Monday, July 31, 2006

Log Bay Day 2006

Well, this is the first time I've been able to go to Log Bay Day in about 5-6 years.  Unfortunately I couldn't stay all day and drink because I had to cover a shift at the bar tonight.  I did manage to head to Log Bay for about 4 hours this afternoon before work though.
    I met my parents for a quick lunch then headed with my truck down Shelving Rock Road towards Napa State (where everyone camps).  I immediately came to several cop stops with Forest Rangers Log_bay_day_73106_001
and State Troopers checking cars for booze and inspection stickers..  Today happened to be the last day my inspection sticker was still valid and they pointed it out at every stop.  I was advised not to drive all the way down to the lake because the parking lots were already full which was fine with me because I had brought my bike anyway.   I was able to park at the Shelving Rock Mountain Trailhead then ride the half mile down the trail to the lake where I locked my bike to a pine tree.
    The Bay was absolutely packed.  I put my bag over my head and walked out through the water toLog_bay_day_73106_030 find Kenny and the boat he had rented for a few days.  I immediately found him and Log_bay_day_73106_008he was burned...
I mean like a tomato and happily drunk as hell.  (The girl behind kenny in the photo laying down on the back of the boat is completely passed out drunk... haha)  I chatted with him for a while, grabbed a beer and my camera, then proceeded to walk across the entire bay filming what I saw and hoping to meet more people I
knew.  On my trip across I saw people playing volleyball, beer pong on what looked likeLog_bay_day_73106_021
floatingLog_bay_day_73106_032 doors, a "girls gone wild" boat, a large cruiser with a camera crew interviewing girls who occasionally would flash the camera, a blow up doll, many
funny looking hats, tons of floating beer coolers, and many many many burned bodies...   I got it all on video which you can see HERE.  I finally made it across the bay to Dave Longs Boat.  I bumped into sooo many people I knew - Byers, Longer,Log_bay_day_73106_012 Howland, Kerri, Merrigan, the Speck brothers, the Mondellas, and many Log_bay_day_73106_010many
more.  It was a perfectly blue sky day and everyone was having a blast.  Police
were everywhere in the woods and even on jetskis in the bay keeping an eye on everything.  I spent the afternoon relaxing on Dave and Kenny's boats catching up with people that I may not see before I move to Oregon.  I even caught up with Laura Tyrer (My ex, Kim Tyrer's little sister) and  Kim's best friend  Amanda who is getting married soon.  Apparently, Amanda always refers to me as "the one that got away" when she talks to Kim, and I oddly enough often say the same thing about Kim but now she is married with a cute baby boy named Ethan.  Laura's sister is doing well and we reminisced about old times.  She has been hanging out with my boy Jonny Howland.. so I'll have to keep an eye on that :)
    At around 4pm I took off on my bike home to pick up some clothes I had started at my parents.  On the way out I got stopped a couple more times and saw girls on the side of the road being forced to pour out their alcahol.  I ended up working at the bar for only about 3 hours to help out.  It was too bad I couldn't stay at Log Bay Day all day but I didn't have the money for beer and it was nice to make some cash behind the bar on my first night shift.  I'm going to miss days like Log Bay Day when I'm in Oregon....


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Wakeboard Sesh

Well, because Jonny Hughes is moving to Boston on August 3rd today was the last wakeboarding session of the year.  Emily and I got up around 10:30 am and headed up to Jon's camp.  Jonny 7_29_2006_3_13_pm_0001
showed up about 15 minutes after we got there with a couple tannks of gas and ready to go.  We took a bunch of spins out on the lake and when Jacquelin arrivedCimg5037
we made a lunch run to Martha's (they had banana ice cream... my favorite :).  It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and I definitely got burned a little bit.  Emily, on only her 2nd day on a board, can cross both wakes and can carve pretty well also... pretty fast learner!  Jon's cousin Pat and his bro showed up while we were at Martha's and managed to snap off one of the flexible polymer poles that dock the boat next to the dock.  Thankfully Jonny was able to find a couple more in the shed so we could continue with the day.  I actually landed 2 of my misty flips but couldn't hold onto the rope after... that trick is the bain of my existance!
    At around 6pm Emily and I headed up to Lake George to see my best bro Matt Jones and his wife Sarah.  After a quick trampoline sesh for old times we went down to Smokey Joe's (old Lemon Peel) for some bbq ribs for dinner.  I finished a whole rack by myself.. don't know how because they are enormous.  After dinner we headed up to Carefree Lane for a longboard ride down the twisty road.  Emily got in my truck and basically rode the brake down the hill behind us as we whipped down on our boards.  I haven't done that road in over a year and I got going pretty damn fast but was able to hold the speed wobbles at bay.
    Emily and I then headed back to Toga for the night and some drinkin' on Caroline Street which was pretty uneventful.  It was great to get one last day of wakeboarding in under the sun and it was nice to finally hang out with Matt again.  Hopefully I'll get to see him again before I head to Oregon.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Finally Done... After 11 Long Years

