For your viewing pleasure I present to you a fun video of my recent winter hike to the Blue Mountain fire tower . Thanks to my friends at Fulton Chain Craft Brewery for a place to park my tired self and some great beer after an awesome day in the park.
Living in New York State we get winter, or something that resembles it depending on the year. I’ve learned to embrace it because it can be long and cold. Over the past few years I’ve been out and about our local parks and trails hiking with my snowshoes. I find winter hiking to be some of the most beautiful and peaceful time to be outdoors. Recently I had the opportunity to change things up a little. So I hopped in my car and headed for the Adirondacks.
A few hours later I arrived at the trailhead of the 3759 foot summit of Blue Mountain. This 2 mile trail (One Way) climbs 1670 feet in elevation with moderate to steep grades, ending at the fire tower. At the trailhead I met my friend Nancy an experienced hiker who would go with me since this would be my first winter hike with considerable elevation.
We decided that we didn’t need snowshoes and that micro spikes would be sufficient since the trail was very well packed. This is a very popular hike in any season. It was sunny and in the low 30’s when we began and quickly I had to stop to remove my jacket putting in my backpack. The trail climbed steeply as we bumped into our first hikers coming down from the summit around the one mile mark. We stopped and chatted for a little before continuing. We would see three more before reaching the summit.
The closer we got to the summit the snow got deeper, the temperatures colder and you could feel the wind picking up through the trees. Just before coming out of the tree line I stopped and layered back up before exposing myself to the open summit. Stepping out into the open the Blue Mountain fire tower stood proudly at an additional 35 feet encrusted in snow and ice.
Climbing the tower to the observers tower the wind was whipping pretty good and my fingers were so cold even through my gloves while trying to take some photos. The stairs were covered in at least 6 inches of snow and ice and the cabin had at least a foot of snow inside. The handrails were also encased in ice.
Even though there was a vast temperature difference between the base and summit the warm sun was doing its best to remove Mother Nature’s grasp. Chunks of ice had begun to fall off the tower like crystals falling from a chandelier crashing to the ground into pieces. The trees at the summit were encrusted in snow and ice giving them a powdered sugar look, it was breathtaking.
We spent about an hour at the summit taking in the sheer beauty, chatting with a few hikers who had come up the trail shortly behind us. I was completely hooked on winter hiking.
Once down and back to my car, putting my gear away it was time to head south to Old Forge where I would spend the night. But not before a stop at Fulton Chain Craft Brewing for a couple of well earned beverages.
I absolutely loved this experience and I hope to do some more winter hiking in the Adirondacks in the future.
I’m always on the lookout for good recipes and I came across this one recently. I decided to give it a try. It is amazing how much of a kick a 1/2 tsp of chipotle powder gives this dish, not that I’m complaining.
I did however left one component out, the cilantro. I’m not a big fan of it and quite honestly I really didn’t know what I could use as a substitute. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them.
Now I thought it tasted even better the second day. I also added a Tbsp of sour cream the second time around.
I’d give this an 8 out of 10 and the reason I say that is because of the cilantro. It does have a medium kick to it from the chipotle powder.
Back in the fall the Northern Forest Canoe Trail reached out to me asking if I would be willing to do a presentation to a local outdoor club on their behalf. I’m not your typical motivational speaker but I jumped at the chance to talk about something I feel passionate about. This past week I traveled to Utica, NY to give my presentation. I’m truly grateful that the NFCT felt confident enough in me to even ask.
As winter pressed on I had been keeping an watchful eye on the volume of snow in the north country “Adirondacks”. As my presentation date grew closer I decided I would spend the night in Utica with my sights set on some snowshoeing. The next morning I would do my 4 mile run before checking out of the hotel and continue my trek northward.
I arrived in Old Forge at the Bisby Road trailhead under cover of overcast skies with temperatures around 28 degrees. In my opinion this was almost near perfect. Strapping on my snowshoes, throwing a few last minute items in my backpack I was soon off on my adventure.
The first mile of trail had been broken by XC skiers but that soon would change. The next 4 miles I would have to break trail myself and around the half way point my legs were beginning to feel it. I took a few rest breaks standing in awe of the beauty and the silence. I was the only one out here on these particular trails, I saw not one other human being until I returned to my car.
