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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Kaaterskill Falls (summer) Hike - Catskills, New York

The first time we hiked Kaaterskill Falls was late March.  Snow fell on the higher elevations overnight and when we walked to the trailhead, there was a perfect white coating of snow on the ground.  We had microspikes and beanies, layers and gloves as we made our way along the trail and up to the top of the icey falls.  It was also just a few weeks into knowing Adam, less than a month when I casually suggested I had a weekend booked at a dog-friendly tiny house in the Catskills and if you wanted to come, you know, it could be fun (or weird, who knew). 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Giant Ledge Hike - Catskills, New York

The Catskills have become my calming place.  An escape when I need to feel the quiet of the woods and the trail without journeying too far away from home.  A place where there are more trees, less people and things slow down a little bit.  A place where I spend time with a handsome dark-haired man and our two dogs, making summer memories in the mountains. 

My summer has revolved around work and two crazy jobs so by the time Friday rolls around - I am wound.  Wound up in meetings and emails, commutes and phone calls, days managing projects in the field and nights behind the bar.  I am short on sleep and time and certainly short on patience.  Adam had a rough July as well, recovering from a sinus infection, wisdom teeth surgery, and then another surgery on his nose.  We were mentally (me) and physically (him) wounded.  I knew the solution for me: get in the car and drive north.  It was a little tougher for him (wisdom teeth extraction and nose surgery) but we seemed to find a casual compromise between my need for peaks and his limitations post procedures.  

Our compromise was the Catskills: no backpacking, smaller hikes, a quiet evening of camping.  

Monday, August 5, 2019

Bluff Head and Northwoods (Guilford) - Connecticut Best Hikes

I've been working on a "Best of Connecticut" Hike List for some time now.  With great hiking in the Whites of New Hampshire, Greens of Vermont, Berkshires of Massachusetts, and the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York, it's easy to forget that Connecticut has some great options.  While a lot of the trails in Connecticut are on the "walk in the woods" or "not much of a view" category, there are truly some gems in this state.  Would you believe me if I told you can find everything ranging from challenging hikes with elevation to pretty lakes and expansive vistas? Listen up Nutmegers, we have it. 

A hiking spot called "Bluff Head" kept coming up when people talked about some of their favorite local hikes.  Best part?  This hike is actually located in my town.  And so, it had been on my list for a while but life got busy and this hike was constantly pushed to the backburner.  I finally had the time in the middle of summer when I had an injured Adam and a new hiker in town.   I figured this quick hike with great views was the perfect way to show a different side of Connecticut and yes, show off Guilford.  In this town, you can go clamming in the sound before changing into some shorts and grabbing Fido for a hike to the Bluff Head viewpoint.  Extra points if you end the day with ice cream at the llama farm.  

Ocean and a hike with a view.  
You can have your cake and eat it too. 

Northwoods and Bluff Head Preserve cover 500 acres of land protected by the Guilford Land Conservation Trust.  The Bluff Head summit (the viewpoint) is an exposed ridge with beautiful views of Meyer Huber Pond and the surrounding hillsides.  The geology consists of the "Broomstick Ledges", gray schist that was actually once the sea bottom. These outcrops of rock offer some pretty viewpoints of the Connecticut landscape below.  The viewpoint stands at 720 feet above sea level making it the highest point in Guilford. 

Before you head to Bluff Head, there are a few things you should know.  You can get up to the viewpoint pretty quickly at the sacrifice of some steep and unsteady terrain.  Or, you can take a more gradual (but longer) trail to the viewpoint.  Mileage or incline, pick your poison.  And speaking of poison, we did happen to see some of it along the trail.  In fact, Gian, a newbie hiker who I convinced to join us on this quick jaunt, sort of actually fell back into some of the poison ivy on the steeper parts of the trail.  Bad luck, good laughs.  