    Well, yesterday I finished my goal of climbing all the mountains in the Northeast above 4,000 feet.  There are four prominent climbing clubs in the Northeast - The Adirondack 46ers (All mtns. above 4,000 feet in NY), The AMC -Adirondack Mountain Club- 4,000-Footer of the White Mountains (All mtns. above 4,000 feet in NH), the New England 4,000-Footer (All mtns. above 4,000 feet in Vt, ME, NH) and the club with the biggest list, the Northeast 111ers (All the mtns above 4,000 feet in Ne_111er
the entire Northeast).  The Northeast 111ers actually includes 115 mountains.  The extra ones were included in the list later due to more accurate geological surveys showing that 4 more mountains actually stood above 4,000 feet.  In NY the 46er club started over 85 years ago and at that time 46 peaks were considered over 4,000 feet but in the most recent survey there are only 42 of the original mountains above the magic 4,000 foot number.  Because the club originally started with 46 it was decided that the other 4, now slightly under 4,000, still had to be climbed to become a member of the club.  The NE 111er club combines the NY 46 + The NY Catskills 2 + the NH 48 + the VT 5 + the ME 14 = 115 mountains (look at the picture for the official breakdown of mountains).  In the most recent survey in NY they found that MacNaughton (not on the original 46er list was actually exactly 4,000 feet.  MacNaughton isn't on any of the official lists and I have not climbed it yet but I plan to in August just for my own peace of mind.  As of Christmas 2005 there were 5,750 registered 46ers, and as of April 2005 there were 8,000 White Mountain 4000-Footer members, and 2,000 New England 4,000-Footer members.  As of March 2002 there were only 400 that had completed all the Northeast 115 to be a member of the NE 111er club.  To give perspective 2,500 people have now successfully climbed Everest..., over 5 times more than have climbed the Northeast 115. 
    Here are some stats for my climbs.     Since my first climb up Cascade Mountain on August 7th, 1995 it has taken me 10 years, 11 months and 20 days to complete all the mountains.  10 of my first Mountains_per_year
ascents were in Winter although I've done many of them again in the winter after initially climbing them in the summer.  I climbed 36 (31%) of them by solo.  It took me 68 trips to climb them all.  It took me 761.6 miles of climbing (one third Scan0168
the length of the Appalachian Trail), 472.25 hours (19.7 days) of climbing time, and I climbed over 184,000 feet.  That final number is low because it doesn't include the elevation changes of going up and down over hills andScan0169 ridges... it's just the elevation change from where I started to the highest point on that hike.  In reality I would guess I had climbed nearly 200,000 feet.  That's nearly 7 times the
height of Everest.  None of these figures Scan0170
encompass that time it has taken me to map out my routes, pack, and plan these hikes nor do they reveal the travel time it took to get to the trailheads for the hikes.  I have lived atleast an hour and half to two hours from the mountains I have climbed which often meant I spent more time driving to the mountains than actually climbing them!  This spring for instance the average driving time to NH and back for me was 7 hours and when I climbed Katahdin the trip was 16 hours of driving round trip.   I have spent thousands of dollars on hiking equipment throughout the years.  I've worn through 3 pairs of leather boots, 2 backpacks, and one pair of Leki hiking poles.  The cost of gas to get to the mountains I needed was ridiculous this past spring.  I climbed 24 peaks this spring and with gas, food, and accomodations each mountain on average cost me ~$40 (40 x 26 = $1,000 for just this spring).  I'd say that in total with gas, equipment costs, the two Pathfinder Camps I went to in 95' and 96', the motels I stayed in, and the food I spent for breakfasts, lunches and dinners afterwards it has cost me nearly $8,000 to $10,000 to climb all the 115.

