September 4, 2017
Frankie was in the midst of one of his epic breakfasts, where he grazes and nibbles intermittently, but mainly focuses on reading drifts of Highlights and Ranger Rick, when I noticed a text notification. I had a message from Erin that she was heading to Beaver Lake and had also invited our Dad, Bruce. Apparently Alden was sad that we weren't coming. I casually mentioned this to Frankie, and he wanted to leave -- immediately. I told Erin we might come and find them, but not to wait for us, as we were still in pajamas and have a much longer drive. It was obvious where they would go. Alden is two and I remember those days: the Bog Trail is the only trail that matters.
September 1, 2017
4,627 ft. | Ranked 12/46 in height
4,627 ft. | Ranked 12/46 in height
In 2015, we spent a long weekend in Keene Valley, at a rental house with a direct view of Giant Mountain. Frankie, who was four at the time, immediately declared that he wanted to climb "that mountain." He was not remotely discouraged when we told him it is a very hard hike. Over the course of the weekend, and continuing back at home afterwards, Frankie repeatedly expressed his desire to climb Giant. He talked about it persistently, adorably calling it "Gigantic" for a while. He was not to be deterred. I didn't want to rush into to anything though - Giant actually is pretty gigantic. I have taken Frankie hiking pretty regularly his whole life, but they were/are typically short hikes close to home, hikes without significant elevation gain. At that point he had climbed only very small Adirondack mountains fully under his own power: Bald Mountain and Mount Jo. His longest hikes had been a pair of four milers, in Tuscany and at Highland Forest. Nothing remotely comparable to a High Peak.
August 31, 2017
We had been planning on climbing Giant today, if the weather was good, in hopes of avoiding the holiday weekend crowds. However, the forecast was not great, with rain predicted, so didn't set alarms for this morning. Giant is a big mountain with big views. Frankie has been looking forward to climbing it for so long, we wanted him to get to enjoy it on a nice day. The forecast for tomorrow is clear, so deferring a day seemed like our best option. It was also much later than planned when we arrived in Keene last night, and then we went out for dinner after we got settled in the vacation rental. As a result, it was pretty late when we finally got Frankie to bed last night; another good reason to have a slow morning today to rest up for the big push tomorrow.
August 26, 2017
We hadn't been to Great Bear since April, so Erin and I decided to meet up there for a Saturday morning hike. It always has good reliable rock throwing, amazingly enough -- you'd think the boys would have thrown them all in by now. We hiked our default loop down to the river and back. The boys found an additional opportunity for throwing fun in an old dead red pine from which big chunky blocks of bark had sloughed off, forming drifts on the ground. These apparently made perfect missiles to be launched into the forest. Poor Alden took a few spills running, always running, but that is to be expected at his age, and he still had a great time, overall. Frankie played with various sticks in passing, but there was no hoarding. The weather has seemingly turned, and it was a lovely cool morning. Such a relief to get a break from the ubiquitous oppressive humidity! All in all, a great little hike.
August 19, 2017
The orange-blazed Fellows Hill Loop is part of the Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) system. The 3.6-mile loop is located in Morgan Hill State Forest, and can be accessed from the snowplow turnaround at the end of the paved section of Herhily Road, or from the the parking area at Spruce Pond further south along the dirt road portion of Herhily Road. I was curious to explore a new trailhead, so I parked at the snowplow turnaround, which was empty. There is a small footbridge crossing the ditch on the east side of the road, with orange blazes clearly visible on both sides of the path. The trail to the west wasn't immediately visible, but since I wanted to go east first, up Fellows Hill, this didn't bother me.
August 12, 2017
Another Saturday morning, and another meet up with Erin... we decided to try another "new" place for the boys to throw rocks in the water. This a great way for us all to spend time together. There is enough of an age gap between Frankie and Alden that when we meet at a playground, they naturally end up doing different things. When we hike together, Frankie definitely has greater range and can handle more difficult terrain than Alden, but we can compensate for that by choosing short hikes with lengthy stops to play. Nature play is a great equalizer; it is something a wide range of ages can enjoy together. Small, medium, or large -- I've yet to meet a kid who doesn't like throwing rocks in the water. Plus, hiking is obviously much more pleasant for Erin and I!
August 9, 2017
4,736feet | ranked 10/46 in height | 28th peak climbed
4,400 feet | ranked 22/46 in height | 29th peak climbed
Upper Wolf Jaw
4,185 feet | ranked 29/46 in height | 10th peak climbed (repeat)
I have been itching to get up into the Adirondack High Peaks for what feels like forever; it is more or less a permanent affliction. So when Erwin planned a short trip with Frankie to South Carolina to visit my mother-in-law, I saw a potential opportunity. I didn't have enough vacation time to join them on the trip, but would still have one day off while they were gone. Obviously I wanted to hike! This happened once before, in 2015, and I was able to hike Santanoni and Panther with my Dad, so there is established precedence. Erin wouldn't be able to join me due to logistical issues, and I'd felt my Dad out for general interest earlier in the summer. Unfortunately, he's been dealing with some back pain, of the same kind that bothered him on our hike in the Santanonis, and didn't think it would be wise to attempt a High Peak.