I gave Gian my secret stash of Tecnu and even after landing in a bunch of the stuff, he never developed the rash (it's all about the elbow grease, you need to scrub the oils off).  The moral of the story? If you want to hike in New England you need a sturdy hiking shoe and a whole lot of tecnu

The trail is part of the Mattabesset hiking trail, a 60-mile trail traveling through the towns of Guilford, Durham, Madison, Haddam, Middletown, North Branford, Wallingford, Middlefield, Meriden and Berlin,  The Matabesset hiking trail is part of the 215 mile New England Scenic Trail (which goes from Long Island Sound in Guilford to the MA/NH border).

Parking:  There is a lot at the Bluff Head trailhead on Rt. 77 about 1/2 mi. north of Great Hill Rd (it should come up on Google Maps).  Once you get off the highway (I-95), follow Route 77 for approximately  8.6 miles where you will see a blue sign and a parking area on your left.  There are no bathrooms at the trailhead.

Kids/Dogs:  Dogs are allowed on the trail (but must be on-leash).  The less steep section (blue orange trail) would be okay for older kids.  The steep blue trail is very steep and may even be tough for some adults.  Also, there are also exposed ledges which would be dangerous for young children.

Pick Your Trail: The trail map was a little confusing at the parking lot.  It seemed to contradict itself on which trail was the steeper shorter and which was the longer trail.  We went with our gut and followed the steep looking trail directly adjacent to the trailhead map/marker (blue trail). 

And then at home doing some research, I found this "The Mattabesett section of the New England Trail over Bluff Head in Guilford has undergone a blaze change. The blue/orange side trail is now the primary route to the top of the ridge and is marked with blue blazes. The old trail has experienced severe erosion and is, at times, unsafe. We encourage hikers to follow the blue blazes to ascend and descend from Bluff Head."

I read this after and followed the steep section of the trail (now mislabeled but you can clearly see the difference at the beginning of the trail).  We did end up following the blue/orange trail for a little bit once we reached the first viewpoint by accident.  I quickly realized this was taking us back down so we turned around and made our way back to the blue trail that follows the bluff.   

Trail 1: Blue-Blazed Trail - Direct, Short and Steep *Marked "M" on the map.
The trail immediately to the west of the parking lot, marked with light blue blazes, very steep for the first 300-yards.  You will get to your first overlook with views to the east.  Stay straight on the blue trail and do NOT turn left onto the blue and orange trail (heading to the left/west) and back down the trail.  The blue trail continues north along the bluff until you reach the view of the green landscape and the very green Meyer Huber Pond.  Turn around at the viewpoint as the trail is part of the Mattabessert and NET and you can follow it all the way to New Hampshire.  Be careful coming down the steeper section of the trail.  The Blue-Orange trail is the recommended route. 
Distance: Shorter/blue option, 1-mile to 1.25-miles round trip 

Trail 2:  Blue/Orange - More Gradual, Longer Distance  *Marked "B" on the map.  
The second trail from the parking lot is more gradual, reaching the bluff after about one mile of walking.  This trail leaves the parking lot on the dirt road on the south side of the lot and is marked by light blue blazes with an orange dot in the center.  It continues along the dirt road – an old town road called Fire Tower Road – until it turns right (north) off the road onto a foot trail which leads to the main blue trail.  It basically does a big loop west, cutting down on the elevation over distance, before ending and joining the blue-blazed Mattabesett Trail which takes you to the vistas.
Distance: Longer, less steep option 2-miles 

It was a hot humid day but the quick short hike with the dogs to this pretty viewpoint was exactly what we needed. A bit of a scramble but worth it to be able to hike to some views fairly close to the shoreline of Connecticut. With the heat, we planned this late in the day, armed with a bottle of water and headlamps with the hope of making this a fun little sunset hike.  And then I realized it was an east-facing viewpoint and this would actually be a perfect morning sunrise hike. 

Guilford, thanks for the views and I can't wait to see the sunrise from the highest point in town.  

