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These past 12 months have been exciting for Hilary and I -- yet another year full of adventure in the Adirondacks and beyond. From camping in the remote wilderness, paddling new bodies of water, observing 360 views from mountaintop fire towers, making the journey up 8 of the Adirondack High Peaks, and exploring the European Alps, it’s been a year we’ll never forget. Let’s flashback to last January when we got out with our friends from Fountain Square Outfitters in Glens Falls for some skiing at Gore Mountain. A bluebird day, good snow conditions, and good company is the perfect formula for a fun day on the slopes. We also had the opportunity to spend more time in the eastern Adirondacks during the month, which included a visit to the Adirondack Theatre Fest, a cross-country ski at Cole’s Woods, and a snowshoe up Shelving Rock Mountain near Lake George. In addition, (back in the western Adirondacks) we made our first trip to McCauley Mountain. It’s definitely a smaller mountain, but it has a nice vibe since it’s mostly locals who ski there and it’s not very touristy. Since we were also so close to Inlet, we had to make the drive up to the Screamen Eagle for our fix of pizza, wings & beer to top off the day.
One of our big highlights in February was a sunrise hike up Bald Mountain. We questioned ourselves when the alarm went off at 4am to get up and make the drive, but despite single digit temperatures and being tired, it was all worth it to strap on the snowshoes and hit the trail.
In March, we made our way to Caroga, NY in the southern Adirondacks for a hike up Kane Mountain. Like most of the trails to the Adirondack fire towers, the climb was rather short and the reward was big.
Moving onto April -- we did our usual, hit the slopes for some spring skiing and joined up with friends for whitewater rafting on the Hudson River. While the rapids on the Hudson were not quite as good as the year prior, it was still an epic trip followed by an excellent meal and warm bonfire at the Wild Waters base camp.
After the snow melted and May came along, we did a little bit of everything. Early in the month we climbed Chimney Mountain and shortly followed that up with a springtime Adirondack paddle with some companions on Sixth and Seventh Lake. We also spent some time in the High Peaks, which included summiting Big Slide Mountain from The Garden, and Dix Mountain and Hough Peak via Elk Lake. On Memorial Day weekend, we headed further north and visited the Thousand Islands region for some camping on Wellsley Island.
Then came June -- we kicked it off with some more hiking, which brought us back to the Dix Range. This time we summited Macomb Mountain, South Dix, and East Dix, which was recently renamed Grace Peak. In follow up to our big hiking day, we camped at Lake Eaton and finally got out for our first paddle on Long Lake, where we explored some of the DEC campsites with lean-tos. Towards the middle of the month, we participated in an annual canoe/kayak race put on by the Feeder Canal Alliance in Queensbury, NY. Hilary finished 1st in her division! While mingling at the BBQ afterwards, we also got a chance to meet the fine gentlemen from Adirondack Canoe Company and chat with them about their light weight boats - check ‘em out if you get a chance! And as we reached the end of June, Hilary and I made our way to Inlet for an overnight trip to Eighth Lake Campground. Accompanied by our friends, we had a relaxing campfire, hiked Rocky Mountain, and paddled on Seventh Lake.
For those that know us well, you know where to find us on the first weekend of July -- Fish Creek. Yep, yet another traditional year spent at the campground I grew camping at. It always goes by too quickly, but we still manage to have a good time no matter who’s there or what the weather may be. The daily lineup of activities usually includes eating a lot of food, relaxing, paddling, riding in the boat, swimming, tubing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, horseshoes, and a nice warm campfire at night to settle down for the evening. Looking back at the rest of July -- after a quick visit to our Alma Mater (Clarkson), Hilary and I were off to Europe for our 2-week adventure in France, Italy, and Switzerland. We spent 10 days hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc and were fortunate enough to see the iconic Swiss Matterhorn in Zermatt.
Much of August was spent back in our boats, including weekend trips to Blue Mountain Lake, Lake Lila, and Fish Creek for Labor Day Weekend. We were also challenged to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, so we thought it would be appropriate to use the cool lake water from Lake Lila to take part.
In September, we got the opportunity to hike Pillsbury Mountain, a gem in the southern Adirondacks with a fire tower lookout at the summit. We also were able to take part in the highly anticipated One Square Mile of Hope paddling fundraiser. Despite the poor weather conditions, there was a great turnout and Inlet, NY was able to recapture the World Record for largest floating raft of canoes and kayaks, with the final count being 3,150. During peak foliage season, we spent time back in the High Peaks region paddling and hiking. This included a sunrise hike up Mt. Jo and a sunset kayak on Taylor Pond.
During October I finally got a chance to do some mountain biking in Wilmington at the Beaver Brook Trail System on Hardy Road. My friend Andy and I enjoyed exploring these trails and also tested out the Poor Man’s Downhill. Later that month, Hilary and I returned to the hiking trails and did a loop from the Ausable Club -- making our way up Dial and Nippletop.
In November, we made a trip out to OK Slip Falls, which is an easy hike from the trailhead on Route 28 located near Indian Lake, NY. One of the tallest waterfalls in the Adirondacks, this makes for a great day hike to observe the falls from the overlook. During Thanksgiving weekend, we returned to the northern Adirondacks to see family and get out for our first downhill ski of the 2014/15 season at Whiteface.
...And to cap things off, December has been another stellar month. It started off with a Sunday walk around Moss Lake, followed by a snowshoe on the Beaverbrook Trails, then a hike up to the Echo Cliffs in Piseco, NY. To top it off, one of my good friends proposed to his girlfriend at the Lake Placid Lodge. And to our surprise, we got to meet the folks from Adirondack Raptors and learn some more about some of the owls they had brought to the lodge that evening.
To conclude the year, it’s been one full of adventure and new experiences. We learned new things and spent some time in the company of amazing people. For all of you that follow us, we look forward to sharing our new adventures with you in 2015!