Mountain Biking Getaway Weekend in Vermont

This past weekend was pretty epic! Jordan and I went to Vermont with our good friends for some mountain biking in Vermont. We left Friday morning, arrived in the Northeast Kingdom around noon and hit the trails. We started the weekend at Victory Hill near Kingdom Trails. There is one main double track climbing trail that leads to all of the other trails in the network (there aren’t that many), but most are downhill-style trails with lots of roots and rocks. I did two runs, mostly because I was tired of climbing after the first climb and wanted to save my legs for Kingdom Trails the following day. I rode Leifs and Mac Attack, both of which I found challenging but rideable (for me!). I’m finding that I’m a lot more comfortable on descents and just despise grueling climbs.

After the ride, we went to stock up on groceries for the weekend and then headed to our rental house, which was a sweet place right near Burke Mountain. The next morning we made breakfast and hit Kingdom Trails, which we could ride to right from our door. The day started out cool and cloudy, but eventually cleared up. It was a great day of riding. We covered about 12 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing until I rode up and over the end of a berm and crashed, landing on my knee! I was not wearing my knee pads (mistake!) so I chose to end my ride and wait for our group at Mike’s Tiki Bar.  Highlight of the day: descending down Moose Alley (and managing to stay on my bike!). Runners up include Sky Dive and Nose Dive, which were fun trails too.

 

 

Jordan and the rest of the group continued riding and finished up around 5:30. After enjoying some craft beverages at the Tiki Bar, we headed back to the rental for dinner! The guys grilled up some brats and burgers, a perfect way to refuel.

The next morning it was below freezing, so we decided to go to the Lyndon Diner for quick and cheap breakfast and wait for the temps to rise a bit. Deciding against a second day at Kingdom (sadly) we drove to Barre, Vermont to ride at Millstone Trails, located in a granite quarry. This was where I rode a mountain bike for the very first time two years ago! It was fun to go back as a more experienced rider, even though the trails here are so difficult, I was rarely riding the bike.

(Below= a portion of the trail I could actually ride!) Highlight of the day: riding down roller coaster at the end of the day.

Total miles for the weekend: ~ 25 (the most for me on a mountain bike)
With every ride I gain more confidence, push myself to conquer obstacles on the bike and become a better rider. I never thought this day would come, but I’ve left running behind for a greater thrill. Mountain biking has become my sport of choice as of late and I’m looking forward to sharing many more mtb adventures!

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The Crows – 5.28.17 and the 46rs Banquet

Memorial day weekend was jam-packed with Adirondack fun. Last Sunday was the Adirondack 46rs Annual Spring Banquet, so I made plans with Jordan and my parents to stay in Lake Placid so we could attend. Jordan and I planned on mountain biking Sunday, but the trails were a sloppy mess due to recent rains, so we hiked instead. There is still a mud warning for the high peaks areas (DEC advises to stay off of trails above 2500′–but a lot of people disregard these advisories unfortunately) so we hiked Little Crow and Big Crow mountains in the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness. The bonus of hiking these little peaks is that there are hardly any people on the trails because everyone is busy bagging high peaks.  Plus, it’s on the list of recommended alternative hikes during mud season.

The trail to the Crows is located off of Hurricane Mountain Road, off of Route 73 in Keene. There are a couple options when staring this hike. It can be done as a loop, with a road walk at the end back to your car, or an out and back. There is also the option to hike part of the Nun-da-ga-o Ridge. Jordan and I just had time for a short hike since we had to be at the banquet in Lake Placid at around 5pm. We signed in and started hiking the trail to Big Crow. It was such a nice trail!

In about 20 minutes we were at the summit of Big Crow and had magnificent views of the high peaks.

Even though it only took 2o minutes, the trail is steep, complete with rock scrambling.

 

We followed the cairns down the other side of Big Crow, which was a little tricky since it was very steep. It might be sketchy if it was wet or icy! Thankfully it was dry!

Shortly after we were at the col between Little Crow and Big Crow, it was so pretty.

