Monday, December 3, 2012

Catskill Mountain 3500 Club

Catskill 3500 club

My husband and I have started to hike the 35 high peaks in the Catskill Mountains and become members of the 3500 club. If you need something to jump start your New Years Resolutions...this is it! Take a look at the website for information on what you need to do and  list of all the mountains you will have to hike, 2 in the winter months, this will be a challenge for us. 

Good luck! I hope some of you start this challenge....

Slide Mountain the Highest Peak in Catskills

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Innerwall Climbing Gym
New Paltz, NY

 The Innerwall in New Paltz NY is a really cool place to go on a rainy day. This space is big enough for an afternoon adventure for sure. We bought a ten session pass back during the winter months and just couldn't stop. Bring a friend with you so that you can belay, or go by yourself and just traverse the walls and ceilings. A day pass with equipment is $25 and you can stay as long as you want. We usually last about two/two and a half hours. New Paltz is a really great town to make a day trip to as well. This climbing gym is right in downtown so after your done find yourself at my favorite place The Guilded Otter. Try the cheese balls at the bar with a stout mixed with cider, mmmmmmmmmmm. Happy hour is everyday 4-7, half price apps really make it easy to stay on a budget. This place is worth full price anyways:) Sit inside and listen to music, watch the game, or chat with my favorite bartender Nate, or sit outside on the deck and people watch. The view of the creek is pretty nice too. Consider this day a must!
Duck Pond Scramble Loop
Mohonk Mountain House and Preserve
New Paltz, NY

* This hike requires a day pass, we learned this the hard way! Go first to the mohonk information desk and get a day pass. The Mohonk Mountain House will honor this pass, DO NOT buy it from there you will pay $25 instead of $12. The hike is really worth the $12 dollars!

This hike starts on pine road in New paltz, take 299 through New Paltz and bear right underneath the old remains of the gatehouse (on gatehouse road), take that road till you hit a road that t's up with a bridge to your left and a big white house on your right, take that right. Pine road will be about a mile down the road to your left, take that all the way to the end where you will see a parking space. Begin your hike here:

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The hike will take you up onto the aqua duct you cant miss it. Do not take the actual trail path, go up onto the aquaduct via a few paths along the way. You will soon see the trail head for a blue trail, take that vearing right. This will take you up to duck pond. Follow blue trail markers.
Sign at Duck Pond
Beautiful wildlife everywhere
View from Duck pond toward sky top, this is where your hike will bring you too

After the pond you will head to your right and as the pond ends turn left onto the duck pond trail (red) which will lead you through some thick woods. This path will end up coming out on a road, but you will cross over road and continue upwards. It will start getting very rocky. Continue following the red trail (duck pond trail). At the top you will come to a summer house (see picture)
Summer house

From here you will cross over the road to the Birkin trail (still red). Follow up up and up toward the labrynth as they call it. See photos. Here the scramble brings you through crevices, up ladders and ultimately to the sky top. You will stop at one spot just as you come out of crevise and see beautiful views of the summer houses across the way at the mohonk house, cross the small bridge and continue up.

You just keep going up!
Views from first crawl out of crevise

 When you get to the top you will see that there is a path toward the sky top, which is the building you saw at the bottom (duck pond). Take this tower all the way to the top for some amazing views of the Mohonk Mountain House.

There is some really neat history surrounding the Mountain House. The day pass does not allow you to actually go into the house, but I would say to call ahead of time if you wanted to do a short tour, or for lunch reservations that would allow you inside the home.

After you have left the sky top tower you will need to go down the sky top trail leading toward the mohonk house. This will eventually go right past the house and toward the small restaurant that you will walk right by to the left and continue down that trail. You will come now to another rock scramble (red trail on your left) take this trail through another fun rock scramble. When you leave the scramble you will find yourself turning right onto the next trail heading toward the whitney trail. These trails are marked with a sign, not colors. You will take the whitney trail to the glen anna trail that is right on the left when you are walking on the path. Its almost on the turn, you cant miss it. You will now take the glenn anna trail all the way up a pair of stairs and to your left walking over an actual road. Now you are heading toward the Forrest trail, and you will take that all the way back to the duck pond. You will come into duck pond the opposite direction you did at first, get your bearings and head back to your left and continue to follow the blue trails again toward the aqua duct. Your car will be just where you left it! This is a great hike, and really hard but worth it. The views are great any time of the year. Again make sure you are not overstepping your stay at the Mountain house, its easy to get lost in the grander of it, but remember you are not an overnight guest and they will treat you like a trespasser (even with your day pass). Enjoyable hike, consider it on your TO DO!

