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Archive for the ‘travel.’ Category

To piggy-back off of a previous post, instead of buying gifts for each other for the anniversary of our first date, the beau and I decided to take a day trip to Woodstock, NY. I had only driven through this little town after hiking once before but he was more familiar with it because his art had been featured in a gallery down there. I got up early to run my long run, shower, have a hearty breakfast at our regular spot and hit up the local car wash thanks to the HUNDREDS of crows that live in the trees outside of my apartment this time of the year. We were on the road by eleven and at the trail head by noon.

A co-worker suggested that we hike up Overlook Mountain, which I didn’t know the beau  would be interested in doing. Luckily, I was wrong! I think the short distance (just over a mile) combined with the fact that it was on an old carriage road were the selling points. We bundled up and started up the trail!

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We passed a bunch of people who were already heading back to the car, it was a gorgeous autumn day, and within no time had to stop to take our coats off. By the time we made it to our destination, it was getting a little grey out and snow flurries were floating in the air. We decided not to hike to the fire tower and just to the abandoned hotel because we wanted enough time to walk around town before dinner. I loved it! I read up on this old building and it was originally built in 1871 but unfortunately burnt to the ground in 1923. It was so much fun to walk within it’s walls and imagine what it had looked like over a hundred years ago.

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We spent quite a bit of time wandering around but it got cold fast, so back down the trail we went. And then decided to explore the Buddhist monastery across the street from where we parked! There was a retreat happening but we did get a peak inside of the meditation hall.

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Once downtown we shopped, visited a couple of galleries, dreamt about purchasing antiques and laughed plenty of laughs in a neat children’s toy store.

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Seriously, what are those naked baby angels? And did you ever get to dissect owl vomit?

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The beau had originally suggested a trip to Woodstock because he had found an all vegan restaurant for us to have dinner at: Garden Cafe on the Green. Reservations were at five and we had a cute little seat in the window.

I think we were both overwhelmed to have so many options! We both agreed that we should try as much as we wanted/could and that we did! Besides the wine and side salads, this is what we ordered:

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For appetizers: the caesar salad with toasted almonds and the quesadillas with roasted red peppers and kalamata olives. The salsa, guacamole and sour cream were a big hit in my book!

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Dinner for him: pasta with “meatballs” and garlic bread. A classic!

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Dinner for her: wild and brown rice mushroom saute, cornmeal crusted tofu with red wine fig sauce, butternut squash terrine with pistachio swirl and roasted brussels sprouts. Out of this world delicious!

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For dessert: warm chocolate brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. This serving was huge! Bigger than my hand! My only criticism of this rich, creamy dessert is that it wasn’t a brownie; it was a cake. Of course neither of us complained!

It was a wonderful day. Not buying gifts for each other was a great decision and I enjoyed spending time with him rather than money on an object. I would highly recommend this small town to any New Yorker looking for a day trip, even with the winter weather pressing us. Just remember to bundle up and hold the hand of your loved one.

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Let’s see, we no longer have internet at the apartment. We took a day trip to Woodstock, NY. I flew down to Baltimore on Thursday for a conference on Friday and am back in state to work at the shop today for the Farmer’s Market. It’s been a little busy.

For the first time since signing up for Field Goods, I don’t have a photograph to share with you all. When I reminded the beau that he’d have to pick up the veggies, the first thing he said was “I’m not taking a photograph!” And I don’t blame him, he would rather dive in; and dive in he did. I know we have a small serving of mustard greens left, apples, more turnips for roasting and cider. Our favorite autumn drink: hot cider with a shot of caramel vodka. You’re welcome.

I didn’t get to sight see much while in Baltimore but I did enjoy my very short stay. There were many colleges in the area which meant there was a ton of foot traffic, interesting shops scattered along the streets and many restaurants that I would have loved to eat at and sample. I did a quick search online once I checked into my hotel for the best vegan place to eat and hands-down the response was The Land of Kush.

