Saturday, December 14, 2013

Cascade & Porter Mtns 11.30.13 The Love Affair Continues

Summit of Cascade Mountain
View of famous Red Barn in Keene on our way to Cascade-Porter trail-head
 Although not officially a winter 46er climb, we could have advanced the date 30 days on this post and easily convinced ourselves and any reader that we did indeed do a winter climb. The snow though not real deep, (maybe 6" to a foot in spots) featured areas of slick ice and hard crunchy snow mixed in with sandy powder, that convinced Nolan and I the micro-spikes and gators were a good move today. Especially on the way down, as we saw many climbers without them struggling through the icy areas and snow with just boots or trail sneakers. We brought pick axes and snow shoes, but found we did not need these, although Nolan gave the shoes a sporting try between Porter and Cascade. The weather though very cold was quite spectacular because we basked in sunshine for most of the hike. By 2:30pm when we got back to the trail-head it started getting pretty cloudy, so starting out at 8:30 we enjoyed the better part of the climb in sunshine and as a result stayed comfortably warm even though it was only around 17 degrees. Starting fairly early also assured we had the peak summits to ourselves for a period of time as we crossed paths with occasional climbers. By the time we were making the descent off of Cascade around 1:00, we crossed paths with maybe 30 or so climbers working their way up Cascade.

A pretty and enjoyable climb of around 7 miles with no real hardships encountered on these just over 4,000 footers.  Except for frozen water lines on our camel backs, which was not a big problem as we had clear water lines up til we made the 2nd summit which was Porter, we had a thoroughly wonderful climb. Cascade & Porter were our 15th & 16th official Adirondack high peaks this year, and Nolan and I both felt this was a great prep for some of our upcoming winter climbs. Like Cascade & Porter, we climbed Big Slide and Lower Wolf Jaws in early spring snowy wintry conditions. We did do our first official high peak; Giant Mountain in February along with  Snowy Mountain and Blue Mountain in January, which are both Adirondack top 100 highest peaks.

Met and chatted with some really cool hard-core 46er's on Porter Mt. We shared a few adventures, exchanged good tidings and went our separate ways.  I have to admit though, that I was taken aback and dismayed by some other hikers that day. From stressed doggies, to tired children and hikers. Some  labored to clambor up the mountain without spikes or proper gear. Others physical fitness were obviously at play. Cascade is probably one of the heaviest travelled peaks, especially in summer and fall. So, we were glad we were blessed with a beautiful late autumn day, albeit a very cold one,
to enjoy this spectacular pair of mountains! These two mountains and climbs also confirmed the special love and relationship Nolan and I are building with this amazing place called the Adirondack High Peaks.
Whiteface Mountain from Cascade
My trekking Poles & Cairn  atop Cascade Mtn

Nolan beats me to the summit of Cascade
Flyin high atop Cascade
View from Cascade

view of Cascade from Porter Mountain

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Rockin New York...A 27 Year Journey

"You don't run New York to get a personal best, you run New                                York to feel like a rock star ."  

Hman "Rockin" NY!

Statue of Liberty from Staten Island Ferry
 Ever since I started running, I always dreamed of running the New York City Marathon. Being a Boilermaker Road Race veteran of over 27 races and at least a dozen other long distance races, it seems like I always had this one dream in the back of my head. That one day, I'd run the NYC Marathon! Life is like that a lot it seems. We have these dreams that we keep close to our chest. Dreams we keep in our head and hearts. They are kinda like a great hand in a game of poker. A good hand that we never play. 

The day began at 3 pm as I arose early to get ready, and then began my subway ride to get to the Staten Island Ferry at Whitehall. Around 4:45 I left for the Exchange Place Path Terminal to catch the train to the World Trade Center station, followed by a fifteen minute walk to the ferry terminal. I met up with friend and fellow Utica Road-Runner Gary, at the terminal. We did not wait to long before we cleared the heavy security and boarded our ferry to Ft Wadsworth and the start of the race at 9:40am. Because of the Boston bombing, there was heavy security, there was even a Coast Guard patrol boat alongside the ferry,  and I think I could even see the machine gun on the front manned by a sailor.   It was very inspiring and reassuring to see these brave sailors with a back drop of the Statue of Liberty just outside the window.
at the runners village at Ft Wadsworth, note; police presence on roof

Gary and I pleased to be on Staten Island and almost ready to race

Thd day was only just beginning after arriving on Staten Island around 6:30am. We were  and all bundled up with winds gusting 15-20 mph and temps in the upper 30's, it was chilly!....At this point already felt like I had run a race!
 At Fort Wadsworth, after clearing more security including dogs and being wanded, I "chilled" with Gary. We soaked up hot coffee and bagels as we waited for the race to begin. And it seemed like the blink of an eye, even though it was 3 hours, and we were corralled for the start of the race. Canons boomed the start and we were off and crossing the Verrazano Bridge just as I had seen in so many pictures.
My wifes great photo over 3 rows of spectators and amongst 50,000+ runners
 The race itself was an international parade of runners and spectators too. I saw Mexicans dressed and running in native costumes, Swedes, Germans, Japanese and Russians just to name a few proudly wearing their countries colors. We traversed through communities dominated by people of Italian, Black, Jewish, Hasidic Jews and Spanish areas. At times, you were hard pressed to hear someone speaking English, American English that is. I ran behind a pair of Englishmen and could barely understand a word they were saying to each other. As I ran, I high fived hundreds of children and adults, as I made my way through the five boroughs of New York City. In the New York City Marathon, many runners tape or write their name on the front of their shirt to elicit encouragement from the throngs of New Yorkers who gather to watch this great event. And I must have heard my name called out several hundred times along with encouragement from people I never knew and most likely never will. Total strangers. At one point, I even created a roar of
excitement from the crowd gathered along a strip of Central Park about 2 miles from the finish line as I glided

at about the 26 mile mark(when I needed it the most) Someone yells out; "H-man is in the house!"