Tongue Mountain Range
Lake George, NY

This hike is a really nice short, or long destination. You have options, we have done both, to do a short hike that overlooks Lake George, or a longer hike that gives many good views as well as wildlife and scenery. The website above gives you really good information on each hike duration, how to get there, and what to expect. I will tell you both times we did this hike we encountered timber rattle snakes, so just be careful. They are not at all aggressive, but could prove problematic for a curious dog. During this hike we did find that some of the trail is still a bit "messy" due to Irene this past September.
Photography done by Brittany Fornabiao

Lake George is a great destination for any hiker for a day, weekend, or week long trip. There are so many great activities to do, things to see, and places to eat. After we did this hike we find ourselves usually heading toward the small town of Bolton Landing or the small town of Hague. Both of these towns can be found about a ten minute or so drive from this trail head. If you go left out of the trail head you would head toward Bolton Landing, right would be Hague. Bolton Landing has a few good spots, but our personal favorite is The Sagamore. This historic site offers a ton of restaurant choices and really is the quintessential American place, with its views of Lake George, families on vacation and the feeling of a simpler life, the Sagamore is a must stop spot. After lunch or dinner at The Sagamore take an afternoon/evening and check out the town. Bolton Landing has some really cute pubs, shops and antiques to spark your interests. Hague, heading left out of the trail head, offers a smaller town, but same great Adirondack charm. The Hague Firehouse is a great spot to stop for a bite to eat! This old renovated firehouse offers a really neat place to stop in for a drink, or a few. The lobster roll was delish:)

This hike certainly comes with a lot to "consider", but anything you do will be well worth the drive. Its almost August, get out there and enjoy the summer!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Poets Walk

Poets Walk
Rhinebeck, NY'_Walk.html

All photography taken by Eilis Petrosino
Poets walk is an easy find, easy hike, and easy on the eyes. This hike is right off of the Kingston/Rhinecliff bridge and the above websites give great directions from any direction. There is also a great history run through on the website giving you understanding on why this hike is called "Poets Walk". Basically this hike is  a out and back, with a loop involved, easy to moderate in degree of difficulty. It takes about 45 minutes to walk the full loop if you take time to really see all there is to see. As you walk out you will get to a beautiful pavilion that was built on the grounds where you can sit down and have a picnic.

From there you will start to see the beautiful back drop of the Hudson river and Kingston/Rhinecliff bridge. From there walk to your right and begin down a path that will allow you to go toward the summer cottage or flagpole lot. I would suggest going toward flagpole lot first and then looping around from the summer cottage. The views are to die for, the hike really easy to navigate. This is a lazy Sunday morning stroll:) ENJOY! On your way home be sure to stop at the corner and get some great fresh produce, honey, syrups, flowers, plants, or anything else they may have that morning at Migliorelli Farm stand. The last time I went I grabbed some really great hanging baskets, along with some really great in season fruits to nosh on before I headed home.

Ferncliff Forest, Rhinebeck NY

Ferncliff Forest
Rhinebeck, NY

All photography done by Eilis Petrosino
Ferncliff Forest has some great qualities for a quick hike, or a hike you might want to linger through. The website gives you great history of the fire tower and the land preserve. If you can get to Rhinebeck, NY you can find this hike very easily. Ferncliff Forest Game Refuge and Forest Preserve is between Mount Rutsen and River Roads in Rhinecliff. At the stoplight in Rhinebeck, take Route 9 north. Go about a half-mile; turn left onto Montgomery Street, which becomes Mount Rutsen Road. The parking lot for Ferncliff Forest is on the left ( This hike is on an old farm, and is one of the oldest old growth forests in the Hudson valley. The shade of this hike makes it a great summer destination for the eager who would rather not bake in the summer sun. After parking your car you head straight into the 200 acres of preserve. After a short uphill walk you come to south pond and the small cabin you can rent and camp out in, or the lean-to (one of two in the preserve). This would make a really nice weekend: camping, hiking, and heading into area towns like Redhook, Tivoli, and Rhinebeck. After passing this area you continue on toward the tower (green and white signs will guide you). You will see another hike to your right that says "Church trail", this is another trail you can pick up later if you wish, there are many different trails on this preserve and I would recommend grabbing a map at the beginning to help you map out your hike. Continue on toward tower and in about 5 minutes you will see it in all its glory! 
Climb to the top of the newly constructed fire tower and grab a hold of some awesome Hudson river valley views. Water towers, bridges, farm land, the Catskill mountains all within view. You really get an outstanding chance to be in the clouds! Be careful on your way down, very sad plaque at the bottom of the fire tower explaining a death of a dog in 2008 whom fell from tower. I would leave pets at the bottom, and always be careful on your ascent and descent of any fire tower, they can be especially dangerous during windy days. After seeing such beautiful views head back to your car same way you came in, or start toward your left after you walk off the tower and continue following the green and white trail. There are many others as well that will bring you in a loop back to south pond (scout trail), or find your own way through this old forest. Be aware of wildlife, we were able to see a prehistoric looking snapping turtle and many beautiful hearings getting an afternoon drink. Speaking of a drink, its time to talk about where I had one after this great hike. 
Heading back toward Rhinebeck, Ny (right out of preserve parking lot) you can find a ton of really great spots. A few that I would say are more functional for breakfast/lunch would be Terrapin Restaurant, or Breadalone. Terrepin you will pass on 9 on your way south, and Breadalone you will have to take a left on East Market and park in parking lot to your left. I've eaten at both spots, I would recommend the falafel sandwich with lemon tahini dressing at Terrepin, or  the Hummus with Coach Farm goat cheese, olive tapenade,and frisee lettuce on Organic 9 Mixed Grain at Breadalone. Walk around Rhinebeck while you are at it. There are some really great shops that hold an array of great gifts.  This makes for a really nice day, beautiful hike followed by a beautiful meal doesn't get better then this! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Breakneck Ridge Trail