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Everything on the menu is vegan and the minute I saw the macaroni and cheese, I knew I needed a side sample. Once deciding on the special platter (one entree, two sides), I opted for the Kush BBQ Ribs smothered in BBQ sauce and the collard greens.

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It was all so good! The collards were a little bland, but when paired with the mac & cheese, it was the perfect bite. Now for the ribs (soy protein), I haven’t tasted BBQ like that in a looooong time! There were red peppers in the sauce and bites of potatoes; I regretted not grabbing a hunk of corn bread to lap up that sauce! I was very satisfied and let the guys behind the counter know. They were welcoming and hinted that I should drop by again after I told them that I’d have time before my flight on Friday night.

And that’s just where I returned after dropping a few new colleagues off at the train station. Hey, I was only like three blocks away… and when in Baltimore…

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This time I chose two crab cakes, more mac & cheese and the live kale salad. My little sister is obsessed with crab cakes (she will order them off of any and all menus) and let me tell you, this would have fooled her. Again, I haven’t had a crab cake in over a year now and my problem, I’m now craving them and they’re miles away! The beau and I will have to start experimenting with soy protein to try and recreate theirs.

I’m also going to try and recreate the kale salad. I could taste the lemon juice and garlic with each bite, but occasionally there was a hint of creaminess. I liked that it wasn’t all creamy and overpowering and had to ask them what it was: avocado. I would have never guessed because there wasn’t an avocado taste or green color; I’m going to try my hardest not to go overboard when I give it a go.

I love a place where the people are happy and this place was just that. I also love a place that will tell you everything that’s in what you’re eating. I believe there shouldn’t be secret ingredients for two reasons:

  1. As a consumer, I’d love to know what I’m eating. For allergy reasons. For health reasons. For ethical reasons. For the fact that it’s a right to know what I’m putting into my body as fuel.
  2. As a provider, you want to encourage your customers to eat well and have a healthy lifestyle. My favorite restaurant in Troy is not based solely on the taste of their product (which is always amazing) but because I have a relationship with the owners and chef. If I ask, they tell. They want me to eat healthy at home and go to them as a second kitchen. And I do weekend after weekend. (and if you haven’t guessed, it’s Carmen’s!)

Do you agree? Any who, I’d definitely recommend it if you are ever in that area.

Food wise I’m happy to be home again and have the option of cooking my own meals. I ate a lot of fruit salad, grilled veggies and one veggie sushi roll in the airport. I’m also happy to have someone to share my meals with; eating on the road can be lonely in a new place. Lucky for me, I have a great sense of direction and had a good book in my backpack.

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Last Saturday afternoon (now two Saturdays ago) Paula and I headed north to hike the Seward Range in the Adirondacks. As I was packing, I realized that I really needed a new bladder for my pack, so we made a little pit stop in Lake Placid. The Ragnar race was wrapping up and the streets were packed! Luckily, we found a parking spot right across the street from EMS and were in and out within twenty minutes. I really hit the jackpot with the special that they were running last week! If you spent $100, you got $25 off. So I picked out a new bladder for $35, a new pair of gaitors for $65 and an ADK Nalgene water bottle for Paula at $10. Once they subtracted the promotional $25, the $7 of EMS reward dollars I had saved, AND my 15% off, I paid $60 total = SCORE! I filled up the bladder in the bathroom sink and back on the road we went.

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We got to the trailhead at 6:30pm, signed in and headed down the horse trail. Our packs were heavy but our pace was consistent; the sun now sets around 7ish and it was darker in the woods. We didn’t know where we were going to be setting up camp but had a general idea of where we wanted to be; centrally located. Just after 7, we took a right onto the intersecting marked trails and within a couple hundred feet, I spotted a tiny cairn on my left. There were no markers, but I decided to walk down the path because even with the disappearing light, I could tell that there was a little clearing. It was a campsite! Posts for horses, a fire circle, and a stream about 100 feet away! We set up in the dark, made a little fire, enjoyed dinner and after admiring the sky full of glitter stars, were both snuggled into our tents before 8:30pm.

