A month or more ago, a friend of mine said to me “hey, I checked out your blog.” Cool. “But I don’t really think it’s for me – I mean, unless you’re a hardcore hiker, it seems kind of tough to relate to.”
I was like, “wtf! I don’t ONLY write about hiking, and I’m not even that hardcore!” (My voice rose in pitch, stressing that last word in an expression of incredulity.)
There are hikers out there who are much more hardcore than me. A lot of them. And I write about all kinds of stuff here besides hiking – don’t I?
Well, maybe not tonight. I know it’s been a while, dear reader; I’ve missed you too. Work is crazy busy. I think I’m over my puppy craze/fetish, though I’m still getting daily emails from petfinder with cute pics of pit bull puppies – nearly all of which I’d like to adopt immediately so that I can run around town and the woods with a cute fuzzy little pack. Maybe next year.
Last weekend was a good weekend. I hiked both Saturday and Sunday and called out of work sick on Monday. I really was sick – it started on Sunday morning with a sore throat when I got out of bed at 5AM. I’ve had an abundance of snot all week long. It’s been glorious. I think I’m just about over it, though. I’m trying to figure out what to hike this weekend. Monday is Columbus Day, but I don’t have the day off, so an extended trip is probably out of the question. Still, I’m running out of degrees on the thermometer at night – pretty soon it’ll be too cold for this skinny honky to be doing much sleeping in the woods – so I should probably get out there for those full-weekend trips while I still can.
Saturday I hiked with SoloJoe Whalen and his buddy Patrick Monaghan. [Apologies to Patrick if I just butchered his last name.] We climbed Balsam Lake Mountain and then bushwacked over to Graham and Doubletop, finishing at the Seager parking area. The whole hike was about 10 miles and a lot of fun. I don’t think a whole lot of people take that route and string those three mountains together. Here’s the tracklog over at EveryTrail.
We all had a pretty good time. These three mountains made 6/39 for Patrick’s 3500 Club patch, and I think he’s definitely been bit by the hiking bug. I posted the trip report from the forum before this post, so you can scroll down and skim through it if you like. Here’s the linq to the forum post, if you want to read the comment thread.
Sunday morning Scott got to my house around 5:30 and we headed off to the Upper West Side to pick up Debbie Melita and Valerie Accardi and head up to the Cats to meet our furry friends Iske and Lily, who brough Heather Rolland and her husband Tom Moeller because they have opposable thumbs and can drive a car. I dropped Scott and the girls off at the base of Friday Mountain on Moon Haw Road and drove over to Woodland Valley Campground to meet Heather and Tom, leave the SUV I rented there, and drive back to Moon Haw with them and the pups.
We headed up Friday (one of the tougher bushwacks in the Catskills), had lunch at the summit under wary eye of the cansiter and then bushwacked over the Dink and picked up the trail near the summit of Cornell Mountain. Then it was up and over Cornell, up and over the Wittenberg and down to Woodland Valley. We made it out just as dark was falling. Here’s a linq to the tracklog over at EveryTrail. And here’s a linq to Heather’s trip report over at the forum.
Friday is always a tough bushwack: there are all kinds of cliffs and ledges that must either be skirted or climbed. We had to boost the dogs over a few of them, which was kind of scary for me at points. Rather early on in the hike up Friday, Scott blew his shoulder out – like snap, crackle, pop, omg-did-you-hear-that kind of a blowout. He soldiered on for the rest of the day, but is still in a lot of pain and probably out of the hiking game for this weekend.
The bushwack from Friday to Cornell is a route that most people don’t take. Heather and I spent quite a bit of time planning it (which consisted of looking at the map and saying “yeah, it totally looks doable – if the pines are really thick, though, it’s gonna suck”), with Heather doing what internet research she could – she really didn’t find a whole lot. Mostly people saying “yeah, it’s really thick in there.” So making it through that section was a pretty cool accomplishment. If you’re looking at the map above, you can see the red line at the bottom where we went up the lady of the mountain’s right leg, then banged a right to skirt across the area just above her vagina, went over three bumps, and then started going down. Well, the section just after the right turn (north) was the tough part: the next bump is the Dink (her belly button), the bump after that is Cornell (her left hip) and the third one is the Wittenberg (her left hand?). I need to touch her boobies (Slide Mountain) this month for my October grid.
Anyway, it was a very fulfilling day. As always, hiking with Heather and Tom and the pups was a treat, and it was great to meet and get friendly with Debbie and Valerie in the woods. They’re both hardcore backpackers – Debbie has about 1,200 miles of the AT done and Valerie has about 900 done. Debbie has a few articles in Backpacker magazine, so she’s relatively famous. I didn’t find that out until about halfway up Friday.
Overall, the Debbie and Valerie story is a feel-good one: they were both in the same area of the Adirondacks that I was about a month ago – Debbie commented on one of my facebook pics. We’d been fb-friends for a while (once upon a time (and back when facebook let you do this), I friended all the chicks who were fans of the NY/NJ Trail Conference), but didn’t really connect until about a month ago. Debbie sent me a message last week inviting me to go on a hike of the Escarpment Trail, which I had to decline because I was already booked for the weekend. We ended up exchanging emails for the rest of the week and I invited her to come on our Friday-Dink-Cornell-Wittenberg hike. It couldn’t have worked out better. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to hike with Debbie and Valerie.
So anyway, that’s what I was up to this weekend. It was a good one.
I’m kind of torn as to what to hike this weekend. Maybe I’ll buy that 20 degree bag I’ve had my eye on and sleep in the woods this weekend – but which woods? I have 20 mountains left to climb in the Cat35 in October for my grid, but I’d also really like to keep moving on my ADK46 list (30 to go). We’ll see; I have all day tomorrow to figure it out.
It’s bedtime for me soon. Hopefully I can sleep away the rest of this cold and be fresh for the woods this weekend.