This trail is not for the faint of heart, but worth every minute! The website above gives you great information about the trail itself, but as most information about trails, seems to be dated. There are two different trail heads the breakneck (WHITE) and the Wilkinson trail head (YELLOW). I have now done this trail three times and each time a different way. This trail is on 9D right before the town of Cold Spring about ten minutes outside Beacon, Ny. You will see a large tunnel and the trail head is directly before this tunnel. If you go through the tunnel you have missed the trial and gone too far. 

All photography done by Eilis Petrosino
I recommend starting on the white trail for breakneck, then following that all the way up the steep rock to the flags, the views up and down the Hudson are great as well as the mountain across the Hudson called storm king (which is another great hike). After you have scaled the rock mountain you will continue to follow the white trail markers along a few more look out points. After about 2 hours worth of hiking you will come across the blue trail markers and you will begin following the darker blue trail markers (do not confuse the pale blue with the dark blue). At this junction you would also be able to continue on the white trail which would bring you all the way through the fishkill ridge to Mt. Beacon (another hike on my blog). The blue trail is a left hand turn, and you will continue to follow this now to the yellow trail. The blue trail is about an hour and follows through well shaded tree lines. You will pick up the yellow trail that winds down the mountain and along a creek bed, be sure to stay on yellow and not turn left at one point up toward the red markers. ***SIDE NOTE: If you see the red trail headed toward 9D earlier in the hike (while you are still on white) you can take a hard left and use this trail as well to cut off about an hour and a half of the hike. You will take the red trail all the way to the yellow trail, but when you get to yellow make sure you take a left and not a right because they you will loop all the way back around adding hours back on your trail.*** Continue the yellow marker to 9D, you will start seeing hearing the traffic. This yellow trail is the Wilkinson trail and you can park here at the base and start your hike from here as well and miss the steep rocks of breakneck. There are a ton of really neat hikes through this ridge, including short and long. The long hike is the entire fishkill ridge which is 11.5 miles (my suggestion is to drive two cars and park one at breakneck and the other in mt beacon or vice versa) or the short being only the breakneck hike cutting off at the red, our moderate hike we did today was the white breakneck, to blue trail, to yellow wilkinson which was about a 4 hour total hike. Beautiful day with some beautiful views and some really fun wildlife! GET UP GET OUT GET MOVING...its summer people!!! :)



 What would be a hike without a meal or some drinks after! I have done a different spot for eating each time I have gone on this hike so I will reveal each and believe me all three were note worthy spots!

#1- The Tomato Cafe: Fishkill is a great little neighborhood about 15 minutes up 9D from this hike. We had sandwiches, smoothies and dessert. Egg white on a hard role with spinach, pesto and roasted red peppers, Tropical fruit smoothie with mango, banana, soy milk and honey, and mint chocolate chip gelato with a chocolate chip cookie underneath! Everything was so good, great service and a really cute outdoor seating area which was just what we needed after that long hike.

#2- The Patio: Beacon is a great little town right on the Hudson about 10 minutes up the road from this hike. I had a caprese sandwich that was really light and delish as well as a local beer on tap called crossroads from Athens, NY. I had the Outrage which is a Pale Ale...really nice!

#3- Thai Food @ Sukhothai Restaurant: Beacon again, and this thai restaurant is to die for. We went on a later hike so we ate dinner here, Pad Thai with shrimp which was very good. And for dessert a sticky rice with ice cream...who would have thought that was good?!? It was amazing...

Take some time out and find some great local restaurants in your neighbor hood, so many people stick to that one restaurant they know they like...try a new kind of food genre. You never know you might actually find yourself liking it. Be active and you can indulge in most anything<3