Friday, October 31, 2008

Biking - Mohawk River Bike Path

Another easy river loop today. Details here...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Biking - Historical Tour of Ballston

We did part of a historical driving tour of the Town of Ballston today, by bicycle. Details here...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hiking - Acra Point (Catskills)

Holly and I both had other things to do this morning, and wanted to get out for a short hike this afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny fall day in the 50s, not to be wasted. We decided to climb Acra Point, in the northeastern Catskills, only about 90 minutes from home, near Maplecrest, NY.

It was an easy one-mile climb up to the ridge between Acra Point and its neighbor, Burnt Knob, and only another half mile to a wide open view of the Blackhead Range. These mountains and this profile are visible from Albany on a moderately clear day, and it was nice to see them up close.

There are two interesting things in this picture. (1) is the sharp cutoff between hardwoods and balsam fir around 3900 feet or so. These mountains are all between 3900 and 4000 feet. (2) is the fact that snow is on the ground of these north-facing slopes just below the balsam line. Fall foliage is totally gone, except at lower elevations on south-facing slopes, having been blown down by recent strong north winds.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

5k Run - Mohawk River Bike Path

Fall weather is definitely here, and with temps only around 50 degrees, I'm having trouble getting motivated to do much biking. I decided to get out for a run today, just to do something. Although I've been doing the same 5k route several times previously this fall, today was different. After about a half mile, my right knee started complaining, and I couldn't continue. I walked a few steps, tried again, but still a no-go, so I turned around and started walking back to the car, still with twinges. Then it stopped. I tried running again, and finished a 5k with no further pain.

I had arthroscopic surgery on my left knee for a torn meniscus in 1995, and it's been solid ever since. I've known all along that the right knee has had a lesser but similar problem, but today was the first time it ever stopped me from doing anything. It's probably the same thing - a little flap of torn cartilage out of place, which eventually snapped back where it belonged. Need to keep an eye on this one...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hiking - Dial and Nippletop Mountains

Today I got together with my youngest brother and some of his friends to climb two more Adirondack High Peaks. All four of them are working on climbing the Adirondack 46, and I'd climbed these two already twice before.

I left Schenectady at 4:00am and drove north to meet them at the trailhead, while they were staying nearby near Lake Placid. We hit the trail a little after 7:00, just after dawn, and temps were in the low 30s. After a couple of hours of climbing, we reached the site of a 1999 forest fire that cleared a minor summit of Bear Den Mountain and opened up some spectacular new views of the Great Range and beyond. As always, click on the picture for a larger version.

After a stop for pictures here, we continued on to Dial Mountain, at 4,020 feet the 41st in height among the 46 peaks. Again, there were stupendous views of the Great Range, and we lingered here for a snack until we began to feel chilled.

Setting off from Dial, we headed inward farther away from the trailhead toward Nippletop Mountain, the 13th in height at 4,620 feet. Nippletop has some of the best views of any of the 46 highest peaks, and we really didn't want to leave.

Unfortunately, it was after 2:00 pm, and we now had a good 6 miles to cover back to the cars. The first mile dropped abruptly about 1,300 feet, and it wasn't made any easier by the ice-covered rocks. Temperatures had never risen above the low 30s at these elevations. After a very deliberate descent, we finally made it to the Lake Road, on the private property of the Adirondack Mountain Reserve and the Ausable Club. It's a private road open to hikers that leads to many trails in the area, and provides a quick and easy route back to the cars after a long day on the trail.

We reached the cars around 6:15 pm, just before dark, after 11 hours and 13 tough miles of hiking, but as somebody said "It's all about the views."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Biking - Mohawk River Bike Path and Local Roads

I needed something to loosen up the legs from yesterday's hike, so got out for a leisurely flat river loop. Details here...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hiking - Whiteface Mountain

Holly's working on climbing the Adirondack 46 (I finished in 1990), so today we went to climb Whiteface Mountain, near Wilmington, NY. At 4,867 feet, Whiteface is the 5th highest peak in New York State, and though it has a tourist road to the summit, that road closed for the season yesterday, so there would be no hordes of tourists as there are in season.

We approached Whiteface via the shortest route, 7.8 miles round trip with 3000+ feet of elevation gain. This route begins by first climbing Marble Mountain from the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, just outside the beginning of the summit toll road. This center occupies the former Marble Mountain ski lodge, and the trail to Marble follows the route of the ski center's old T-bar lift. That means it goes straight up without a break for almost a mile. We stopped on Marble to take in the views, and continued on, reaching the summit of Whiteface in several hours, as the clouds began lowering. The wind was consistently between 25-40 mph with occasional spits of drizzle. Views were less than the usual spectacular as views go, because of the weather and the fact that the fall foliage was well past peak. The views are so expansive that photos hardly do them justice, but here are a few that came out sort of OK.

