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.
Last evening Julie, the boys and I along with another couple traveled to Syracuse, NY to see the 30th anniversary of the classic film “Christmas Vacation”. This event was held at the beautiful Landmark Theater in downtown Syracuse and was followed by an hour long Q&A with none other than Clark W. Griswold himself.
The Landmark was completely sold out to the tune of 2,800 seats. I won’t lie the seating is cramped. I loved this event and to see Christmas Vacation on the big screen was just great. At the end of the movie where aunt Bethany sings the National Anthem the entire theater sang right along.
A few minutes after the movies end Chevy Chase came out for a Q&A about this movie and others along with some Saturday Night Live stuff as well. I didn’t realize until last night that Chevy Chase is 76 years old. I’ve always envisioned him as Clark Griswold.
For the past several years now I have been wondering when we would get stuck with some tough weather conditions for the annual Seneca 7 relay event. I’m here to tell you that Mother Nature did not dissapoint. Teams were subjected to hours of snow, rain, cold and wind for their 77.7 journey around Seneca lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region.
Looking back over the past five years since I have been running in the Seneca 7, I think this year had to be the most epic. We knew we would have it tough as the super fast and talented women of Red Newt Racing would put us through our paces. This all day battle where we traded the lead back and forth was nothing short of awesome. Red Newt Racing would beat us by 64 seconds according to official results. They ran around the lake in 7:54:28 for a pace of 6:06 and our team “Liar Liar feet on Fire” completed it in 7:55:42 for a pace 6:07. Can you say nail biter!
This afternoon I was able to get out for a short hike with my fine fury friend. Ruff loves the cold weather and snow. Heck he’d just assume sit in a snow bank all day.
Under sunny skies, a 4 degree temperature and a wind making it feel sub zero we headed to Nanticoke lake for our little adventure. Once we arrived I noticed there was more snow out there than here at home. But a lot of it seemed to be drifting. We made our way to the lake and met two guys ice fishing. I asked if they knew how thick the ice was and they said about 10-12 inches. It felt weird walking on a lake that I routinely paddle. Ruff was in dog heaven! It was cold, there was snow, other humans and the sniffs were abundant.
Our winter landscape can be beautiful if not stunning, I was in my glory as well.
Our day started early with a trip to the car dealership in Horseheads. I wasn’t happy with the tires that came on our new car so I had them changed. Since we were so close to the Finger Lakes we decided to make an afternoon of it. After leaving the dealership we made our way through Watkins Glen driving route 14 along the west shore of Seneca Lake. We had our stomachs set on lunch at Fox Run Vineyards only to be disappointed when we arrived to find the cafe was closed until April 1st. Starving we decided to hit up Eddie O’Brien’s in Geneva. Once seated I ordered a pint of Climbing Bines pale ale which is located in Penn Yan. For lunch I went with my favorite the “Bacon, Egg & Cheese” burger and Julie had the french dip. The food was wonderful, the company even better and peering out the window a snow squall had enveloped the city of Geneva.
After lunch we left Geneva and made the short trip to Vintosa Vineyards where we tasted some pretty darn good wine. Departing Vintosa with a bottle of their 2013 Riesling and now driving south on the east side of Seneca Lake we opted to head towards Ithaca. As we got closer to Ithaca a quick stop was made at Taughannock Falls for a glimpse of the 215 foot splendor. https://youtu.be/PY4BeH6b1n8
Here we are the last day in January with no significant snowfall so far this winter and none in sight for the coming week. I’ve enjoyed this weather so much and as a matter of fact I’ve even run several days this month in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I can proudly say I’ve only used the treadmill a handful of times due to my schedule and the wind. I hate the wind!
It has been a good month for me running and with no real races planned for the next 90 days I’m enjoying it even more. I call it stress free running. One thing I have noticed over the past two months is a tiny bit of speed improvement but by far I’ve seen my aerobic fitness increase. Last year my mileage was reduced quite drastically and I saw my fitness drop. However I have a long way to go in that department but the progress is promising.
This month the boys brought home the plague from school and kindly distributed it throughout the house. Ok not the plague but a cold to us guys is like the plague. I managed to get through it and have one of my biggest running mileage months. With a scheduled long run this morning I thought it would be best to get started early. Waking at 0545 in order to get myself together and get out there I hit the pavement by 0645. With winter still on the fence today was one of those shorts and long sleeve shirt days. I finished a strong month today with a total of 209.57 miles.
I’m hoping this weather pattern continues for February.