    I have encountered bears, pine martens, racoons, many moose, partridges, wild turkeys, beavers, deer, snapping turtles, and many varieties of birds including owls, eagles, ospreys, and hawks.  I've waded through dangerously swollen rivers, scaled steep sections of rock, busted trail through 3 feet of fresh powder, and have dragged myself out of the woods bleeding and sore on many occasions.  I've had several close calls in the woods - Nearly laying down once from exhaustion in 10 degree weather deep in the Whites of NH, twisting my ankle miles from the trail in ME in deep snow, shivering, near hypothermia, from being soaked in 40 degree weather in NH, and being lost in a fog and freezing rain in northern NH.  I've climbed the ski trails of many ski resorts to the bewildered looks of skiers coming down and a few calls of "way to earn your turns buddy" from skiers before heading back down the same slopes from the summit on my skis. 

    I've had many great experiences and have learned a lot and acquired a lot of new skills from my travels.  I have developed exceptional balance and amazing foot placement while hiking (I don't trip or misplace a foot ever).  I have a great sense of direction - drop me anywhere in the northeast and I could find my way to the nearest road without a map or compass.  I can follow a trail through the woods that is nearly invisible to see.   Most importantly I've learned when to call it a day and turn around.  I've only had to turn around on about 5 of the mountains on my first ascents.  During these times I was either lost, the weather conditions were horrendous, daylight was running out, or I felt it was unsafe to take my hiking companions any further.  It took me 3 tries to finally summit Mt. Tripyramid in NH.  The first time the girl I was hiking with was exhausted while the 2nd time was in winter and the trail was unbroken and it was late in the day.  It is better to live to hike another day.   This is a very important virtue to have while mountaineering.  90% of the deaths on Everest are caused by people not knowing when it is time to turn around... people that care about reaching the summit more than they care about their own welfare.  Knowing when to turn around gives me confidence for my future mountaineering goals of climbing out west and eventually summiting Everest and the 7 summits of each continent. 

    Finally, I'd like to thank everyone who has supported and climbed with me throughout the past 10 years of my life.  Matt Jones finished his 46 NY peaks with me in highschool and has climbed with meArmstrong_upper_wolfjaw_hike_03
around the US and the Northeast.  My first experience in the high peaks of NY was with a Baptist Camp named Pathfinder and the pastor/leader of that trip played a big role in my initial interest in mountaineering - I believe his name was Joe (I'll have to look it up).  I met Neal Andrews a year after I began climbing in NY and he taught me much of what I know about hiking today when I was still in Highschool.  He was my mentor and is my friend.  We have traveled out west together and as I finish my Northeast 111 he is also at the same time finishing his 50 highpoints of the U.S.  I thank all the people that I've climbed with for the companionship in the often very quiet and remote woods of the Northeast.  Finally, I owe my parents a ton for the support they have given me throughout the years.  Without their support I could not have finished this very long goal.  I continually broke the cardinal rule of hiking (NEVER HIKE ALONE) which I'm sure made them very nervous but they dealt with it well.  I would also like to thank the wonderful hiking clubs of the Northeast.  The ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club), and the AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club).  These clubs are made up of members who pay annual duesNorth_south_brother_6506_012 that help to support trail maintenance throughout the Northeast.  It takes many volunteers to clear the trails of blowdown each spring after the harsh winters and to cut new trails through the woods, or to repair overused trail networks.  Every tourist and hiker to the Northeast owes these people a
lot of gratitude because it is very tiring work.  Finally, check out the last two pictures... the first is from the first year I started climbing the High Peaks of NY and the last is from this spring as I was wrapping up my final mountains on the list.  :)

    Well, that about sums up everything.  My first personal goal in life was to finish the NY 46 which I did on my 18th birthday and now on my 27th birthday I've finished this goal.  I feel like I'm ready to tackle the Western U.S. now and set new goals for out there such as possibly summiting all the Volcanoes in the lower 48 (just under 70 of them).  I'm already working on my 50 state highpoints and have done 16 of (including the hard states of CA, CO, ID, UT, SD, etc).  I'm also considering biking across the U.S. next summer from Oregon or Washington to Maine.  My biggest goal of course is to summit each of the 7 summits (highest point on each continent) including Everest before I'm 50.  I keep detailed logs of all my adventures and possibly when I'm too weak to climb, ski, bike, or boat anymore I may write a book.  :)  For all those who are still awake after reading all this... thanks for the interest :)


For more info on the Adirondack 46 click this link
For more info on the AMC Clubs and the Northeast 111ers click this link
For a great article on the 111ers click this link



Saturday, July 22, 2006

Mount Washington #115

Well, on Saturday I finished the Northeast 115 on top of Mount Washington with Emily.  We drove up Friday night with my Aunt Sue and my mom to the Schoolhouse Motel in North Conway for the night.  We got up early at around 8am and had breakfast at the Blueberry Muffin restaurant before heading to the trailhead.  On the way I stopped at EMS for a map of the Mount Washington area and was told by the guy at the counter that there was only a 20% chance of rain for the day which sounded fine with me.