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After breakfast and re-organizing our packs, we were on the trail around 7:45am. We came to the intersection with the cairn marking our turnoff and started our climb for the day. The trails were very easy to follow, muddy, but easy. It was a constant up and soon after we ran into a gentleman who not only is a 46er, but also a correspondent to aspiring 46er hikers. He sped past us but we eventually caught back up to him at the cairn just below Donaldson. He told us about their clean up efforts over the past 15 years on unmarked trails and their attempts to blaze new paths. Paula and I both commented later how great it was to meet him, but felt horrible for not catching his name; hopefully he’ll be at the dinner this upcoming spring.

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Up Donaldson Mountain we went, and within ten minutes were at the summit disc. Number 37 for me!

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We continued on to Mount Emmons and after an hour from leaving the peak of Donaldson, we reached the summit. Number 38 for me!

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Time from leaving camp: 4.5 hours. We sat down in the sun to enjoy our lunches of sandwiches and fresh fruit and headed back over Donaldson to the cairn intersection where we had stopped to chat earlier in the morning. The man had suggested that after reaching Seward Mountain, that we return down this same path because it was less steep and far less muddy. Once we started down and then back up toward Seward, we ran into a couple of people who had confirmed this information. It was a steep up with plenty of rocks to climb over, but the views were amazing. We reached the summit of Seward Mountain at 2:45, seven hours after leaving camp. Number 39 for me!

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After high-fiving and taking our few photographs, back down the mountain AND back up the adjacent mountain we went. Our pace was steady and being familiar with the trail was useful; within a mile of our camp I began picking up firewood to haul back. At 6:30 we were back at our site with firewood and plenty of daylight to clean up. We both washed up in the stream, stocked up on water to purify, and I built a nice little fire. The coals were hot and kept me warm throughout dinner until about 8:30 when I decided to snuggle in.

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Once again we were on the trail around 7:30 Monday morning and decided to not take the horse trail toward Ward Brook. The marked trailed was only about four miles long and fairly easy; only a few sections of wet mud that took us a minute to avoid. We stopped at the Ward Brook Lean-to around 9:30 for a quick bathroom break; the outhouse was the cleanest we’ve seen! After a few moments back on the trail, the cairn marking our turn was on right.

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Now the trail up Seymour Mountain is unmarked and just over a mile long; the longest mile of my life. I don’t want to exaggerate, but this was probably the most difficult hike for me to date. Being afraid of heights, the slides were daunting and I clung for my life onto surrounding roots, trees and fallen debris from the hurricane. The slides were wet, muddy and not my cup of tea (steep!). It took us just over two hours to reach the summit, where we were greeted by a group of three guys from North Carolina and Virginia. They were finishing up their 46 peaks this week (it had only taken them 4 trips into the mountains) and the youngest had completed the AT a few years back. Super jealous of his vacation time! Number 40 for me!

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We both sat up on the ledge, soaking in the views while enjoying a snack before our draining hike back down the mountain. We took our time and made it back to the Ward Brook two hours later to take a bathroom break and eat our late lunch. The sky was blue and the leaves were all shades of autumn. It really was the perfect day for hiking in the Adirondacks! We didn’t stay too long because we still had four miles to walk back to camp. Once back, we quickly packed up and rearranged our bags for the last mile walk out. Just as we were approaching the trailhead, we met up with a guided group that attempted the three mountains that we had hiked the previous day; they didn’t make it to Seward.

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I’m pretty sure Paula and I were both proud of ourselves for the weekend we had just shared, and were both grateful of the weather. Here’s hoping that we have the same luck over the next three weeks; 6 more peaks to go!

