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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

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To say that I’m starting to get anxious about what’s to come over the next week, would be an understatement. I always look forward to returning to the mountains but with being this close to reaching my goal, the excitement is building.

Physically Paula and I will be hiking 45-50 miles this weekend. We are leaving Saturday afternoon and won’t be back until late Tuesday night. We are hiking the three mountains we had originally set out to do PLUS the two that we missed last weekend because of the rain. This will be the most consecutive days that I’ve hiked and although I know my legs will grow tired with each day passing and my feet will ache after each mile, I’ll continue to move forward. Sometimes when my head convinces my body that it’s exhausted, I start to slow a little. But then I realize that exhausted doesn’t mean finished and that I’ve got to give it all I’ve got until I see camp or the car. I don’t know if Paula appreciates these sudden bursts of energy but I know that we are both physically capable of reaching the five peaks that are calling our names. And loudly at that.

Emotionally I’m going to be “crossing the finish line.” Although there is no time limit for completing the Adirondack 46, this is a goal I’ll be finishing after working on for over a good year now. I’ve reached summits in the past with tears welling up in my eyes, I can only imagine what it’s going to feel like knowing that this bucket list item will be complete. My emotions have changed a lot over this past year toward the mountains- only for the better. There were days that I was on top of the world, doubting myself, and also feeling guilty for taking so much time to dedicate toward myself (and not spending the weekends with the beau or family). But that time spent in the woods only made me a better person for my return.

I know that the date is still up in the air because of the weather, but I am a little sad knowing that the beau most likely won’t be there in the parking lot to see my return. I’m sad that he or any of my family members won’t be able to see my face on the summit and help me celebrate. It’s not like a marathon where family members can cheer you on during that last .2 miles of the race. Emotionally I have to be proud of myself and not rely on others to tell me how proud they are of me. Buuuuut they better be ready for high-fives all around when I see them next.

Mentally I’m telling myself that this weekend and following trip is going to be amazing. That my body is strong and any doubt that may arise is due to fear. I’ve been afraid many times in the Adirondacks (not a big fan of heights) but remind myself that I should do one thing a day that scares me. Oh, and do it safely.

That’s me in a nutshell these past couple of days! I’ve got a long night of laundry and list making tonight, and a longer night of shopping for last minute food items and packing tomorrow night after work. My feelings are mixed, almost like I’m preparing for a marathon but also in the middle of the race with a few miles to go. Does that make sense? I hope so!

Are any of you preparing for a big race? Or maybe crossing off a Bucket List item like I am?

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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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It’s been a while since I’ve been this productive on a weekend. I work for at least six hours on Saturday at the store during the Farmer’s Market and either have plans for the evening or pass out early because Sundays are typically spent hiking. But with the rain this weekend, I was stuck in Troy… in a very messy apartment.

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I slept in, we had a wonderful brunch at our usual Sunday spot after yoga (the beau’s class- I stayed in bed) and then he had to go into work to get a head start on this week’s work. I was bound and determined to make our apartment sparkle! When we both come home at the end of a long day, neither of us wants to clean; so we don’t. And with commitments on the weekends, cleaning takes the back seat then too.

So for almost five hours this afternoon I swept, mopped, scrubbed, washed dishes for what seemed like an eternity, dusted and organized. I think I only saw three mosquitos, possibly only two, and killed one in my closet. I added a little pour of my natural bug spray (made up of essential oils) to the mop bucket and sprays; I wanted to repel those pesky insects! I poured bleach down drains and made sure to check all indoor plants of stagnant water- we are in the clear! I think we just have to wait for the few remaining mosquitos to die! (insert evil cackle)

For the remainder of the afternoon I cooked up two meals: one for dinner tonight and the other for tomorrow. I still have a list of organizational stuff that I’d like to accomplish this week and having a clean apartment helps me focus. Having a meal pre-prepared really gives me a boost because then I don’t have to spend time in the kitchen cooking/cleaning up. Both meals came out delicious so I figured I’d share. You’re welcome.

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Hearty Mushroom Farro Serves two very hungry adults

  • 16 oz of your favorite mushrooms, sliced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked farro
  • 1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 1-3 garlic cloves, diced
  • salt & pepper, onion powder, no-chicken bouillon cube to taste
  • fresh thyme
  • EVOO
  • crispy onions, optional

Boil water and cook farro according to package directions. Drain and set aside until mushrooms are done. (We love Trader’s Joe’s fast-cooking farro; it’s done within 10-12 minutes!)

In a pot, add EVOO and the mushrooms and garlic. Cook over medium heat until tender and reduced significantly in size. Add a dash (tablespoon or so) of balsamic vinegar, the fresh thyme and the rest of your seasonings and stir until coated. You can add in the no-chicken bouillon at this point too if you aren’t using stock for more flavor. Add in the liquid and bring to a boil. Cook for about ten minutes. I used our hand blended to slightly chop up the mushrooms at this point, but didn’t liquify it. Stir in the farro and top each bowlful with some crunchy onions. Enjoy!