Other Connecticut Best Hikes

Monday, July 29, 2019

Elizabeth Park Rose Garden - Hartford, Connecticut

One day long, long, ago in my early twenties, I was sitting at the break room table at my job as a seasonal employee in the middle of summertime, exasperated that it was only Wednesday.  Between bites of whatever I was eating, I sighed out loud that I wished it was Friday.  And then I heard some of the best advice I have ever been given.  Don't wish your life away. 

Boom, it was such a short saying that packed a punch. You can't live for the weekend, and you certainly can't sit at the break room table miserable with your job wishing it was Friday.  Because Monday through Thursday?  Well, they can rock too. 

So maybe you can't go on an epic hiking trip on a Tuesday afternoon.  But what you can do is find a new-to-you treasure right there in your home state, maybe even the next town over.  I am thankful that Connecticut has a lot to offer in the summertime.  Concerts on the beach, amazing parks, beaches galore, dinner on the farm series, and so much more.  What I didn't know until recently was that Connecticut also has this amazing rose garden in a place where you least expect it, our less than glamourous capital city of Hartford.  Not only does it have this beautiful rose garden but it is dog-friendly, FREE, and home to a Wednesday concert series.  

Monday, July 22, 2019

Waterfalls and Wine - Buttonwood Grove, Finger Lakes, NY

A hard hike and a cold beer (preferably from a local brewery) are one of my favorite pairings.  It's that hot hike, cold beer combo - usually showing up to a new brewery in sweaty hiking clothes, happy to kick my feet up and relax over a new beverage, enjoyed guilt-free after a long walk in the woods.  One of my most favorites pairings if you will, was during a weekend up in the Whites of New Hampshire.  I was hiking Franconia Ridge, Thatcher, Olive and I on this amazing 9-mile hike over some of New Hampshire's 4,000 footers.  After we got back to the car happy and hungry, I punched in "brewery" and found Schilling Beer Co where I ended my day in pure hiker bliss over pizza and beer.  We sat outside with Olive enjoying our treats, trying to narrow down which beers we wanted to bring home.  This post hike experience set the standard of what my hiking trips should look like. 

So when I went to the Fingerlakes to hike and celebrate Independence Day, this combination was kind of what I had in mind, but would require some improvising.  I was with my parents who don't share my love for double-digit distance hikes and double IPA's.  And we were in the Finger Lakes hiking around Cayuga Lake, America's First Wine Trail.   

So instead of elevation and IPAs, we did waterfalls and wine. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Taughannock Falls - Finger Lakes, New York

Taughannock Falls State Park in Summer

At this point in the trip Lucy (my mom) had a lot to say about the trails I was picking.  Too many stairs, too long, they hurt her knee, and so on.  Truth be told, these trails had been relatively flat in my eyes.  We weren't hiking to any summits, just following gorges and waterfalls in the middle of Amish Country New York.  

With that being said, sometimes it's hard to step back and realize we all have different definitions of an "easy trail", molded by experience and fitness levels.  I run 2 days a week and do CrossFit 4 days a week.  She is not consistent with exercise and nutrition and had a knee surgery earlier in the year.  Our definitions of an easy trail are very, very different.  And that's okay.  

By Hike 3 in the Finger Lakes, we finally found a trail that was more her pace, and fit her definition of easy.  A short, flat, well maintained wide trail that after a 1-mile leisurely stroll, ended at a breathtaking waterfall.   It was one of those low effort high reward kind of hikes.  

Have someone in your group who appreciates easier trails?  Want to take the kids on an easy hike?  Or maybe you just want a nice little walk to stretch your legs and take a few photos.  Head to Taughannock Falls. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Letchworth State Park, Finger Lakes, New York

Upper Falls waterfall and train bridge Letchworth State Park
Upper Falls - Letchworth State Park 

Dear New York, 

How were you hiding all these big and showy state parks?  I have lived in the Northeast most of my life (minus those two years in Utah) and as you know dear reader, I am madly in love with the outdoors.  Whether it's scuba diving or horseback riding, hiking or mountain biking, or just an evening under the stars.  I'm happiest when I 'm outside. 