We hiked along the ridge to Little Crow, where we stopped and admired the view and had a snack.

The whole hike took 2 hours and 12 minutes, including stops. It was great!

Little Crow and Big Crow Mountain
Distance 2.17 miles RT
Ascent 917′
Time 2 hrs, 12 minutes

After the hike, we headed into Lake Placid to check into our hotel. My parents were already there and had been paddling on Lake Placid, since our hotel was right on the lake. Lake Placid is not to be confused with Mirror Lake, the lake right on the main street of Lake Placid, the village. Lake Placid is much bigger!

Jordan and I took their canoe out for a little bit–we had some great views of Whiteface!

After our paddle, we got ready and headed back into the Village for the 46rs banquet. There were over 700 new 46r finishers in 2016–myself included! 211 of us were at the banquet to receive our certificates. It was great to be awarded with an actual certificate after finishing the 46–I’m proud to be member of the club!

The next morning, we had breakfast at Generations Lake Placid, a restaurant right on Mirror Lake that my dad had recommended. I never would have thought to try it for breakfast–it was fantastic! The menu had an Adirondack theme to each of their meals.

Sunny Cove – Benedict style, Duck Trap River smoked salmon, artisan sourdough, two poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula, lemon caper hollandaise & seasoned home fries–delicious!

And we had a great view!

Because it was raining pretty hard, we decided to head home–but not without a stop at the Mountaineer. The Mountaineer is one of my favorite stores, for good reason. They have so much awesome hiking gear! It was so crowded on this rainy day–what else can hikers do except drool over hiking gear if we can’t hike? We spent about an hour looking at packs for Jordan. He doesn’t have a hiking or backpacking pack, so he bought an awesome Osprey pack. We’ll have to put it good use this summer!

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2017 Senenca 7 Relay

Every year since 2015 I’ve run the Seneca 7 Relay! It is a 77.7 relay race around Seneca Lake starting and ending in Geneva, NY. I love it because of the gorgeous scenery and the fact that our team can spend the previous day wine tasting great Finger Lakes wine!

We rented the same house in Geneva we had last year, which is perfect because it is only a few minutes from the starting line of the race! On Sunday April 30, we got up super early for our 6:30am start time.

It was a lot colder than we wanted, but at least it wasn’t raining! We all ordered matching team hats, which were awesome. However, I won’t get into our team name since it is an inside joke and will take too long (and it’s too weird) to explain.

My favorite part about the race is the view of farms, vineyards and Seneca Lake.

This year I was runner # 7.

Leg 1 – 4.0 miles
Average pace: 10:09/mile

Leg 2 – 3.0 miles
Average pace: 10:26/mile

Leg 3 – the final leg of the race – 3.5 mi
Average pace: 10:01/mile

Being the final runner was awesome. I’ve run this race twice and I’ve also run three Ragnar Relays and I’ve never been the final runner. It was great to get reunited with my team for the last bit of the race!

Overall our team’s average pace was 9:07 per mile. We finished the race in 11 hours, 47 minutes! We had a blast yet again. We’ve also committed to this race as a team for the next five years so each of us can run each leg once, completing the entire course around Seneca Lake!

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Gear Review – What I Used and Loved During the Trip

I meant to publish this post a few weeks back, but time got away from me! I wanted to do a quick review of the gear I used during our trip this past July. Here is what I loved.

Salomon Women’s Ellipse Aero Hiking Shoe 


I was on on the fence about getting new hiking shoes just for this trip, but I am SO glad I did. My usual hiking boots are big, clunky and hot. These Salomons were perfect for this trip. Most of the hikes we did were on well-worn paths. Some were on Utah’s slickrock trails. Since it was so dry, I had no problem in these shoes. They were comfortable and supportive and did not weigh me down!