We started hiking around 10:30am under cloudy skies through the forest.  This was literally Emily's first time climbing a mountain ever.  She had driven to the top of Mount Washington when she was a kid with her grandpa who used to be a race car driver (what an experience that must have been going that fast up the Mount Washington Highway with no guard rails!).   I Eisenhower_monroe_washington_72206_004
slowed my usual pace down but just a little because she was keeping up with my easily.  I knew that she would be a strong climber because of her athletic soccer background.  The entire time climbing we could hear the cog railway train blowing it's horn up the side of Mount Washington.  I kept telling Emily she would like it more once we got above treeline and when we hit the ridge and could see the alpine terrain and Mount Washington I was right... she was blown away by it.  She said it reminded her of the hills of Ireland.  It was about 10 to 20 degrees colder on the ridge due to the wind so I I had Emily stay in a col out of the wind and put on her jacket while I literally ran up Mt. Eisenhower to take a quick picture of myself on the clouded-in summit. 

    Clouds were beginning to really build over Mount Washington so we continued on over Mt. Franklin to the summit of Mt. Monroe which was completely immersed in the clouds.  We had some great views of the slopes of Washington and could even see the train climbing the cog railway billowing smoke the entire way (see pic above).  There were some steep drops to theEisenhower_monroe_washington_72206_011
east side of the ridge and we could literally watch the clouds blow into the valley below and then blast up the steep walls of the ridge to where we were.  Check out a video from the ridge HERE.  If you stood on the edge the wind was 45-50mph gusts but when you stepped back from the edge of the ridge you could barely feel anything.  The soaked clouds rushed up so fast that they condensed into rain droplets which fell on us in a light drizzle.  I knew that there was an AMC hut and the Lake of the Clouds between Monroe and Washington but I didn't tell Emily because I wanted to suprise her.  I felt really bad Eisenhower_monroe_washington_72206_023
that we didn't have he views I had hoped so much for but she seemed to really be enjoying herself walking over the ridge.  In a way, it was actually nice because we would have been dying from heat if it was sunny and 95 degrees instead.  When we descended Monroe and finally broke out from under the layer of clouds we could see the beautiful lake and alpine AMC hut.  Emily was really impressed by it the views. 

We chilled inside the hut for a little bit and ate some snacks before heading up the slopes of Mount Washington to meet my mom and aunt at 3:30.  As soon as we left the hut and climbed around the Lake it began to rain... I mean really rain...  like standing under a shower head.  ItEisenhower_monroe_washington_72206_034
was a warm rain and we only had about a mile to go hiking and 1,000 feet of climbing but it still sucked..  By the time we got to the summit we were both completely soaked from head to toe and the wind was so strong that the rain drops felt like darts hiting our eyes.  We were lucky to have worn baseball caps so that we could deflect most of them.  We were also lucky to have my GPS again because without it we may not have been able to navigate safely in the clouds above treeline.  On the final feet of the ascent we could smell the smoke of the cog railway even though we couldn't see more than 20 feet in any direction.

When we got to the summit we took a few quick pictures before heading into the summit restaurant for some hot chili and to wait for my mom.  Half an hour after we got there she wandered in a little wet with her umbrella in hand happy to see that we were both safe. Eisenhower_monroe_washington_72206_038
Apparently my aunt was near coma in fright from the foggy blinding drive up the dangerous auto road so we decided to quickly leave.  As my mom was walking back to her car her umbrella turned completely inside out from the wind which was hilarious... Emily was laughing her ass off as my mom went screamind down the stairs to her car in the pelting rain and wind... hahaha.  My mom is good natured and thought it was funny as well.   It was a very rainy, foggy, wet way down from there. 

After the hike we stopped at EMS briefly to check out a sale but didn't find much.  We also stopped for dinner at a seafood restaurant called "Jonathon's" oddly enough for a good seafood dinner.  I drove the entire way home from there and apparently scared the crap out of my aunt.  I really wasn't going that fast and my mom and Emily were both able to fall asleep but I guess my aunt is a nervous driver.  It didn't help that I got pulled over in Whitehall because I was going 45 in a 30 by accident.  The cop let me go without checking anything. 

When we got back I quickly said goodbye to my mom and my aunt who looked like a wreck and headed back to Saratoga for some drinking.  I ended up going out with Mike and Emily and meeting up with Mike Caldwell and a bunch of Wheatfields employees at Gaffneys.  It was a great end to my very rainy birthday! 