In my 31 years I have traveled a lot, especially around the U.S.  And when I moved back east from Utah, I made it my mission to tackle more mountains, more peaks, and spend more time outside.  To experience the outdoors in new places and in new ways. 

But even after being back east for 2.5 years and tackling different challenges, these New York State Parks are still a complete surprise.  It's amazing what is hiding just a few state lines away).  These parks in the Finger Lakes were gems no one down here in New England really talked about.  

This wasn't just a casual run of the mill  State Park.  To me, this was dramatic and oh so beautiful with rugged cliffs and waterfalls, miles of trails and so many recreation opportunities.  I couldn't help but think, this place is kind of National Park worthy. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Robert H. Trehman State Park, Finger Lakes - Waterfall Loop Hike

Gorge Trail Robert H. Trehman State Park Bridge
Views along the Gorge Trail 
It sort of became a new tradition to explore New York on the fourth of July. It all started last year when I convinced my parents we should spend the long weekend up in the Ausable area, camping, exploring, and hiking up in the gorgeous Adirondacks. It was a great trip that included one of my favorite hikes to date, Indian Head. Since then, I have made it a mission to spend more time exploring this huge state of New York that is truly an outdoor lover's paradise. I've done a few hikes in the Catskills, spent some time in the Adirondacks and now, spent the fourth of July holiday in the Finger Lakes. 

 Spending America's birthday deep in the woods and in one of our countries state parks is my favorite way to celebrate Independence Day. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Lake Zoar Loop Hike to Prydden Falls - Connecticut's Best Hikes

Dogs Paugussett State Forest Lake Zoar Zoar Trail

I used to write blog posts as a sort of strict “informational guide" - maybe an intro sentence or two but after that, it was right to business. Park here, hike there, eat that. If you are here for just that - not a problem, just keep scrolling to the bottom until you see the "Trail Information" header. But if you want to hear a bit about my personal life, and a whirlwhind summer of dating (and how this all relates to hiking) grab a coffee or a beer and keep reading. 

I really enjoy sharing my stories. You know, the stories of what brings me to a certain person, place, or thing. It’s amazing how a story can unfold in just about every post I write, even in something as simple as a trail guide. And this trail guide? It has a story. You see, there are a lot of hikes that hold a sweet spot in my memories.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Escape to the Cape - A Day in Falmouth, MA

Beach Falmouth Cape Cod

The Cape in the summertime tends to get a bad reputation. You hear the words Summer and Cape Cod and before you can envision yourself beachside enjoying Wellfleet oysters, you are reminded of the insane traffic and high price tags on just about everything. Well, let me share a secret with you.

Head to the top of the Cape and you can avoid some of the traffic. Head to the top of the cape in early June when the kids are still in school and you can avoid all the traffic. Cheery on top? You can also get discounted lodging and a table for 8 at a restaurant on a perfect sunny day - things that are impossible on those July summer weekends.  Let me tell you from experience....the Cape in June is the only way I want to go to the Cape.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Day Trip to Martha's Vineyard

Edgartown Lighthouse Marthas Vineyard

Towards the end of a cold New England winter, and about the time I met Adam, I started putting together a New England summer bucket list.  You know, a list of all the things and places I wanted to see in the near future.  A fun list of places suggested by a friend or found online that I quickly jotted down in a spreadsheet before it was lost in my brain, drifting somewhere between the never-ending "To Do" list and much-needed Grocery list.  But because this is 2019 and I almost always have a computer in front of me or a phone nearby, this list turned into one longggggg google doc I can add to wherever whenever.   Which I can't help but think, how did we live before google docs?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

A Visitor's Guide to Salt Lake City, Utah

Before I moved out west, Utah was such an unknown and mystical destination.   It just wasn't a state we really talk about here in New England.  Prior knowledge:  Utah= strange place full of Sister Wives and Park City is where people go skiing.  Current knowledge: Mormons are there yes, Park City is wonderful, the rest of Utah has some amazing skiing, the city itself is clean and beautiful with mountain views all around, the culture is bizarro, the liquor laws are mind-boggling, everyone is so fit, and it is truly the outdoor lover's paradise.  

