Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge

Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge

Last weekend we set out to tackle two more 46ers Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge.

3 am wake up, YAY! I love waking up super early to drive to a trailhead (notice the dripping sarcasm there)

The weather called for temperatures of around 20 with windchill to -5 degrees at the summit, so we bundled up. I wore:

North Face-Cold gear crew neck

Fleece quest ¼ zip

BC igniter jacket: love love love this jacket

Cross over fleece lined leggings

Prana summit pants: my favorite hiking pants

Outdoor Research base gloves

Eddie Bauer Gloves

We were not sure what we were going to encounter since there had been rain, snow, and icy conditions, so we tried to make sure we were prepared for everything.

From where cars were parked, it looked like most people were taking the ridge trail, but I wanted to check out Roaring Brook Falls, so we parked at the Roaring Brook trailhead parking lot.  It was not overly crowded.   When we all put our packs on, I realized all four of us had Osprey Packs.  They definitely make a good light day pack.

We took the .1 mile detour to see the base of the falls. It had just rained the day before, so the falls were in full force.  While they were impressive, you really can’t get a good feel for the falls because the falls are rather narrow and wind down through the rocks.  In the winter, these falls freeze and make for great ice climbing.

After taking way too many photos at the base of the falls, we started up the path. We came to a rapidly flowing stream, with a rock path across. I am traditionally not very skilled/graceful at these parts (as evidenced from my prior blog postings), but I made it across (with help from my dad) without falling in. Small win!

After about a half mile we came to a sign where we took a short detour to the top of the falls, I highly recommend it. The views were amazing!!

Now time to head up to the summit of Giant. I may have put too many layers on; it wasn’t as cold as expected.  I took off my fleece (thus the reason for layers). As we walked up the trail, it progressively got icier and as it became icier we became slower … walking around the trail trying to avoid the ice walking on the snow, stepping through the ice into a large puddle of mud (mid-calf) that seeped into my boots (yeah, I did that). After about 30 minutes or so of trying to navigate the ice … it was like a real-life game of chutes and ladders, we all slid back a few spots, we realized how silly this was, we had Microspikes. We quickly put them on over our boots and it was a game changer. The micro spikes allow you to get good traction on the ice. No more slipping and sliding!

We continued up the icy trail towards the summit of Giant.  On the way, we used nature’s handholds (trees) to help pull us up when it became too slippery.  About a .1 mile from the summit we came to the turn-off to Rocky Peak Ridge … the second 4,000 footer on our to do list for the day. We kept straight and reached the summit a few minutes later. We were so lucky!   No clouds. A winter wonderland at the top. Also at the top, we encountered an unexpected rock … on the finger of a fellow hiker.  Her boyfriend proposed to her on the summit and we knew before her family did.  We let her family know that we were more important when she called them to tell them.

Time for some lunch (pb and J – homemade peach) before heading back down and toward Rocky Peak Ridge. The trail down was very steep, and the ice made it even worse.  There weren’t a whole lot of people making the trek over to RPR.  The .6 mile trip down to the gully was a slow go; it felt like it took forever to get there.

The cull (flat are between two mountains – basically where one mountain ends and the next starts) was really short and we were quickly on the .6 mile trek up the slope of Rocky Peak Ridge.  While it was steep, it was nowhere as steep as the way down Giant (so looking forward to climbing back up that – more sarcasm, easy to spot, I put it in parenthesis). We reached the summit! I officially finished 12 of my ADK 46ers.  The view from the top of RPR is amazing.  You have two separate summits, which give you a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape.  I could have stayed up there for hours, but we had one more summit left, the car.

We had to move quickly.  While we got an extra hour to sleep in the morning, we lost an hour of daylight for the trip. We proceed back down Rocky Peak Ridge and up Giant. (this is going to be fun – type 2 fun)

I felt my body starting to cramp up a little and I had to stop for some water, it’s important to remember to hydrate prior, during, and after a hike.  Because of the cold, I wasn’t that thirsty, but you have to force yourself to drink. This made the hike up Giant seem longer.  The way back up did not disappoint – shouldn’t have done so many lunges the day before the hike.

We proceeded down Giant and towards the car. The ice was starting to melt making for a slippery muddy descent, and a few falls if I am going to be 100% honest (but I wasn’t the only one this time, we all had our slips). At some points, I just sat and slid down the rocks, the ladder, the trail, anything I could slide down … hey, don’t judge, whatever works.  We kept our micro spikes on till we were fully free from the ice. As the rock became bare, with no ice, it became harder to walk with the micro spikes.

