February 23, 2019
Baltimore Woods is a nature center and natural area managed by the Central New York Land Trust. Despite Frankie attending summer camp here for the last few years, and it being in semi-regular (though infrequent) rotation, I have somehow never dedicated a full post to our hikes here. Today we met Erin and Alden, and made our default circuit. This loop follows the Valley Trail down the steep hill, then crosses the stream and turns right, following the Boundary Trail east until the small gravel bed on the left. With the labyrinth buried under the snow, we moved on, climbing up the hill on the Overlook Trail. Of course we stopped for a snack at the eponymous overlook, then continued along, dropping back into the valley and following the Boundary Trail until the turnoff to the other side of the Valley Trail, which we climbed back up to the parking area at the top.
February 18, 2019
I have to work tomorrow, so today had to be our travel day to get us back home. I had been planning to stop and hike another small mountain on the way home, the way Frankie and I did with Belfry and Mount Arab. Unfortunately it was snowing pretty hard and Erwin decided he wanted to take the Northway and the Thruway home; he'd driven through some rough conditions on Route 8 on the way up Friday night, and thought the highway would be in better shape. I had a Plan B for just that circumstance: Severance Hill in the Schroon Lake area -- it's right off the Northway, so I thought it would have easy access. Wrong! The parking lot hadn't been plowed, and not just from today's snow. It didn't look like it had been plowed all winter. Erwin stopped at Stewart's in Schroon Lake, and we tried to come up with a Plan C, but couldn't think of another option that wouldn't involve back roads. I was devastated. Even a milkshake failed to raise me from the depths of despair. We got back on the highway and kept driving south. The highway was a mess.
February 17, 2019
Big Crow Mountain is another one we hiked back in 2011, with Frankie riding up in the Kelty backpack carrier. It was super hot and muggy that day, with haze smothering the High Peaks, but it was evident that the views from the summit would be spectacular on a clear day. I've been wanting to come back ever since, and was hoping we'd have a clear day this weekend to try to get those views. Big Crow fit our criteria perfectly to continue our first foray into Adirondack winter hiking: it represents a known entity, and is a short hike with views. The bluebird skies that so thrilled us in the morning didn't end up lasting all day, but the views were still orders of magnitude clearer than our first hike up. And Frankie got to hike another new peak.
February 16, 2019
December and January were excruciating for me with insane work deadlines and crazy overtime. I finally hit my targets and things eased a bit, but I badly needed help de-stressing, a distraction. What could be better than the mountains? We have never spent much time in the Adirondacks in the winter. We spend time outside year-round at home, but truthfully, I have always been a little intimidated by my perception of the heightened dangers of winter in the back country. However, we've talked about it sort of idly for years, and finally decided to give it a go with a long weekend so Frankie wouldn't miss any school. Turns out President's Day weekend is a crazy time up there, and everything in Lake Placid was booked, but we were able to secure a cozy little room at the Keene Valley Lodge. We have stayed here before, and it's a perfect base for adventuring.