Best way to wrap it all up?  Salt Lake City has one of the country's best backyards - it's called the Wasatch.  

The reason it didn't turn into a better Denver?  The culture keeps this city a little in the dark (and everyone kind of likes it that way).  

My thoughts on Salt Lake City changed quickly that first trip out to visit Thatcher in 2014 and Salt Lake City is always going to be one of those places that leaves me a little spellbound.  Let's be honest, so much happened in this city. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

West Palm Weekend - TravelCation

Vacation and Traveling are two very different things in my world.  

A vacation is a pure relaxation:  do nothing,  except maybe sip margs by the pool.  The goal is rest, relax, recharge.  On the other hand, a trip is a do everything see everything experience everything sort of journey.  You vacation on a remote island or somewhere standard like the Bahamas.  It doesn't really matter where you all, all that matters is you are away from the normal 9-5 of life.  On the other hand, you travel somewhere like Europe.  Where you are matters and you are in this destination to see all it has to offer, even if it's at the sacrifice of R&R.  When you look at traveling in these two lenses, you can probably guess which of the two I excel at. 

You guessed it - I think I am a pretty swell traveler.
I know I am a terrible vacationer. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Chester Carry-On Suitcase Review

Chester Carry-on Suitcase

I am one of those people who simply refuse to check luggage.  If you haven't met me.... you should know this - I am very stubborn.  Like, carried my large grill out of my basement up the stairs by myself because I wanted to grill steak that night kind of stubborn.  
When it comes to traveling, my "I can do it all" attitude shines through.  A weeks worth of clothes?  I will fit that into a carry on with enough packing cubes and patience.  Unless I am on a dive or ski trip when I need to pack heavy gear, it has to fit in a carry-on. 

Why?  A few reasons.

First, I simply refuse to pay excessive fees to check a suitcase.  Traveling is expensive enough and after paying for airport parking and flights, the last thing I want to do is shell out more money for my belongings - and each way.  Secondly and THE most important reason I always carry on?  I hate waiting at baggage claim.  When I finally get off the plane and after spending hours in the germ box, I want to get the hell out of that airport and onto my final destination or home.  I do not (repeat, do not) want to spend an extra second at the airport if I don't have to.  It's usually an extra half hour of waiting at the carousel for the black bag that looks like every other black bag.  While we are talking about time, when you get to the airport, you can also skip the check-in counter and head right to security.  And then there's the whole "your bag didn't make it" scenario.  If you carry-on, your bag will never leave your sight and get put on the wrong plane.

Carrying on will save you money, a whole lot of time, and you will never lose your bag. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Connecticut's Best Hikes - Ragged Mountain Loop - Berlin CT

Ragged Mountain - May 2019

A lot of us write off Connecticut as a hiking destination.  When someone references the Constitution State, I am willing to bet your first thought isn't "so many great hikes there"!  Its probably more along the lines of lobster rolls, high taxes, New England charm, and life on the beach.  Even if you are a Connecticut native, it is easy to hop in your car and head to the Whites of New Hampshire, the Greens of Vermont, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, or the Adirondacks in New York to experience what hiking in the northeast truly has to offer.

And yes, living in Utah and having so much amazing hiking right outside my apartment really spoiled me.