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As mentioned last Friday, my mom and I drove downstate to see my little sister this past weekend. She and her boyfriend bought a condo last month or so, and I finally had one weekend free to go see it for the first time. It was cute! I’m jealous that they’re paying on a spot that they will one day own but remind myself that my day too will come.

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We decided to go back to the state park that we visited last autumn, but first stopped to pick up some delicious food at World Market for a picnic lunch. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, it was starting to drizzle. We decided to set up on a picnic table anyway, but were left running to the car when it started pouring. During this sprint, I dropped my lunch in the grass, used my hand as a mitt to scoop it all up and then plop it back into the container; I was starving and wasn’t about to waste. But when I got to the car with greasy fingers, I couldn’t get my keys out fast enough and set my noodles up on the roof. By the time I was back in the car, we were all laughing and diving into the chips and salsa. The next thing we knew, there were pecking noises coming from the roof of my car… seagulls! They were eating the stray noodles that were left up there! They were surrounding the car as if they knew we had more inside- too funny!

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It didn’t rain too hard for too long; we got out and walked along the shore for a little while before getting back on the road. Next stop: IKEA!

My mom had never been and I think we looked at every single item available in that warehouse. No joke. I knew exactly what item I wanted to buy for the apartment before making the trip, but didn’t mind browsing because this was only my second trip in a couple of years. Other than the bookshelf for our records, I got a cute magnetic/chalkboard organizer, new sheets, and chalk. All for under $100!

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It was a great weekend spent with the two of them- we probably aren’t going to have a separate autumn trip this year because I’m going to be hiking for the next four weekends, two of them being overnights. The next time that she’s up she’ll have to stop at my place because she hasn’t seen it since the beau and I moved back in April. We are finally starting to feel settled and have discussed painting in each of the rooms = a coat of fresh paint makes a big difference! (And we aren’t in love with the green and cream wallpaper)

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Reading: I’m about halfway finished with Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan and I love it. I actually started reading it back on July 4th on the train down to NYC, but because I had three other books out at the time, this one took the backseat. I’ve only hiked one mountain in New Hampshire but can relate to many of the stories because of my personal journey to become a 46er. A close friend of mine just moved closer to NH and I have high hopes of visiting her and heading out for some long hikes. Most likely not this summer but hopefully this autumn.

Watching: Now that we have the Internet, we are starting to catch up on all of our shows. Don’t cringe when I tell you this but… we are officially caught up on The Bachelorette AND got to watch the finale live at Phil’s house. Thank you Phil! Surround sound and homemade kettle corn, I’ve got the best friends in town. I’m not going to discuss the outcome because I know that a few of you out there haven’t seen it and I don’t want to spoil it. Let’s just say, it was NOT I was expecting/had hoped for. Let’s see… Breaking Bad and Mad Men both have a new season up on Netflix, I’m dying to see the last season of Sons of Anarchy and I have to check if there’s any random Modern Family episodes out there that I haven’t seen.

Loving: The last week of cooler weather was absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately for me, I pulled a muscle in my right shoulder and missed out on all those morning runs. Today was my first day back out there in a week and despite the soreness and slight pain, it felt great to be in motion once again. I was starting to feel anxiety because I couldn’t run; it really is my time to work things out in my head. I’m looking forward to attempting a super long run this Saturday and feel super accomplished once I get home to shower before working the market. I’m also loving the following: whoopie pies, a freshly swept and mopped apartment, buffalo chickpea dip for dinner, MGMT radio on Pandora and kitty kitty cocoa puff when he’s trying to apologize for shitting on the curtains. Yes, that happened this week. Twice.

Wondering: If I can paint our kitchen? Our landlord has already approved us painting the bedroom and living room walls white, but I’d love to have a chalkboard wall in the kitchen. Oh! And have you checked out Vegan Cuts lately? You may see some familiar faces and deals featured on their website.