On the way home we found a kid face down on the cement steps of the Post Office downtown.  Emily and didn't want him to get arrested so we woke him up and for some reason he began Cimg5025
following us.  When he followed us up Van Dam Street Emily got nervous but I wasn't worried because he was so drunk he was almost falling over walking.  We went upto my place and I locked the door before we began getting ready for bed, then the knocking began.... I went to the door, opened it and he was standing right on our porch.  He said very drunkenly, "hey, is this the party... ? I think I'm supposed to crash here..." Hahahaha... wow, was he gone... I kindly told him no and he mumbled a drunken apology before wandering down the stairs to who knows where... haha.  Funny ending to the night.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Saratoga County Fair


Last night Emily and I decided to go to the county fair.  It was opening night and it seemed like half the rides were closed for repairs.... bad sign or what.  I read in the paper today that I kid got slapped by a tiger as well and had to be brought to the hospital for stitches in his head! 
    We got the fairgrounds just in time to catch the Demolition Derby there.  Emily and I had never watched one before.  It basically involved a bunch of white guys driving beat-up old cars Bear_the_fair_71706_012
at each other in a quarter-football field sized mud pit.  When your car died or couldn't move anymore you lost.  Some of the cars really got taken out hard, others just popped their tires and couldn't move anymore.  In any case the winners got giant trophies and the firemen from Ballston Spa had to put out a few engine fires while the cars were dragged out of the arena by a huge front end loader with chains.  I think I blew half the powdered sugar off my fried dough onto the couple below me in the stands while laughing at the spectacle.
    After the derby we wandered over to the animal pens to check out the contestants.  I got a
Bear_the_fair_71706_022 few pictures of Emily next to the biggest farm animal I've ever seen.  The cows chewing their
cud reminded me of looking around the restaurant at Wheatfields watching everyone eat and the screaming goats we then walked to reminded me of everytime my boss opens is mouth to talk to me.. haha (I'll put the movies up on google soon enough... and leave a link here...). 
    We then walked over to the rides to check them out.  Each ride cost us nearly $5 a piece!!! What a rip off.  We paid $32 and only rode 4 rides!  After we rode the "rotor" (the one that
Bear_the_fair_71706_036 spins and sticks you to the wall) we both felt a little nauseous and decided to call it a night
back to my place with some ice cream to settle our stomaches.  On our way out we stopped to watch a very lame hypnosis show where there were 15 people on stay 20 years old or younger and the lame ass hypnotist kept referring to "I Love Lucy" episodes that I'm sure the kids had never even seen.  LAME. One night at the fair was good enough for me this year!  Watching the animals was the best part... :)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Weekend at Jonny's Camp

Jon Hughes and I have both been extremely busy this summer with work so when we realized that we both had a weekend free as well as Logan and his girlfriend Jacquie we all jumped on it and met up at his family's camp on Glen Lake for a weekend of partying and wakeboarding. 
    Emily and I drove up Friday night after having a few drinks with Josh, Rick and Mark and Wakeboarding_71506_021
Chris from the bike shop downstairs.  We got there around 9pm and went for a swim in bath-tub-warm Glen Lake then proceeded up to the camp out of the bugs for some card games.  Jon's cousin Pat and his girlfriend Kim were there for a while playing cards with us before he had to bring her home and leave so it was just Jon, Julie (girl he's been hanging out with), Emily and I that decided to take a very drunken swim around 1am before going to bed :). 