A lot of our hikes in Connecticut tend to feel like more of a "walk in the woods", a nice little stroll among dirt trails and trees.  Summit views and elevation?  Not always guaranteed.  So when I find a hike that has some awesome views and gets my heart rate up I am pleasantly surprised and feel like I am winning at this game called Have It All.  A chance to spend some time in the woods without having to be landlocked? Hike in the morning lobster bake in the evening?  Turns out, I can have my cake and eat it too.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Hiking and Camping at Mount Greylock - Massachusetts High Point

When it comes to hiking trails and travel destinations, I typically live by the saying "one and done".   There are so many places to visit, so many trails I want to trek, so many different foods I want to eat and sights I want to see that I often have a hard time going back to the same place twice.  But sometimes I make exceptions and so far, I am glad I have.  When I set aside my need for "new", I am constantly reminded how different a place or hike can be in different seasons with different people.  And so, cue my second time to hike Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Connecticut High Point and Tri-State Hike

If you've been following along on KW the last few years, you probably know about my New England Summit Tour.  When I moved back to New England from Utah (the land of mountains majesty and excellent hiking), I made a vow to take that sense of adventure I learned out west and apply it here in the Northeast.   Our peaks may not be as prominent, but we still have some impressive mountains to climb.  My start to an Elevated New England was to hike all the New England summits.   I vowed to take my hiking boots up the summits of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, camping hiking (and drinking) my way from Jerimoth Hill in Rhode Island to Katahdin in Maine. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Wandering in the Catskills - Catskill, Hudson, Hunter, Saugerties and Woodstock

There is nothing better than having an open weekend in a new place.  The modus operandi of the weekend was wake up in our Tiny Home, go out for a hike, come back and jump in the shower, and then spend the rest of the day exploring some of these quaint New York towns.  It's here in the Catskills of New York where you can stay in a luxury Tiny Home, hike up one of New York's tallest waterfalls, walk the streets of an artsy quaint little town and have some amazing meals with a view. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

North-South Lake Hike - Newman's Ledge and the Catskill Mountain House Site

It was the last day of the Catskills getaway and I had one more hike in mind before packing up the Tiny Home and the dogs to tour through a few Hudson Valley towns before heading home.  This particular hike was close to where we were staying, featured a pretty lake, scenic views of the Hudson Valley and history on one of the Northeast's many Mountain Houses.  

Saturday was an easy hike at Kaaterskill Falls and the plan for Sunday was to be up early, pack the car and head to North-South Lake campground (about 25-minutes away) in Haines Falls, New York.  While both of our dogs are up to date on all their shots, I had read that proof of rabies (written proof, like the actual form, the tag is not good enough) was required and I forgot to mention this important detail to Adam.  However, it was early March and the campground was closed so I was really banking on sneaking through, sans paperwork.  And yes, we did. 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Kaaterskill Falls (winter) Hike - Catskills, New York

It was a crisp Saturday morning in South Cairo, New York at the Tiny House Resort.  As I opened the shade of "The Mocha" with a full day open for hiking and adventures in the Catskills, I saw a fresh coating of snow covering the ground.  Just an inch or two down at the resort but I knew the mountains would have a thicker coating of snow at higher elevations. So early Saturday morning after making coffee and walking around the resort with the dogs, we packed our bags for a morning hike.  I wasn't sure how much snow there was in the mountains so I decided an easy trip up to one of New York's most famous waterfalls would be the perfect way to start the weekend.

Frozen blue ice at the base of the falls

Kaaterskill Falls is one of the Catskills most famous and frequented destinations.  It is just a mile(ish) hike off of Route 23A making it an easy trip to one of the highest waterfalls in New York.  A three-mile hike will take you from the parking lot, to the base of the falls, up to a viewing platform above the falls and back.  A trek to this two-stage waterfall which cascades 260 feet is referred to as one of America's "oldest tourist attractions" and standing at the base of the falls or on the platform above it's easy to see why. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

A Tiny House Resort - Catskills, New York

Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated.  

Isn't that the truth?  

I am always reminding myself of the beauty of simplicity, of being happy with less, of clearing the clutter and keeping things simple.  You know the old adage, less is more.  Well, this wanderer fully believes in that philosophy.

