Snowshoeing at the Saratoga National Historical Park

Yesterday’s high was 30 degrees and the sun was out, it was downright balmy. Of course I had to spend the majority of the beautiful day outdoors. ­čÖé Jordan and I were originally going to hike in the Adirondacks, but after getting a late start we decided to keep things a little more local and check out the trails at the Saratoga National Historical Park. Jordan rides his road bike here in the summer, but I had never been, so I was excited!

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We decided on a 4.2 mile loop called the Wilkinsin Trail.

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What an amazing day for snowshoeing. When we finished the loop (it took about 2 hours) we hiked a few more miles around the park –it was still too nice out to go home!

I’m anxious to check out this park during the warmer months. It seems like it would be pretty great for trail running.

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Snowshoeing Adventures: Hadley Mountain Firetower and Petersburgh Pass

Last week after a few big snow storms, I took the new boyfriend Jordan for his first snowshoe hike. He recently got a pair of snowshoes and was anxious to try them out. I decided on Hadley Mountain because it’s pretty close to Albany and it’s a short hike with some awesome views. It was a gorgeous day for a snowshoe hike!

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The trek up was a little tough because the hikers before us had left a trail, but weren’t wearing snowshoes. It was kind of a pain. This is one of my pet peeves about winter hiking. When there is two feet of snow on the ground, you wear snowshoes!

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In a couple hours we reached the summit!

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We climbed the firetower to get some good views, too.

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The hike down was a breeze because the trail was nice and packed. This was my second time hiking this mountain. It was one of my very first ADK hikes back in 2009.

Hadley Mountain
Elevation:┬á2,654′
Total distance RT: 3.6 miles

Sunday was very cold, but it was a sunny day, so I decided to tag along with Jordan and his friend on an adventure. They wanted to snowshoe up to Petersburg Pass, an old ski area in the Taconics on the NY/MA border not that far from Troy.

We bundled up for the short hike. It was getting close to zero degrees, with a windchill that was probably below that.

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We were only on the trail for a few hours. It was so cold! But we just couldn’t resist getting out on a sunny day despite the frigid temps! When you have the proper warm clothing, it makes going outside a lot more enjoyable.

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Snowshoeing at Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve

Saturday afternoon Meredith, Jenna and I went on a local snowshoe excursion at the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve in Clifton Park. The previous week dumped a ton of snow on the Capital Region. I had been waiting for that just so I could get out my snowshoes. Saturday was another snowy day, but the temps were warmer (in the 30s, I think!) so it was perfect for getting outside and enjoying the trails.

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There is a trail that runs along the Mohawk, directly across from my favorite running route, the Niskayuna bike path. It was cool to see the river from a different perspective! The river was completely frozen over and we hiked right on it. Pretty awesome.

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We hiked for about an hour and 20 minutes, estimating we went about 3 miles.

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Winter Solstice: Hiking Nippletop and Dial Mountains

Sunday marked the very first day of Winter. I celebrated by hiking with my winter hiking buddy Jona. (Last season we hiked two Winter peaks together, Sawteeth and Phelps!)–this time we were tackling two High Peaks in one day, Nippletop and Dial.

After an early wake up (3:15am!), I met Jona and her friend Paula at Exit 9 Park and Ride to get to the trailhead by 6:15AM. We wanted an early start because we had a long hike ahead of us and the daylight hours were limited! The parking lot for these peaks is in St. Huberts near the Ausable Club. We parked the car and signed in to the register at 6:30AM. It was still dark, so we used our headlamps for the first few miles we needed to walk down Lake Road to get to the start of the trail to Nippletop. We started with the steeper of the two trails, the Gill Brook Trail. I was really glad for that. After discussing it, I realized I like hiking shorter, steep trails rather than long, gradual ones. The same goes when running!

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We put on our snowshoes and started up. Thankfully by the time we hit the trail it was light out! It was my first time hiking in snowshoes since about March, so they took some getting used to. Thankfully, the trail already packed down and the conditions for snowshoeing were great.

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A few miles of hiking later, we hit the clearing, which I assume is some kind of pond, covered with ice and snow! It was pretty to see everything covered in white, a winter wonderland.

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After an extremely steep climb of about 1.5 miles, we finally got to the sign for Nippletop indicating.2 miles to the summit. There was at least two feet of snow up here, above 4,000 feet!

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Sadly, the summit was in a cloud. But, still we felt very accomplished after that. We hit the summit at 11:00AM–4.5 hours after we signed in.

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Lucky #13!

Then we went down, down, down to Dial Mountain, which was a nice walk in the woods after climbing to Nippletop.

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Winter wonderland!

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At 12:45PM we found Dial, still in the clouds. Supposedly these peaks have some of the best views in the Adirondacks…

There’s something peaking through…

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My 14th High Peak, Dial Mountain.

We didn’t stay on top for long. It was chilly. My water turned to slush, but I was still able to drink from it. I need to get some insulators!

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After leaving Dial, we went down the other side, to make a big loop. We had a long way to go to get back to the car, including going over another little mountain called Bear Den.

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My feet were starting to ache after being in stiff boots and in snowshoes for so long. I wanted to sit down and not get back up–but, we had to keep going! We made it back to the road around 3:30, and back to the car at 3:45ish. A long and strenuous –but rewarding day.

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Nippletop Mountain
4,620 ft elevation
High Peak Rank: 17
Dial Mountain
4,020 ft elevation
High Peak Rank: 41
Total miles: ~13
Time including stops: ~9 hours

What I Wore
Ice breaker merino wool baselayers (top and bottom), socks
EMS zip off hiking pants
Long sleeve tech top
Columbia Snow-pocalypse Omni-heat jacket
Vasque Snowblime boots
Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes
Columbia fleece-lined hat
Recycled wool sweater-fleece-lined mittens (hand-made by a friend!)
EMS pack

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Hiking Buck Mountain

I’ve made it a personal goal to hike at least one mountain per month! After I realized I had hiked at least once since August, I knew I could keep going to keep up my hiking fitness. Yesterday my friend Meredith and I went up to Lake George to hike Buck Mountain. She had hiked it a bunch of times but never in winter conditions with snowshoes. I have never hiked Buck before so it was on my list of hikes to do eventually!

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Conditions for snowshoeing the trail were great. We carried microspikes with us just in case, but kept the snowshoes on the entire hike…they were really needed the higher we got, the snow was still so deep near the summit!

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Following the yellow trail markers
We realized we probably over dressed when not even 10 minutes into the hike we were shedding layers. We were both down to our baselayers but the higher we got, the windier it got, so the jackets went back on. Before we knew it, we hit the “false summit”. Even though we had a little bit more to go, the views here were amazing and would be a great place to snack before you climb to the top.

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Looking down onto Lake George was awesome. Its still frozen over and covered with snow, it almost looks like an open field rather than a huge lake.

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A little cloudy, but still a great day and a great hike! I want to take my parents up here for a hike this summer, they would love it!

Buck Mountain, Lake George Wild Forest
6.6 mi RT
1,999′ ascent
2,334′ elevation

 

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