This hike was one of the most beautiful I have gone on, a true winter wonderland. The ice forced me to work muscles I have not worked on prior hikes. I cannot wait to go back on ice again, but maybe next time I will try snow shoeing.  Ice Cream flavor … went for a cinnamon dolce latte instead … needed the warmth.

New Hampshire: 7 Mountains 3 days

New Hampshire: 7 Mountains 3 days

It is official I have now climbed 21 of the 115 high peaks in the Northeast….not bad considering as of May I had only climbed 1. Last month we set off to NH to climb:
Mount Cabot-4,120
Wildcat D-4,070 ft
Wildcat- 4,422 ft
Carter Dome-4,832 f
South Carter-4,430 ft
Middle Carter-4,610 ft
Moriah- 4,049 ft

The Monday before we left for New Hampshire, rain crept into the forecast for our trip. I was not happy. I did not want to cancel our trip because of rain, but we had an overnight planned so we decided to watch the weather.

As the week went on, the likelihood for rain shifted to just Friday, but it lookedlike the rest of our trip would be nice and dry; just a little cold. This being the case we decided to do Mount Cabot, an 8.8 mile hike on Friday and the longer hike from Wildcat to Moriah Saturday into Sunday.

In order to properly plan for this, we all brought extra gear. We didn’t want to be walking in wet gear for our long hike! I packed a pair of old hiking boots, my new purple Salomons (I love these boots), and my smaller 20L bag….thank god I did this!
DAY 1:

Friday morning we woke up early in hopes to beat the rain….we didn’t. We got to the trail head and it was already raining. we started on the 8.8 mile trail to the top of Mount Cabot (4,170ft). When you’re about a ½ mile in, you hit a fork in the trail … stay to your right…this is VERY important, or you will find yourself going 5+miles out of your way.

In case you were wondering we did not stay right, we went to the left; the trail less traveled … where we had to cross over streams and fallen trees. About 3 miles in, we realized we had made the wrong turn, but we had no choice but to countuine on the path we were on. The rain started coming down harder, and the hole in my old hiking boots was not helping. After approx. 5 miles we got back to the path we were supposed to be on. The last 1.5 miles is the steepest part of the trail, but it’s not that bad. This was my first hike in NH and I have to say those white mountains are beautiful!

We started to make our way back down, picking up speed to get out of the rain. At this point our pants were soaked through, our socks soaked, and our raincoats were doing there best to keep as us as dry as possible under the circumstances.

While crossing over a stream I lost my footing and went down hard…it was a month ago and the cut on my leg is still not fully healed.  If my pants weren’t wet before, my butt definitely was now from falling in the creek. I brushed it off and kept going.Looking back, I probably could have followed the map better, but the hike was so much fun! Sometimes getting lost is the best part of the journey!  Another 4,000 footer in the books. 6 more to go this trip!

Total steps: 39,997 (thanks Fitbit)

DAY 2:

5 am wake up call! We were lucky to have an awesome hotel owner who offered to drive us to the trail head so that we could drop off our car at the end of the hike.We arrived at the trail head atPinkham Notch Vistor Center and started on the trail (Part of the AT)!  In the first 5 minutes, you are greeted by amazing views of the Lost Pond.  We kept stopping every five minutes to take photos.

You follow this for 2.1 miles, though it feels like forever; just a long slog up, with a lot of false summits on the way. If you look on the ground on the way up it almost looks like there is broken glass the entire way up, the trail was covered in Mica. It was amazing.  At times, the way up was pretty steep! Some parts I was almost crawling!

When you get to a sign that says: “The Real Wild Cat” on a small platform, you made it to the summit of Wildcat D. Snack time, it is important to remember to refuel when your body starts to get tired (like a Stinger Waffle) even if you’re not overly hungry…this will help you keep going. 

We started our way to Wildcat, and my ankle started acting up, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me!  You drop a few hundred feet and then you have to go up to 4,422 so it is a decently steep trail up.

We reached the Summit 3 DOWN 4 TO GO.

Time to start towards our highest peak Carter Dome,  follow the AT for another 2 miles. Heading down it was a pretty steep and relentless down. You suddenly come to an opening with a lake! There is a hut here for thru hikers.

We decided to stop for a lunch in the middle of the trail, chicken and gouda sandwich with garlic mayo … YUM.  We also made two friends over lunch;  the first was an AT thru hiker making his way to Maine and the second the most adorable little Squirrel. The squirrel stopped and hung out with us for a bit. He even let us take a photo.

When we got to the top there was a little opening, the views weren’t great but it was a great place for us to stop for water and drop our packs for a bit!