Once back to the trail junction and my final mile before returning to civilization I stopped for a bit to strip down some of my clothing. I worked up a pretty good sweat over those 4 miles, it was time for a snack and some water.
This 6 mile journey took me 4 hours in which I took a few breaks, some photos and a few video clips. The day could not have been more perfect as the clouds gave way to a blueberry Adirondack sky.
For the past several weeks my post run lunch has been what I call utterly awesome! So here is what I put together.
1 avocado, 2 roma tomatoes chopped and a handful of kalamata or green olives. Some kosher salt, cracked black pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil. Nothing like fresh avocado, tomatoes and olives. Can you say yummy!
It has been over a year now since I’ve put my snowshoes on but this past weekend I cinched them up and headed out to play.
First I hiked with my son Michael out to Nanticoke Lake in the Lisle, NY. Michael had to take some photographs for his college photography course and we thought this would be a great little adventure. Spending time with my son was the highlight of my day. We had the entire place to ourselves! While we were out there taking in the beauty of our surroundings Micheal remarked to me “Dad it is so quiet out here, there is literally no sound what so ever”. I simply responded “Exactly”!
I loved watching him dash and bound through the snow exploring things to photograph. It was even more entertaining since he doesn’t have snowshoes.
My next adventure for the day would be a 3 mile solo hike of the IBM Glen. The snow had clung to the trees like powdered sugar on a tasty dessert, truly a winter wonderland. I did see one couple hiking the trails and one person cross country skiing but that was it.
It had been so long since I was out winter hiking I forgot how much I enjoy it and cannot wait until I can get out again.
One of my favorite foods are sweet potatoes with a drizzle of maple syrup, oh man my mouth is watering now.
So I decided to combine my love of sweet potatoes, wing sauce and make some homemade buffalo sweet potato wedges that are out of this world good. I mean these are cosmic!
First I began with two medium potatoes washed and the ends trimmed off. Then I cut them lengthwise into wedges, placing these babies in a bowl. I followed with 1 tsp olive oil, kosher salt and smoked paprika. Now things are starting to get happy.
I then placed the seasoned wedges on a wire backing rack into a 425 degree pre-heated oven, set my kitchen timer for 25 minutes and BAM, these babies are even happier now.
Once baked I put them back in the bowl, tossed them with 2 Tbsp of Frank’s wing sauce and placed some buffalo wing heaven on a plate. Now I use Frank’s wing sauce because I like it but also it is a vinegar based sauce and does not have any added sugar. However feel free to use whatever sauce makes you happy.
In my ongoing quest for delicious healthy eating I’m always looking for creative EASY meals. Well I think I just created one!
We’re fortunate to have a Wegman’s grocery store here in our area. Many times while perusing the produce section I’ve seen packages of butternut squash noodles but have been hesitant to try them. Hey don’t get me wrong I love butternut squash especially roasted and also as a soup. Yesterday I decided to give them a try.
I wanted to keep it simple but delicious. So I boiled a small pot of water and added the squash noodles, some sliced mushrooms and cooked for 5 minutes. While I was doing that in a small cast iron skillet I heated a tablespoon of olive oil. I drained the noodles and mushrooms adding them to the hot skillet, with some minced garlic, kosher salt and a dash of crushed red pepper sautéing another 5-6 minutes. Once done I plated it and hit it with some grated parmesan cheese. WOW!
I woofed this down as it was absolutely out of this world. I was truly sad once it was all gone because I craved more.
I boiled the mushrooms with the noodles because fresh uncooked mushrooms soak up the oil like a sponge. I believe boiling first helps prevent a lot of this. A few minor changes next time I make this. First I’d boil just a few minutes more as well as adding in some onions, garnish with fresh basil as well.
You’re kitchen is a studio so be creative as you want with this.
Part 3, Lake Colby a 272 acre lake located in the village of Saranac Lake, NY is a beautiful place to paddle, camp and swim. There are three primitive campsites along the shores of Lake Colby as well the village beach. New York State operates a boat launch and fishing access; there is a ten horsepower limit for motorboats.
Hope you enjoyed this short film series!
The canoe in this series is a 14′ Adirondack Canoe Company “Boreas” pack canoe that weighs in at 24#’s. She’s light, comfortable and paddles exceptionally well.