Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Greatest Hits

      I wanted to share some favorite pics and memories of hiking from the past few years as my excitement builds for our upcoming thru-hike of the Northville Placid trail. Around this time last year Jeanette and I were falling deeply in love......with hiking and backpacking. We shook hands and decided we would hike the trail  the next summer. I'm not sure if either of us really believed we would follow through with what, at the time, was still a bit out of our league. Jeanette bought the trail guide,we went on with our hiking, camping and falling in love.

     So here we are, mere days away from our wander through the adirondack wilderness. If it weren't for some of the incredible times we've had exploring that I'd like to share with you, this dream would not have ripened so sweetly. Be safe out there and keep love and appreciation for all of these wonders as your center. Kieran Murphy rule in full effect.

The Tetons from Grand Targhee. Can't wait to go west again
One of Jeanette's amazing shots from the summit of Gothics. Possibly one of my favorite hikes...ever.

Rattlesnakes on Alander Mountain. This Mountain also includes a summit cabin and fields of blubes (blueberries DUH).
Giant Mountain has a nubble and a washbowl...and a bad-ass waterfall

A beautiful night spent camping on the AT. A chance meeting with some thru-hikers= much needed inspiration just when we needed it the most.
Bear Mountain Bridge as seen from Anthony's Nose. Some amazing hikes around Peekskill

My First look at Algonquin and the Mac range. Some say this idol still wanders Phelps Brook Valley...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Eagle Cliff

      Jeanette, Randy, Diddy and I all came up fourth of July weekend to my folks cabin in Eagle Bay. We had a great first night by the campfire, followed by a lovely hike to Queer Lake Lean-too. Jeanette and I did this (3.8 mi I believe?) hike in the fall and immediately made a mental note to return. Great lean-too, right on the water, great views of a priiiistine lake and a magical peninsula location.
      The four of us had an awesome swim on a hot day then had a delicious Mediterranean style lunch with hummus, pita, veggies and bean salad. This was followed by a great cook out with my folks and another night by the campfire, singing songs, drinking beers and sharing rounds of Bulleit (One of my favorite fire-side beverages).
       The next day, I woke up when nature called (we tented out behind the cabin) around 6:15, looked up the hillside and noticed a nearly full-grown bear ambling down. He was likely interested in the chip and s'mores crumbs littered around the fire pit, remnants of our evening's revery. I woke up Jeanette to take a look (her first bear!) and after getting a bit too close to Randy and Diddy's tent, she asked me if that was ok. I decided it wasn't. "Dude".....no response......"DUDE".........not even a look in our direction. "DUDE!!!!!" I yelled while Jeanette clapped her hands. Said bear finally decided that his/her mellow was sufficiently harshed that it decided to amble (at its leisure) next door to the O'Connor's.

     My folks cabin is at the base of a little hill with big personality. It's called Eagle Cliff. Local lore has it that a mating pair of Bald Eagle's nested there in the 70's. When I was a kid, we would climb it at least a handful of times each summer. Many sandwiches were had on its lovely overlook. This rocky ledge has commanding views of the Fulton Chain of Lakes, Inlet and the surrounding Mountains.

    The best part of the view for our family was that of the Eagle Bay beach. We could see the docks and even the canoe/ kayak racks where my sister, mother and I spent so many sunny summer days. When I began Kayaking on the lake 2 summers ago, the distinctive white pines on its summit became a useful beacon for guiding me to shore.

       I came to realize that I knew few places as well as I knew the trail and summit of this humbly stunning little rise of land. While this realization gave me great sense of contentedness it led me down a path towards a second realization.... With all of my hundreds of hiking pictures in the high peaks, catskills, and countless other regions, ranges and rivers, I hadn't yet taken any from my home base. The center of my families universe, the warm spot in our hearts where we keep our joy.
Earlier in the summer I took an evening stroll up to the summit and had a little photo shoot. In this process, I got to know my center a bit better and tend it for future joy-core.