After about 2 miles with a pretty deccent down, and then back up we reached the top of South Carter!  This was one of the easier peaks of the day.


Time to hit our last peak of the day Middle Carter this was our shortest distance, only 1.3 miles. the views on top were really pretty. 6 DOWN 1 TO GO!

At this point it was starting to get late, there was another group on the summit with us, and we weren’t sure how many campsites were left, so we decided to split into two 2 groups (All’s fair in love and hiking). We had heard that the decent was steep, so we sent Bob and Tristan ahead to the campsite, and my dad stayed with me so I can take my time down the steeper sections. The views down were amazing as the sun got lower in the sky the colors were amazing!

The intial descent was not bad off middle Carter. It wasn’t until you got to North Carter that the drop got steep. Coming off North Carter, I was stopped by someone saying “You have purple shoes, we passed two guys a few minutes back … they want you to know that they are continuing to the campsite.” When you split into groups it is good to make sure that you communicate however possible, and without cell service there aren’t many options so other hiker will do!   In about another mile we found a note written in the dirt with a stick letting us know what time it was when they go there so we could gage how far ahead of us they were.

I have to say, the 3 miles to the campsite felt like the longest 3 miles of the hike, I was starting to get tired and hungry.

We were lucky enough to get the last campsite available. When we got there, the tents were already set up, we got fresh water from the stream and steri-penned them, ate dinner (another chicken and gouda sandwhich) and then time for bed. It was so cold! But after 12+ hours of hiking I was exhausted and asleep by 9.

Steps: 45,411 (thanks fitbit)

DAY 3:

One more mountain left….we got this! We woke up early and packed up our gear.

We continued on the AT for .3 miles until we reached the Stony Brook trail junction. Here you continue on the AT for another 1.4 miles till you hit the summit of Mount Moriah. On the way up, we caught parts of the sunrise, which were totally amazing.  I think of all the mountains we climbed this trip, Moriah was my favorite. There were scrambles and giant slabs the entire way up.

Over the last few months I have learned the importance of being able to trust my feet…this is something that I have struggled with in the past, always afraid that I am going to fall. It was crazy to realize that most of the fear was almost gone, that I could just walk down the slabs….its not like I am running down them yet but it’s progress!

The views at the top were amazing! We did it … 7 DOWN 0 TO GO

We headed back down Moriah, back to the Stony Brook trail junction, this time you bear right down a steep down…what goes up must come down. Now that we are back down to the bottom the next hurdle….finding the car. My dad ran ahead of the group, since we weren’t sure if we parked at the base of the trail. When we reached the bottom, we called him, but he still hadn’t found the car….Fear not he was headed in the right direction we just didn’t realize how far we had parked from the trail.

Steps: 24,140 (thanks fitbit) 

We did a quick change into comfy clothes before getting back in the car, we were greeted by the smell of our wet clothes that had been sitting in the car over night. We headed home…and got about ten mins away before realizing my dad had left his wallet on the roof of the car…never a dull moment.

We turned around and were lucky enough that no one had taken it … it was sitting in the middle of the parking lot….we got out of the car and waddled to the wallet (our muscles had tightened from being crunched in the car). It is safe to say that it was an extremely successful weekend! It even ended with a Strawberry thick shake from sonic like every good weekend should!

Now that the summer has ended and I have had time to reflect, I realize how far I have come. I can’t wait to see where my future adventure will take me and what my body will be able to withstand.

I did this hike not only for me, but for Girls inc. of Long Island! It is not to late to donate to this amazing organization that empowers young girls. click here to donate

Taking on the Devil Part 1: Devil’s Path the Eastern Half

Taking on the Devil Part 1: Devil’s Path the Eastern Half

This weekend we decided to take on the first half of Devil’s path, described as one of the more challenging hikes in the Northeast.

I was PUMPED and yet mildly concerned by what I had heard about this trail.

The trail spans 4 of the Catskill 3500:

Indian Head: 3,573 ft

Twin: 3,640 ft

Sugarloaf: 3,880 ft

Plateau: 3,840 ft

Continue reading “Taking on the Devil Part 1: Devil’s Path the Eastern Half”

2 Down 44 to go!

2 Down 44 to go!

Last Sunday my Dad and I started the 4 hour drive up to the Adirondacks, to tackle my first two Adirondack 46ers  (my Dad has already climbed all of them, but he agreed to do them all again with me). We picked my sister (Arielle) up in Troy and decided to do an easy hike to prep us for the following day.  My dad picked the Hadley Mountain Trail , because it was on our way, it was short, and it had a fire tower. Continue reading “2 Down 44 to go!”