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I also baked up the chioggia beets from this week’s share by simply tossing them in EVOO, a little dash of balsamic vinegar, S&P and topped them with raw walnuts and fresh thyme.

lentil tomato soup

Tomato Lentil Soup Serves 2-3 adults

  • 3/4 cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups water or vegetable stock
  • shallot, diced
  • 2 big parsnips, diced
  • EVOO
  • paprika, salt & pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, bay leaves
  • ketchup or tomato paste

In a pot, add the EVOO, shallot and parsnips and cook over medium heat until the parsnips are tender. You could also use carrots- I just had parsnips on hand from last week’s delivery.

Add the lentils, bay leaves and liquid and cover until the lentils are almost cooked to perfection. At this point you could add a no-chicken bouillon for more flavor, I did not. Once almost done, add in the tomatoes (canned could work too if you don’t have fresh) and ketchup or tomato paste. I added about two tablespoons of ketchup. Mix in your other seasonings to taste (I like it with a little kick!) and cover to simmer for about another ten minutes. I used a hand blender on this dish as well (the beau doesn’t like chunky tomatoes) and serve hot, maybe with a chunk of bread and simple salad.

*I personally like thick soups- simply add more liquid if you like it a little thinner. The picture really doesn’t give it justice- the flavors are fresh and fantastic!

It feels great to have a clean apartment and to have clean meals prepared or lined up for the coming week. Do you practice better habits if your home is neat and tidy?

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eat fresh

In this week’s bag:

  • savoy cabbage
  • broccoli rabe
  • chiogga beets
  • mesclun
  • roma tomatoes
  • parsnips
  • honey crisp apples
  • ground cherries

Here’s the post where I confess I am craving a lot of non-vegan food! For example, last night I *almost* had the beau drive me all the way to Hudson for Mexican (Mexican Radio). The plus side of that place however is that they have many vegan options… but I wanted cheese, so we didn’t go. Instead the beau whipped up our favorite “cheese” sauce made of cashews and veggies and we had loaded nachos! Refried beans, salsa and avocado were the toppings of choice.

But my cravings don’t end there, nope. Pre-vegan I HATED candy corn. This year, I think because I can’t have it, I want to grab a handful each time I pass the candy bowl at work. Or just one kernel would do. I know I would HATE it just as much as last year, so I’ve been bringing a sweet option for me to snack on at work in the afternoon (fresh fruit).

I must also note that my office is right next door to the break room with the microwave. So when someone heats up chicken cacciatore at ten o’clock in the morning, I want it. ASAP. I don’t know what it is lately, but I think it’s a sign that I need to spend more time in my kitchen and less eating out. Which is exactly my goal for the month of October: no eating out during the entire month. Not only is it going to save me some cash, but it’ll also save my waistline. Four days down, twenty-seven to go!

On to this week’s delivery: the ground cherries are already almost completely gone; they were a delicious afternoon snack today. As was an apple this morning. These beets are my favorite (because of the pink and white swirl when you slice them) and will most likely boil them and toss ’em in vinegar. The only other real plans I have are for the parsnips- because they have such a strong flavor, I’m going to toss them in a little EVOO and balsamic vinegar and bake them. The beau makes a killer tomato sauce, so that might be what happens to this week’s delivery of  tomatoes.

We are both extremely busy this weekend between work, traveling and hiking. As of right now, Sunday is off for hiking because of the rain forecast but only time will tell. I honestly am looking for a day off to clean– I must have hit my head along the way, right? Hope you all have a productive weekend and reach all the goals you set for yourself!

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Today I leave to hike the entire Seward Range in the Adirondack Mountains.

Here’s to spending the next two nights in a tent and the views from four mountaintops. I can’t wait to see my breath in the crisp autumn air, the changing colors of the Northeastern trees and the look on the beau’s face when I return home.

Have a happy and healthy weekend, my friends! Hope you too are enjoying this new season and all of the activities that are associated with it. I personally can’t wait to choose my pumpkin!

*The photograph was taken from the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Facebook page.

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pumpkin beer!

one: Sometimes when I’m bored at work or need a little pick-me-up after a rough phone call, I eat a spoonful of cookie butter. Or three spoonfuls. I can’t help it! I don’t know what it is about this crisp weather; I go months without touching that glass jar of deliciousness sugar and then bam! Gotta have it!

two: Lunch dates and pumpkin ales with dashes of cinnamon are also at the top of my favorites list this time of the year.

three: I’ve been listening to far too much Tom Hagerman on Spotify these days. It reminds me of this little tiny toy piano my sister had as a kid and also of being in Paris… some place I’ve actually never been but can only imagine; I would want his music playing in my head as I stroll the streets eating yummy (vegan) French food! We all have dreams, right? Its just music that makes me smile and not sit still.

four: I’ve caught the running bug. And am scouring the Internet for a race this autumn. Buuuuuuut it’s tricky with every weekend already booked up with hiking and traveling. An impromptu half marathon may or may not happen within the next thirty days. No more skipping my morning runs!

five: Despite all of the awesome shows on television these days (i.e. Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men), I’ve been loving re-runs of… Antiques Roadshow. I can’t be the only one out there that loves watching other people bring their treasures (and junk) in for appraisal.

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