 along the throngs of spectators high fiveing, and soaking up all the encouragement I needed to get me to the finish line. After all, how could I let my fans down, by giving up now. My wife made her way with Gary's wife to First Avenue to watch us a we crossed mile 16. And once under way, my wife was literally bombarded on her phone by friends and family who weren't there, but were tracking me on their smart phone app.s, and giving mile by mile tracking reports of my progress in the race. She said afterwards that she got so nervous and excited when my daughter texted; "He's Coming!!!" that she could barely raise the camera to take the picture. They then hurried back to 5th Avenue to catch us as we went by around mile 25.  Afterwards, a hug, some photo ops and a burger and beer with my wife and nephew Randy was in order. Which would end up being much needed sustainance to prepare for the hour or so subway ride and walk back to our hotel in Jersey City. As I prepared to enter the turnstile to pay the subway fare, the guard said; "no charge, you ran the marathon". I beamed a smile of thanks as I was most pleased and renewed. At least for a little while anyway, because on the subway, all I could think about was getting a nice hot shower and some Ibuprofen for my achy legs. The course was windy and quite cold this day, but the crowds and the people of New York forever warmed my heart. This race turned out to be much more than a PR (3 Hours 48 minutes 4 seconds, 10,331 place out of 50,740 runners) or a finishers medal, it turned out to be a reaffirmation of all the good that can happen, when a community claims as it's own, an event like the New York City Marathon, and then pours its heart and soul into it and shares it with the world.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Great Day To Be Alive & Climbing On Mt Colden 9-28-13

Most people are on the world, not in it -- have no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them -- undiffused, separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate. - John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir Inspirational view from the LOJ Road on way to trail-head Marcy Dam Gelogical Marker a few miles from summit in a stone in a stream bed Break in the trees about half mile or so from summit Could see the "traffic" on neighboring peaks on a glorious fall day for climbing Nolan squeezing through a rock opening on way to summit of Colden Gliders were taking advantage of the beautiful weather to enjoy soaring and taking in the great peaks view. At one point 4 of them soared and swirled like eagles with each other Great view of Mt Colden, Coldens Rock Slides & False summit from Algonquin I took a few weeks earlier Nolan sketching on Mt Colden's false summit Big Slide Mt from Colden Algonquin Mt from Colden. Interesting seeing after being there just a few weeks before! Enjoying the view from High Peak #14/46!!!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Autumn In New York Fall Images

New York is arguably the best state to enjoy the fall foliage and beautiful scenery, especially when you consider the size of the state, and all there is to do and see. I personally am attracted to the rugged beauty of the Adirondacks, yet still enjoy the "civilized" views from places like Val Bialas in Utica, Trenton or Chittenango Falls and Root Glen in Clinton. Often I'll take a drive or go for a run on some unknown road or trail to hopefully find a delightful old farm, or a bucolic country scene. We who live here are certainly blessed, especially those with "eyes" and heart to see all that is around them. Enjoy some favorites of mine from this season, as it has been a beautiful autumn here in Upstate and The Adirondacks of New York.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wright Peak, Algonquin Peak, Boundary Peak, Iroquois Peak & Avalanche Pass 9-7-13

A great day and hike through Wright-Algonquin-Boundary & Iroquois Peaks. Wright Peak was by far our favorite Peak this day with it's open, expansive-panoramic views with statuesque and interesting boulders. Cairns were aplenty on all 4 peaks along with beautiful grasses and interesting plant species and some flowers too. The winds were very brisk at the peaks, Guessing that they were gusting at 30-40mph at times requiring you to brace yourself at times to prevent falling over or even getting blown right off the summit. Except coming down the trail from Boulder Peak into Avalanche Lake/Pass....was definitely one of the more difficult "marked" trails and conditions we've run up against this year. Ended up doing some bushwacking just by default because of poor trail conditions and markers and having to constantly criss-cross stream. A totally different world once you clear Avalanche night & day. Hope the girl we crosssed paths with on the trail down from Boundary, with the tight jeans, sandals sleve less shirt and little doggie we saw at 3:30 (at least 2.5 hours from summit) made it up and down Algonquin OK
atop Wright Peak bracing ourselves in 30-40 mph wind gusts
Reflecting pool atop Wright Blessed are those that feel the breath of God through clean fresh mountain winds, that gently touch their face and hair. Blessed are those that feel his pulse in the streams and rivers that course through the wilds. Blessed are those that feel his compassion and warmth, as they lay upon sun warmed ancient boulders"..Yasu
Plaque marking site of plane crash atop Wright Peak in 1962
Panorama atop Algonquin Peak
Cairns atop Algonquin Peak views coming down trail into Avalanche Pass

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sawteeth, Pyramid, Gothic, Armstrong & Upper Wolf Jaws Mountains August 24, 2013

Was a perfect summer day for a trek in the high peaks....highlights of our ten hour climb Crossing the bridge after Lake Road and near the Lower Ausable Lake A gorgeous blue sky and warm temperatures as we passed Lower Ausable lake Rainbow Falls atop Sawteeth Mountain Peak 1 today.Atop Sawteeth Mountain Nolan ascending a rock face on way to Gothics Mt atop Pyramid Peak Beautiful mountain Gentian flowers near Pyramid Mt atop Gothics Mountain ladder up Armstrong Mountain Nolan atop Armstrong Mt Called it a day after ascent of Upper Wolf Jaw