Looking forward to: Next weekend when I head to Massachusetts to visit Lindsey! I haven’t been out to visit her since my 25th birthday and she recently moved- I can’t wait to check out her new digs! She’s going to run my long run with me (ten miles) which I’m psyched about because each week I set out to do them alone. It gets lonely out there sometimes and the change of scenery will hopefully make the miles fly by. I can’t wait to have her all to myself and catch up like the good ol’ days.

Thinking about: A family that I know that was impacted greatly by a fire earlier this week. As you may have heard, Augie’s Family Style Italian Restaurant burnt to the ground on Monday. As you may not have known, the owners- the Vitiello family- were the people that I worked for for six years, taking care of their four kiddos. I have many great memories in their restaurant and personally know many of the awesome staff members. Augie has set up a fundraiser for his staff, so that he can continue to pay/support them during the rebuilding process. If you have any extra cash and would like to donate, visit the webpage here. He’s offering different valued coupons should you choose to donate at those levels ($25, $100, $250). It says a lot when the community has already donated more than $10k in just four days; thank you ahead of time if you choose to support, even if it is just ten bucks.

Eating: The beau and I were on an Indian kick but that all changed when I got a hankering for buffalo chicken dip. His solution: buffalo chickpea dip! So, so good! Besides a couple random dinners, we had stir-fry, summer salads, plenty of green shakes and even some apples dipped in cookie butter. I know I’m saying this a little prematurely, but I seriously cannot wait until autumn! It’s my favorite season and I can’t wait to go apple picking because these leftovers from last year are tart! I can wait and will enjoy every summer vegetable as much as I possible can.

Planning: my workouts for the next month to ensure myself that I’ll be prepared for next month’s race. It’s been over a year since I’ve last raced and I don’t want to get anxious and feel unprepared. I’m still setting a pretty high goal for myself and with having to skip two long runs so far this month, the goal right now seems out of reach. I’ve got some hard work ahead of me but I’m willing to give it a shot!

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I’ve been wanting to hit the trails solo for about a month or two but to be completely honest, I had a fear of something happening to me while out there. But with the gorgeous weather last week and an urgency to take one last vacation day (I can’t take time off in August) I just had to make it happen. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro, but I felt confident enough that the 25 previous hikes/peaks gave me enough experience to give it a go.

The next step of planning which peak(s) to climb had me going back and forth between two options: hike a 15-20 mile day and bank one or possibly two peaks, or hike a thirteen mile day and bank four? Of course the second option seemed more appealing however I must add, that those four peaks were going to be on unmarked trails = added chance of becoming lost in the woods. The beau thought I was out of my mind for even considering it.

So, I spent a lot of time researching the unmarked trails and came to the conclusion that I could do it! Hey, I thought if the new National Geographic ADK map shows these unmarked trails, they must be there and easy enough to follow. My back up plan would be to follow the marked trails all the way out to Dix Mountain and I’d at least get one peak and those 15-20 miles.

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The night before I wrote out an itinerary for the beau, packed my bag, and prepared all of my meals for the hike. I brought more than I typically do, but wanted to play it safe by bringing extra food and a warmer shirt, hat and extra pair of socks regardless of the weather report. I laid everything out so that it would be a simple morning and I wouldn’t wake the beau shuffling around; I was on the road by 3:30am Tuesday.

You can access the Dix Mountain Range from Elk Lake Road by taking exit 29 off the Northway (87). It’s an easy trip and I loved seeing signs of the rising sun as I made my way to the trailhead parking. I was shocked to seeing the 8 or 9 cars in the lot, and after checking in, I realized that they had all been there from the previous day; most of the people/groups were making a two or three-day trip out of what I was about to complete in one day. I was walking into the woods at 5:42am.

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I knew from reading that I was looking for a cairn after 2 miles that would signal me to take a right up toward Macomb Mountain. This was a hike that Paula and I had attempted this past spring but with the snow, completely missed our turnoff. On this brisk summer morning, it was easy to spot.