    On Saturday I was awoken to Logan's voice running up the stairs at about 10am.  I immediately realized I was naked under the covers so I grabbed them as hard as I could beforeWakeboarding_71506_025 Logan busted in the door with my camera trying to tear them off me.  He then ran around the
house waking all of our still drunk asses up.  We ate some bagels that Jon's awesome mom dropped off for us before heading down to the Lake for some late morning wakeboard sessions.  It was cloudy out but still very hot without the sun.  There was hardly any wind all day and it only rained lightly a few times throughout the day.  The lake was like glass and there really wasn't that much traffic for a Saturday in the middle of July. 
    At 12:30 Kerri Shpunt showed up to join the crew.  Kerri had never gotten up on a wakeboard before but I had confidence in her and the awesome new lightweight board we Wakeboarding_71506_072
picked up last year and to Kerri's suprise she got up on the first try and ripped it around the lake before calling it a day.  Next was Emily's turn and after just a couple pulls she was up... but veering to the left... and then down.  Every time she easily got out of the water she would start veering to the left and over the wake to crash... she was getting frustrated but we all, including her as well, thought it was hilarious.  After a few tips she was able to keep the board straight, negotiate some bumps on the lake and even make a few turns wih the boat, boardsliding it onWakeboarding_71506_002
one of them by accident!  Looks like Jacquei has some serious girl competition this year!  At 2pm Logans girlfriend Jacquie showed up and was starving so we made a Martha's lunch run while Jon brought Julie home for the afternoon.  Martha's is one of those places I grew up going to during lunches and free periods in high school and whenever it was hot.  It never changed and the ice cream was always great.  Now it's been completely redone and Logan even believes the ice cream tastes different.  6 Flags is ruining that entire area... Even built a giant water park behind the once tranquil and reserved Coachouse Log Restaurant where I worked through college... dwarfing the restaurant underneath it.  In any case I ended up stuffing myself with a burger and fries as well as a medium blueberry ice cream with sprinkles before heading back to the camp. 
    Logan took me out for a spin with Emily and Jacquie before Jon showed back up and we
Wakeboarding_71506_007 broke out the handle of Captain Morgans and began drinking. :)  Kerri had to leave because she
had work at 4pm.  Two hours later, and after Emily and I made a quick stop at my parents to say hi and pick up $65 worth of gas for theWakeboarding_71506_059
boat at Stewarts, Jonny was getting pretty plastered when we decided for another wakeboarding spin of the day.  I jumped right in and had a great time on the water totally relaxed and totally buzzin'.  We got back to the dock and Logan and Jacquie had to take off for a steak dinner at the Jones' but before they left we were able to catch the nastiest looking dock spider I've ever seen (check the pic).   Pat and Kim had returned and were Wakeboarding_71506_078
scarfing down subway which made Jonny, Emily and I hungry so we took my truck over to Subway for some late night subs before quickly returning for one last sesh.  Emily, Jon and I went out on the lake and Jon decided in his drunkeness he wanted to try foot skiing again... apparently forgetting how painful our attemps were last year.  He quickly taught me how to drive the boat and jumped in.  After gunning it a few times and nearly drowning the poor kid he gave up and let me take the boat for a spin around the lake a few times which was fantastic because I'd never really driven a boat before. 
    A bunch of Jon's cousins showed up at the camp on Sat and that night turned out to be a drunken blur playing bereut with captain and coke in the cups and then teaching everyone how to play Bullshit Pyramid which they all loved.  Jonny and I tore through the handle of captain finishing it around 11pm, the same time Lyndi, Jacquelin, and Nick Dier (yup Nick Dier) made a brief appearance to say hi.  Pat's mom made him bring Kim home early and stay home for the night so they took off around 11pm.  The rest of the night was very blurry to me but I remember that everyone thought it was funny making me drink so much!  I couldn't even remember what cards I had!  It was a great time!
    Emily had to get up early around 8am to head to Boston for her Kenny Chesny country music concert but I remained in bed until about 10am when I woke up Jonny as well for one last spin around the lake.  Both of us looked and felt like hell but as soon as I jumped in the lake off the boat I felt amped for another session.  Bad Idea... I was up for about 45 seconds before I decided to try to boardslide.... SMACK!  right on my face... painfully I called it a day realizing that I was too hungover and off balance to stay upright on a wakeboard.  We hung out on the dock under beautiful blue skies until about noon when I had to take off for work at Wheatfields.
    It was a great weekend and Emily had a blast at the camp wakeboarding and can't wait to go again.  Jonny is moving to Boston the first week of August so we only have one more weekend at the camp to party this summer.  Hopefully we can get more people along with my best bro Matt Jones to meet up with us there for one final killer wakeboard session!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Slide Mountain - Last Catskill Mountain

My boss at work today asked if I wanted the night off and after thinking about it decided to take him up on it and try to drive down to the Catskills and climb Slide Mountain so I wouldn't have to Slide_71306_004worry about it next week before finishing my 115 4,000 footers on Mount Washington on Jully 22nd, my birthday.  I had printed up driving directions before work knowing I would be doing it soon so when I got home I grabbed them, tore the map out of my "High Peaks of the Northeast" book and ran out the door with my camelback.  I got to the trailhead two hours later at 7pm, strapped on my running shoes and started jogging up the mountain.  My legs were on fire with pain but my ipod kept me moving at a steady pace.  2.7 miles, 1600 feet, and 45
minutes later I was standing on the summit panting.  I've never climbed a mountain so fast in my life.  I snapped a few pics of myself on the wooded summit and from an outlook over the Catskills near the summit and started my jog down.  I reached my truck again at 8:15pm.  I had jogged 5.4 miles, 1600 feet of elevation up theSlide_71306_014
highest mountain in the Catskills in just an hour and 15 minutes!  I think I may be in the best shape I've been in over 8 years.  Feels good.  Now I just have my final hike and I'll be officially done with all of the highest peaks in NY and New England.  I've gotten the official applications for the NE 4,000 footer clubs, the NH 4,000 footer club and the 111ers of the Northeast club.  These are all the premier climbing clubs in New England and I'll soon be one of the few members.  After 12 years of climbing I've almost reached my goal...


