squeezing in a paddle, too, if we can manage.  This year I was eager to check out Bear Den Mountain, which I learned of through its inclusion in the Lake Placid 9'er hiking challenge, which describes the peak as "a hidden gem."  An off-the-beaten-path destination was exactly what we wanted for the holiday weekend, so I added Bear Den to our itinerary.  And boy, did it deliver!

August 29, 2019


5,114 feet  |  ranked 2/46 in height  |  6th peak climbed (repeat)

This is the fourth consecutive Labor Day weekend that Frankie has wanted to climb a High Peak, so of course I was thrilled to take him up another mountain.  He really wants to do Marcy, just because it is the biggest, but the length of the approach intimidates him, so he decided to wait until he is 10.  But Algonquin is a short hike for such a big mountain and he was sure he could handle that.  I tried to steer him toward Wright, leaving Algonquin to pair with Iroquois later, but for various reasons, that did not work out.  But we did make it up Algonquin...

August 2, 2019

Gray and Skylight via the ADK Loj

4,926 feet  |  ranked 7/46 in height  |  33rd peak climbed 
4,840 feet  |  ranked 4/46 in height  |  34th peak climbed 
In what has become an annual tradition, Erwin took Frankie for a summer visit to the beach and family in South Carolina, and I stayed home to work... and snuck off to the mountains for a solo hike.  I waffled a bit, indecisive about where I would hike.  Last year I car-camped off Corey's Road and felt a little self-conscious showing up at the alpine flora workshop afterwards so unwashed; Corey's is primitive camping with no running water, so I was several days without a shower, inclusive of climbing Donaldson and Emmons on a muggy day where I sweated buckets.  Irregardless of the baby wipe "bath", I surely reeked with a vengeance.  I thought perhaps I should stay somewhere with water this year.  Then I struck on the brilliant plan to stay at the Heart Lake.  The campground was already fully booked, but I could get a bunk at the Loj for two nights.  Sold!

July 24, 2019

Goodnow Mountain

Frankie and I had been thwarted on a previous attempt at Goodnow, when the trail and fire tower were both closed due to active maintenance - meteorological equipment was being replaced on the tower, and there were safety concerns about falling objects.  So today was a little bit of redemption, the views that much sweeter for having to wait.  We did this as a day trip, driving up to Newcomb, hiking, then driving back home.  That's a long day, with more time in the car than hiking, but it was totally worth it to scratch this lingering itch.  And the views here really are fantastic!

July 13, 2019

Jones Hill & Tinker Falls

This was our first weekend home after returning from Europe, and Frankie and I wanted to meet up with Erin and Alden.  Alden is about the same age Frankie was when he first climbed up to the hang glider launch spot on Jones Hill, so I suggested that.  It is a substantially longer drive from Erin's house than from mine, so she drove to our house and then rode with Frankie and I the rest of the way.  I was last up here in January 2018, so was pleased to return after such a long absence.  Jones Hill is a hike worth revisiting again and again.

June 30, 2019

Jungfraujoch to Mönchsjochhütte

We needed a break from the unrelenting heat, and decided a trip to the "Top of Europe" might be just the ticket.  This is a very popular and very expensive activity.  We booked our tickets at the tourism office in Lauterbrunnen, where the staff is very patient and helpful, and selected an early morning departure.  There is a lot to see at Jungfraujoch, both inside and out, and just getting there is quite the journey.  The train ride is about an hour and a half in each direction, including a transfer to a different train at Kleine Scheidegg.  I absolutely love trains, so the entire journey was very exciting for me.

June 28, 2019

First > Bachalpsee > Waldspitz > Bort Traverse

We arrived in Europe in the midst of a massive heat wave that would unfortunately last the entire duration of our trip.  The only time the temperature did not hit the 90s was our last day in Zurich before flying home.  When we were staying in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, it was close to 100 degrees every single day.  This was crushing for me, as we had to scale back some of our planned adventures.  For example, I had been hoping to hike from Schynige Platte to First, a high alpine route with spectacular view that would start with a 19th-century cogwheel train ride and end with a gondola ride.  However, that hike is 10 miles with 2,700 feet elevation gain and not a speck of shade.  It seemed like a lot to ask of an 8-year old on a 98-degree day.  So I did some research and found a shorter route that would still take us to the stunning alpine lake, Bachalpsee, but would be less likely to result in heat stroke.