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I was shocked by how easy it was to follow the herd paths and was making great time. Within an hour I could see where I was headed and the rocky slide that I’d have to scramble up. Let me note: when hiking alone, every little sound is loud. And when a deer JUMPS across your path just ten feet in front of you, it scares the crap out of you! Your senses are definitely heightened when you have no one to talk to or listen to. This was right about the time when I took a wrong turn; but I didn’t know it until I had hiked for fifteen minutes or so in the wrong direction. I was following hikers previous to me, but still, my intuition told me it wasn’t right; by then I should have already been climbing the slide. So, I turned around and retraced my footsteps and easily found where I had gone wrong. Up the slide I went!

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The slide takes you up and back into the trees (and gives you great views of Elk Lake!) and you have another half hour or so until you reach the summit. This side of the mountain was still dark because the sun was rising on the other side and I must say, it kept me cool while doing all that climbing. I summited at 8:18am and the views were already breathtaking.

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I stayed only a few moments to take a couple of photographs and turn on my phone to try to ease the beau’s mind that I was doing it… this was when a flood of messages came through from the night before… one of my good friends was engaged! A view and good news?! I couldn’t take it; I then continued on to South Dix. Again, the trail was easy to follow and because it’s about 400 feet lower than Macomb, the down had me gaining distance quickly. I reached this tree covered summit at 9am and stopped briefly to have a snack of fresh mango slices and a handful of cashews.

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My spirits were high at this point because I was already half-way done with my planned day very early on. I had put in my itinerary that I *may* attempt to complete the entire range if I felt great and it had crossed my mind, but I didn’t want to commit to anything until I reached the fourth peak. I set off to reach East Dix, which was only a mile from the summit of South. I summited at 9:47am.

The views!!! I could now get a clear look at the entire East side of this mountain range and I was smiling ear to ear. At this point in the hike I really wished that I had someone to share these views with; the skies were blue, the temperatures were low and the bugs were nonexistent. I hiked back to South Dix and was on my way to Hough Peak.

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Now this leg of the trip was difficult for me mentally. This was a much higher climb than the previous two and was technically my fifth up for the day. I was also approaching my sixth hour on the trail and I was starting to get hungry for lunch. At one point I kept telling myself, okay, another half mile and if the peak isn’t there, I’ll stop and eat. It was steep and I had to stop and catch my breath a couple of times but I had pushed myself up and reached Hough Peak, my fourth summit of the day at 11:18am. You better believe that I plopped myself down and enjoyed the views (and a sandwich).

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Probably five minutes after arriving, a group of three came up and joined me; they were the first people I had seen or heard all day. It was a gal my age and her parents who had come up the Lillian Brook trail to hike Hough, her 36th peak, and were then planning on hiking over Dix out to Route 73. They seemed super impressed by my time and distance so far, and encouraged me big time to hike over to Dix to finish the range. They even offered to let me join them if I was looking for company. I kindly declined but insured them that they’d probably see me again on the connecting trail to Dix because I was growing tired and slowing.

That 10-15 minute break was just what my body needed to recharge; the climb to Dix was steep but I powered thru! All until I came to this MASSIVE boulder and realized that the only way up to the summit was over. I stood there. Almost began to cry and then decided that I should give it a try before crying. So there I stood, in the middle of this boulder, about five feet up off the ground, with my foot stuck in a crack and not being able to move. This was a good enough spot to cry but instead, I stood there for a good three minutes, trying to calm myself down and think of a new plan. I secretly hoped that those people behind me would show up and offer a hand, but I was too far ahead to hear any chatter. I was on my own.

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I don’t know how I did it, but I dislodged my foot and shimmied my way up the boulder. It still blows my mind that my hands  gripped that rock that hard, which explains why the day later I didn’t have a single fingerprint left. The marked trail came up from my left and within a few hundred feet, I was on the summit of Dix Mountain! It was 12:52pm and I joined at least ten other people who were taking a much needed break. There was a group of boys from a camp that were out for a three day trip and I shared some of my most recent stories with them. There was a family of three that were about to head down the marked trail and suggested that I take the shorter route for the most direct route out of the mountains.