Spring is starting to slowly show up here in New England and with the longer days and melting snow, I was staring at my hiking boots with that lusty longing look that hikers get as the winter starts to fade.  I had a taste of the Catskills when Rob and I hiked Overlook Mountain and stopped at a few breweries, drinking our way back home.  I don't know if it was the perfect summer day, the good company or the abundance of beer but I left smitten with this new-to-me part of New York and vowed to be back soon.  

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Ski Colorado - Beaver Creek and Vail

I'd like to say that the next few blog posts will be a rave review of all the different ski resorts in Colorado.  The original loosely formed plan was to ski the Epic Resorts (Beaver Creek, Vail and Breckenridge) maybe sprinkle in a little Copper Mountain or ski a bit of A-Basin.  

But the truth?  

The truth is 2 hours into day 2 while making my way to the lift a few hundred feet away I somehow twisted a ski and went full yard sale (poles, skis, gone, tumble, dive).  Like collecting my shit and spent some serious time digging myself out of a snow bank while people watched with a sharp pain in my right leg thinking "what hurts - what did I damage",  it was that kind of yard sale.   So a "ski all the resorts trip" turned into 1.5 days of skiing, a whole lot more reading, a good amount of drinking at the base lodge, and a hefty dose of relaxing.  Of course I was bummed about the lack of skiing, a little down-in-the-(ski)dumps about the season pass I paid for and would not be able to use for the rest of the trip.  But I reminded myself of a few things:  

        I am in beautiful Colorado
        I could use a slow relaxing trip
        Damn did I miss and love these mountain views, and most importantly
        The point was to spend some much needed time with gal pals - on or off the mountain.  

I kept reminding myself of that silly romantic quote "we were together, I forgot the rest".  A little different when you are with two girls in Colorado but - you get my drift. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Girls Go Colorado - Why We Loved Frisco, Colorado

As time goes by and the years roll on, it can be harder and harder to get together.  Weddings and babies, careers and hobbies... these ongoing life events start to demand more of our time, money, and energy.  With all of these commitments, it can be hard to devout some quality time to the people who have loved and supported you along the way.  It isn't as easy to plan a getaway with the girls, to go on that ski trip or to visit those cool cities.  However, you have probably heard me preach that friendships are like any other relationship and they require commitment, time and attention.  And don't even get me started on the importance of quality friendships in your life.  So after a strange and stressful year reorganizing my life and relationships, I was happy and eager to invest more of my time with the people I owe a lot of my happiness to.   When Liz (a childhood and constant best friend and important person in my life) suggested a girl's ski trip to Colorado, I responded with an instant and no second thought "Hell Fucking Yes".

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Loon Ski Resort- New Hampshire

Loon is one of those "ski mountains with a view".  The mountain resort is located outside Lincoln, New Hampshire in the beautiful Whites at the bottom of the "Kanc", looming over the East Branch Pemigewasset River.  Anything nestled in the Whites is bound to be beautiful and Loon Mountain does not disappoint.  You glide off the lift, turn around, and BAM the view in front of you nearly knocks you off your skis.  On a clear day, it is mountain peaks for miles, those rolling Whites laid out in front of you tempting you to climb each and every peak.  

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Turning 31 - Snowmobiling Weekend in New York

I have been lucky to spend some birthdays in some beautiful places around the world and in good company.