This rainbow appeared off to the northeast as showers continued off and on all around us.

This view is looking to the southeast. On a clearer day, Lake Champlain and Vermont would be visible in the distance. The town of Wilmington can be seen in the lower center foreground.

The "money view" from Whiteface is certainly the one toward Lake Placid and the other Adirondack High Peaks far in the distance. The village of Lake Placid is actually on Mirror Lake, in the upper left corner of its namesake lake in this picture. The High Peaks were very nicely silhouetted against some brighter sky, but that was very difficult to capture under these conditions.

Since the wind was blowing between 25 and 40 mph, with threatening skies, we had a quick lunch, snapped whatever pictures we could, and headed back down, reaching the car a little before dark. Mostly, we stayed dry, with one heavier shower as we came back down the T-bar trail. Dinner at Pitkin's in Schroon Lake on the way home, and now straight to bed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trail Maintenance - Northville-Lake Placid Trail

Since 1994, Holly and I have adopted a section of the Northville-Lake Placid Trail, under the Adirondack Mountain Club's (ADK) Trail Steward program. That means we walk through the 6-mile section every spring and fall, removing blowdown, cutting back brush, clearing drainages, and reporting any major issues to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. We try to get others to join us by leading this as a Schenectady Chapter ADK trip. Today, despite having only a crew of 3, we got a lot of work done on a beautiful fall day, spending about 5 hours in the woods in prime Adirondack fall foliage season.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Golf - Hillcrest GC

Felt better rested after a lazy day yesterday, but needed to save some serious energy for trail maintenance tomorrow, so golf seemed like a good activity for today. Went to Hillcrest again, and generally played a little better than the past few outings. Aside from some fairway problems on #1, and some of the usual short game flubs on #3 and #6, I had much fewer mis-hits today then the few previous rounds. Irons were better, and I was usually pretty good off the tee (3 wood), aside from an OB on #4, and a futile attempt at hitting a driver on #6. Overall, a 53, much lower than the last few rounds.


  • 2 pars and 2 bogeys
  • Finished with 2 pars, sinking a 10-footer on #8 and a 20-footer on #9
  • Felt more comfortable over the ball, and generally hit more solid shots
  • No lost balls or balls in water
  • Out of bounds on #4
  • 3-putt on #3
  • Still some mis-hits on pitches and chips

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Biking - Mohawk River Bike Path and Local Roads

Bit off a little more than I could chew today, but it was such a nice day to be out. Details here...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Biking - Mohawk River Bike Path and Local Roads

A long-ish ride today, but at an easy pace with some friends. Details here...

Monday, October 6, 2008

5k Run - Mohawk River Bike Path

Another unpredictable weather day. The rain in the morning was pretty certain, simply by looking at the local radar, and then it was supposed to clear in the afternoon. It did, temporarily, but the radar showed another weak line of showers headed our way, so I spent some time reading and sat tight to see what happened. Sure enough, the unexpected showers intensified and soaked us again mid-afternoon. When it finally cleared for real, I got out for another run. In the process, something funny happened to my lower back, so tonight I'm tending to that. Aging is hell...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hiking - Cliffs on Moose Mountain

Moose Mountain (1840') is just south of Wells, NY, in the southern Adirondacks. There's no trail to its summit, but that's why we like it and go there every fall on a leaf-peeping hike. It's about 90 minutes by map and compass to the top of some open cliffs that offer breathtaking views of the valley below, and as a friend once called them, the "Persian-carpeted hills" in the distance. In 7 years of doing this hike, we've never met another soul, and today was no exception. Colors were near peak on a blustery cool fall day.

Friday, October 3, 2008

5k Run - Mohawk River Bike Path

Another funny weather day - mid-50s, gusty winds, and off-and-on unpredictable showers. I did some indoor catching up, and when the weather finally cleared by late afternoon, got out for another run, just to do something. The wind was really howling down along the river in the open, and it definitely wouldn't have been a great day for much of anything else.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Golf - Hillcrest GC

Today dawned very windy and temps were only expected to be around 60, so what to do? I didn't really want to bike in that, and also didn't feel like driving very far for a hike. That left golf, the theory being that the wind doesn't matter if the shot is bad when it leaves the clubface. That definitely proved to be the case.

While in most rounds, I typically do OK but have a few bad holes that ruin it, today I didn't really have any GOOD holes. My irons and short game seemed to have deserted me, on practically every hole. I was basically OK off the tee in most cases, and made some really good putts that kept the score under 60, but in general it wasn't a very good round at all. I think I'll skip the highlights and lowlights on this one. Better luck next week, probably at a par-3 course to get in some concentrated irons work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Biking - another river loop.

Nice 70-ish October day, so I got out for a ride in the afternoon. Details here...