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I Love Maps... check this out... it's cool

I've always had an obsession with maps... now that I have a GPS and can track my actual movementsRun_profile
through the woods and over terrain it's even more exciting.  With my new GPS I can add "tracks" (my path) to a topo map program.  This will show my path of travel and also my elevation profile (see pic on left).  This is very cool of course. 
    The example I'm showing here is my run last week through the SMBA trails (Saratoga Mountain Bike Association).  Ever since running down the shore of Lake George in the dark (see previous posts) I've been interested in trail running instead of road running so I went tonight holding my ipod in one hand and my gps in the other while flying through the single track trails deep in the woods. 
    What I've found out now (with a lot of google searching) is how to transfer my gps "track" toRun
Google Earth to see it on a satellite image... (pic on right click it to enlarge it to see my green track through the woods).  In Google Earth you can even see the changes in elevation I ran over tonight... Anyway... yes, I know I'm a big nerd but I still think this is pretty damn cool.  It means I can easily plaster all my hikes onto a satellite image of the Northeast.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Owl's Head

    Today I picked up my dad's car early and drove to NH for a very long climb up Owl's Head mountain in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  Owl's Head is a very remote mountain that is about 8.8 miles from the trailhead at the Hancock Campground off the Kangamangus Highway (route 112). 
    When I got to the trailhead at noon I noticed people with mountain bikes... damnit!  If I had mine Owls_head_004
I could have biked the first 3 miles in and out and saved myself over an hour of walking for the day... Oh well.  The walk in was along the Pemigewasset River and was beautiful (see pic).  I was moving at a pretty good pace because I wanted to be out well before dark.  When I hit the Lincoln Brooke Trail to start skirting around Owl's Head the black flies and mosquitos started to pick up so I threw onOwls_head_014 some bug spray.... right in my eye by accident, which forced a couple angry remarks about my own stupidity.    At about 2500 feet I began looking for the herdpath leading off to the right from the
marked trail.  I soon came upon a small pile of rocks (a cairn at N44 08.258 W71 36.952 see pic) marking the start of the Owls_head_016
herdpath up a very steep land slide on the side of Owl's Head which offered great views of the backside of the Lafayette Lincoln Range (see pic).  As you can see from the picture the  slide was simply a very steep jumble ofOwls_head_015
rocks that would give way and slide under my feet with almost every step.  No wonder they didn't make the herdpath an official trail... too many people would slip and get hurt climbing it!  Near the top of the slide I reached the ridge line and after a short walk found myself in a well trampled down area with a small fire pit.  Thinking this was the summit I checked my GPS and noticed that the true summit was still down the ridge... I never would have known this without my GPS telling me my exact location and apparently most Owls_head_018
hikers didn't have a GPS when they reached this point because there wasn't really a trail from this point on.... After about 20 minutes of struggling through blow down, ferns, thick brush and spruce trees (see pic)I cameOwls_head_019 upon a small pile of rocks in the center of the ridge marking the true summit which my GPS verified.  I logged this as a waypoint (N44 08.665 W71 36.298 for those
who care) and continued back down the crumbly land Owls_head_032slide to the Lincoln Brooke Trail.  On the hike out I noticed a lot of toads in the
woods which made me happy because I haven't seen that many frogs or toads in years which I had feared was just another sign of environmental change for the worse.  The bugs were once again bad so I threw on some more bug spray.  At one point I had my head down while some branches brushed past my face and when I took another step I hit a downed tree over the trail with my forehead knocking my ass to the ground hard nearly blacking out for a moment.  haha.
    On the way out I hiked an extra .6 miles to Franconia Falls to check them out.  It was a beautiful area of rock smoothed over by the flowing water into pools and eddies.  If it wasn't nearly 6:30 pm atOwls_head_036
that point I may have thought about jumping in for a quick swim.  I snapped a few pics of the area and then headed out down the "never ending trail" (see pic of trail corridor through the woods) arriving at my car at 7pm exhaused after the 18.8 mile hike.   It was supposed to thunderstorm all day but I lucked out.  I also forgot Owls_head_041
to pay the parking fee of 3 dollars which could have resulted in a $200 ticket but thankfully I lucked out on that as well.  I stopped at McDonalds (yeah yeah, I know their food sucks) for a burger and a coffee for the very tiring ride home.  I got back to my parents 3 hours later at 10:30pm.  It turned out to be the longest hike I've done in over 6 years and was probably one of the least rewarding because there was absolutely no view from the summit (see pic).  Oh well... only two more hikes till I'm done!!!