I turned 25 on the slopes of Killington, where Thatcher and I tried to navigate a "new to us" mountain.  26 was spent on a plane to Salt Lake City, where I spent a week running, skiing, sightseeing and falling in love with Salt Lake City and Park City.  By 27, I was living in Utah and spent the evening at one of my favorite restaurants in Salt Lake City, eating beef stroganoff from Copper Onion and devouring chocolate cake from Gourmandise.  I celebrated 28 on the beaches of Puerto Rico, scuba diving with turtles, swimming and sliding down natural waterslides, hiking through rain forests, and celebrating a friends wedding.  I spent 29 deep in the woods of Vermont, convincing 5 of my friends to spend the night in a yurt in northern Vermont (in February) and hiking Camels Hump - getting a little lost while trudging through waist deep snow.  I spent 30 in Banff, Canada - skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding into a new decade of my life.  And here we are at 31, a birthday spent in the lower Adirondacks, snowmobiling and snowshoeing in the woods of New York.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Red Iguana - Salt Lake City's MUST HAVE Mexican Food

A line on a Monday outside of Red Iguana 

So there's this place - this wonderful magical place full of warm tortillas, savory mole sauces, and pork products in nearly every form.  Oh and an abundance of spicy, salty margaritas.

Where is this place, you ask? It's Salt Lake City's famous Mexican restaurant, Red Iguana.  You are probably envisioning a hip and trendy taco joint smack downtown in the city.  Instead, it is literally and figuratively located on the "wrong side of the tracks" at the other end of the city, about a mile and a half from the downtown area.   All of this amazing Mexican food is contained in a basic nondescript yellow and red building with a huge lit up sign inviting you in to enjoy "Killer Mexican Food" right through the front door covered in a variety of random stickers.  To really set the ambiance, its neighbor is a rundown no-tell motel, honeymoon suite, weekly rates, and creepy gnome characters in a no longer functioning abandoned outdoor pool included.  That Travelodge sign with the creepy characters featuring "Kiddies Fairy Land"?  All real.  Let's just say you don't come here for the ambiance, you come for the mole.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Winter Weekend in Stowe

The Grandview Barn on Stowe Hollow Road

Mountains or Oceans.... the oh-so-important question asked of many outdoor enthusiasts and single folk swiping on dating profiles.  For a long time, I was a die-hard no questions asked ocean person.   But as time goes by, I can't deny that there's this magnetic pull to the mountains.  And this attraction?  It's pulling me a little harder into the woods than into the water these days.   

The more time I spent on mountains, the more I started to crave the way my calves burned on a hike, the bittersweet feeling of setting up your tent in the dark, and the absolute quiet that comes with being alone on a far away trail.  

These days, I want to be on a peak with my dog, I want to steal sweaty kisses from someone on a summit,  I want to sit on a rock and eat my smooshed sandwich and warming craft beer - items that taste so much better at elevation.   I want to see the view above the treeline and find the nearest brewery once the bags and the dog have been loaded back into the car.  

The more time I spend in the mountains, the more these scales start to shift.  Jagged peaks and densely wooded trails have become just as important to my happiness as a rugged coastline.  

Stowe Gondola, Stowe Mountain Resort

To be fair, I don't need the Rocky Mountains or 14,000 footers to find my footing -  our mountains here in New England are always beautiful, can certainly be challenging, and are often underrated.   Let me camp in the Berkshires, wander in the Whites or hike in the Greens - that always does the trick.

Monday, January 14, 2019

New Year, New York - The Adirondacks You Didn't Know About

There is this quote I think of often when I am in my "9 to 5" mode.  It's a famous saying by John Muir and when I'm stressed out at the office or packing my bag for a much-needed weekend away in the woods, it pops into my head.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.  Awakening from the stupefying effects of the vice of over-industry and the deadly apathy of luxury, they are trying as best they can to mix and enrich their own little ongoings with those of Nature, and to get rid of rust and disease.” -John Muir

Moose River Lodge

After the chaos of the holidays and the madness of those last few months of 2018 (she was a doozy) this is exactly how I was feeling.  Tired, nerve-shaken and much too over-civilized.  Cabin fever was setting in and I needed to escape my house on the shoreline for a cabin in the woods.  I get that itch, that itch to be anywhere but home, to explore somewhere new.  I need to go find those mountains, lakes, and streams.  So at the end of December, I packed my bag and the dog and headed north to spend 5 days in the Adirondacks of New York.