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Little did I know, that this trail was steep! The two miles coming down off of Dix was slow and very calculated because I didn’t want my jello legs to give out and cause me to get hurt. Once I reached the connecting trail that would take me back to my car, I had about four miles of the toughest part of the day: convincing yourself not to stop. By this time, my legs were achy and tired and the patches of fluffy grass that appeared every so often looked like the perfect spot for a nap. But I kept going, slowly but surely, and reached my car at 4:30pm just ahead of the family of three that I had met a few hours earlier.

I was more proud than exhausted and couldn’t wait to get home to tell the beau what I had done and seen. The views on top of Dix Mountain were by far the best I have seen to date in the Adirondacks; a 360 view of New York and Vermont. And if you’re keeping count, I’m officially at 30 High Peaks (out of 46)!

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Tuesday the beau and I headed south to Philly for a conference I was scheduled to attend on Wednesday. After settling in at the hotel, we drove downtown (during rush hour nonetheless) and found the best place to eat: HipCityVeg! Everything on the menu is plant based (vegan), sourced locally, delivered on bike, and all of their packaging is compostable. It’s a small location with just a few seats to enjoy inside but we didn’t mind; there was a great park just at the end of the block.

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Everything on the menu looked delicious! I decided on the Crispy HipCity Ranch mostly because I haven’t tasted anything that resembles ranch dressing in seven months and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. The beau got the Buffalo Bella, a crispy portobella tossed in buffalo sauce with a celery slaw and tomato. We of course ordered sides of sweet potato fries and I snagged a Groothie (a green smoothie) for my Wednesday morning breakfy. ANNNNNNNNND we got The Five Dollar Chocolate Shake that BLEW our minds! It was by far the best shake I’ve ever had.

We didn’t stay downtown too late because a) the All-Star game was on and b) I knew I had an early morning coming. All I can say is this: corner stores in Philly do not sell alcohol, I repeat, do not sell alcohol. All we wanted was a cold beer or two while watching the game!

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Moving on, Wednesday I attended the conference all day at St. Joseph’s University (super pretty campus) while the beau went to a Japanese house and garden to read and relax.

And once I was finished learning for the day, we drove downtown to meet a friend of mine from undergrad. Funny story: I accidentally entered her address in the GPS incorrectly and ended up in the ghetto of all ghettos. I have never felt that unsafe in a vehicle. We quickly called her and was reassured that she indeed, did not live in the ghetto. Within five minutes we found her, were exchanging hugs and drinking a beer at the Memphis Taproom. Steph is a friend I appreciate: we aren’t close but have enough in common to keep good conversation. She is a good listener, is up for anything and has a positive attitude. I can’t wait to go visit her in Boston soon when I go to visit Lindsey.

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She took us downtown to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (and yes, this is where both the Declaration and Constitution were signed). The brownstones that line the streets are gorgeous! You can see the history oozing from this city; we loved it. We then took Steph over to HipCityVeg for dinner because I realized that when in Philly, I should eat a “cheesesteak.” Philly Steak it was with mushrooms and onions and she tried the tofu curry over a salad. Oh, and more milkshakes! Her mind was blown too.

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After a *quick* shopping spree at lululemon, we were off to see the Art Museum and Rocky statue. Let me tell you, it was HOT in Philly. I didn’t run either day because of the heat and thick humidity. But this didn’t stop the runners and athletes native to this city; they were hauling it on the paths as we were casually walking up. It was fun to see everyone running up the steps; there were a couple of bootcamps too! I didn’t plan ahead with the choice of Birkenstocks but did snag my typical tourist photographs.

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I can’t explain the awkward hand on my hip but want to say thanks to Stephanie for the best mini tour of the city! It was a great quick road trip and I can’t wait to spend a longer period of time in this city. Until next time, Philadelphia!

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