Friday, July 7, 2006

Superman Returns

Saw Superman Returns last night with Emily... Just want to give it my full endorsement.  Great movie and cool that Superman movies are back!  Also got to see the preview for Spiderman 3... looks hot.  Also glad to see that they casted a character that looked so much like Christopher Reeves.  I usually don't care too much about celebrities but I was genuinely saddened when that great man died.


Tuesday, July 4, 2006

4th of July in Handcuffs???

So guess who got taken into the police station on the 4th of July in hand cuffs... yup.  Apparently Longboarding (skateboarding in general) is against a town ordinance in Saratoga Springs.  Deputy 4th_with_emily_casey_7406_013
Rayburn must have thought that I looked like a true menace to society in my button down shirt skating down the Broadway towards home after watching fireworks, which totally sucked and were too short, with Emily and her roomate (check out the awesome picture).  After nearly running me off the road with his patrol car, which was completely unnecessary, and yelling for me not to run (I was simply setting my board down on the grass) he proceeded to pat me down for drugs which I'm sure he thought I was loaded with... then he found a bag... uh oh ... what could it be... what could Jonny Danger have on him that he could be busted for... Officer Rayburn looked like he had hit the jackpot and was about to have the biggest bust of his life until he pulled out my bag of.... Sweedish Fish...Police_hand_cuffs_2
looking foolish while still on his power trip probably angered him more so he decided to put the cuffs on me and bring me downtown where they checked my record...  While they were checking my extensive criminal background (only a few speeding tickets) I told them about volunteering for Big Brother and attending Bowdoin College, and going for my PHD and thoroughly made him feel like an asshole in front of his cop buddies for bringing in a hard working upstanding citizen like myself.  I had even put a headlight and tail light on my board for safety to be better seen at night.  I had pretty much done everything I could to follow the law but got busted for a law I didn't even know existed!  They even went so far as to impound my longboard as evidence until after my court date!!! Can you believe that?  I think I nearly got him to apologize... nearly although he still kept me in cuffs in the corner like a criminal for 45 minutes.
    This morning I went to court for it and had to sit through 30 to 40 cases of either marijuana possession or disorderly conduct until they finally got to my case.  By then the judge was just pissed off and said right off after I pleaded guilty (the offense was less severe than that of a traffic ticket) that I should attend a "class" on the 23rd... "A class of what?" I asked.   "Vehicular safety" the judge replied... What.... I was on a friggin Longboard!!! I asked him what the fine was and he said, "50 bucks".  I said I'd just pay that and walked out of the courtroom.
    As I was paying the fine several lawyers behind me asked what my offense was.  My official offense as stated (and I shit you not on this) was... and I quote, "Operating a play vehicle on Broadway"..... yup... a "play vehicle".  How lame is that.  The lawyers behind me got a good laugh about it and we all agreed how stupid it was for me to get busted for that.  This whole experience leaves a very bad taste in my mouth for law enforcement.  I respect cops for the most part but it's those few assholes like Deputy Rayburn that really give cops a bad name.


Drive-In with Emily

Decided to take Emily to the drive-in last night to see the movies "Click" with Adam Sandler and "Nacho Libre" with Jack Black.  On the way to the drive in we drove through a wicked Drivein_with_emily_7306_001
thunderstorm but it all cleared up when we parked in the front row.  We had stopped at Dicks Sporting Goods for a citronella candle for the bugs and at Hess for some beers and candy.  I through about 5 blankets, 3 towels, and 6 large pillows in the tailgate of my truck so we'd be comfortable and climbed in.  "Click" really sucked but "Nacho Libre" I'm sure will become a cult classic with college age kids for the humor in it and Jack Black.  I opened up all the doors of my truck and cranked my stereo on the drive-in's FM stereo channel to add some bass to the area which I think the people around us enjoyed... and amazingly after 4 hours my battery still worked!  It was Emily's first time at a drive in and I think she really enjoyed it! :)