Gregory Women’s Pace 5 Hydration Pack

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I originally got this hydration pack for trail running, but it worked great for this trip. It has a 1.5 oz bladder, which was perfect for the shorter hikes we did. I always had it with me on our Utah hikes, because it was so hot, it was important to have easy access to water at all times. It was great! It also had a pocket on the shoulder strap for your phone, keys, etc., as well as a pretty big main pocket for your lightweight jacket, map, headlamp, and first aid kit.

Tasc Performance District Capri

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These are hands-down, my favorite piece of clothing from tasc performance. They are comfortable, stretchy, and still look cute. They are awesome for hiking (although maybe not in wet weather since they do take some time to dry) as well as just walking around or going to dinner. I wore them constantly during this trip!

LL Bean Freeport Flannel Shirt

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I had a gift card for LL bean to use so opted to get one of their versatile flannels. This one was perfect for the chilly San Francisco weather. I also wore it during our hike in Muir Woods. It is now my go-to outer layer when out and about!

Tasc Performance Hit the Trail Skirt


Hiking in a skirt is not something I thought I’d ever do, but this one was so comfortable, I decided to try it (It was toward the end of the trip and was low on clean laundry…) So, not only did this skirt serve its purpose for going out to dinner in the evenings, I hiked it in it to Delicate Arch–a 3.2 mile hike in Arches National Park.

Disclaimer: I am a tasc performance brand ambassador! tasc provided me with clothing in exchange for my review and social media posts. All opinions are still my own, though! Everything else I purchased. 🙂 

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Canyonlands National Park and Delicate Arch in Arches NP

After mountain biking and eating lunch, Jordan, my parents and I drove the ~45 min to Canyonlands National Park. We didn’t have much time to spend here because we had plans to hike Delicate Arch back at Arches, so we made a quick stop at the visitor’s center and drove to the trail to Mesa Arch, one of the most popular spots in the Island in the Sky District.

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The trail was short, but offered some great views. You can see the La Sal Mountains in the background.

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What an awesome spot! There were lots of people wandering around the arch so I wanted until nobody was under it to take some good pictures.

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There is a pretty steep drop off right behind the arch…scary!

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Mesa Arch
Total distance .7 mi RT

We didn’t waste much time and drove straight to Arches National Park. My dad had said a few days earlier that his goal was hike to the famous arch. It was only a 3 mile hike total but it was warm out. I told him he could do it with us while my mom waited for us at the car. She knows her limits and decided it was too hot for her, so she was fine with us going ahead. The trail starts next to an old homestead where you can go up and look in. It is a one room house that an entire family lived in–talk about tiny home.

 

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The trail is nice and wide for a while with a gentle incline. Eventually you come to a big slickrock hill you have to climb up, with cairns to guide you.

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Eventually you come to a narrow ledge that has a steep drop off into a crater-like hole. I didn’t want to particularly fall down in there.

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Is this what walking on Mars would feel like?

We rounded a corner and finally saw it. Holy crap!

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There is a line to get your picture under the arch

Walking up there is another large crater with a steep drop off. Yikes.

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My turn! At first I wasn’t going to go up to it, but Jordan convinced me to. I mean, when was I going to come back here. I did it!

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What an epic end to an amazing trip. I was pretty tired from mountain biking earlier in the day, but I am so glad we hiked to Delicate Arch. My dad made it the entire way, too. So impressive! I was so happy I got to do this hike with him. I wish I had gotten some pictures with him!

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Jordan by a different kind of cairn

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It was a gorgeous evening.

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Heading back down the slickrock hill.

On the way back down we stopped to see some rock art, more petroglyfs.

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Delicate Arch
Distance 3.4 mi RT
Time 2 hr, 7 min, including stops
Elevation 622′

I soaked it all in since this was our final day in Utah. I’m missing it for sure. It is fitting that yesterday was the 100th Birthday of the National Park Service. I am so grateful that I got to experience so many incredible national parks on this trip!  There are still so many more I want to visit. If it weren’t for my parents, it wouldn’t have been possible for us-they planned almost the entire vacation!

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Missing the Utah sunsets

We had dinner at a restaurant across the street at the Broken Oar and got to enjoy some Polygamy Porter-ha!

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