Rhode Island
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You all remember the first post we put up about our first week with my parents and enjoying the high life of golfing, surf-n-turf, and home cooked meals? Well, we seem to be creating a pattern here that goes something like; luxury – wilderness – luxury – , you get the point. After 2 weeks in the wilds of norther NY we arrived in Rhode Island for a few days of the high life again. We started out visiting my oldest friend, Sheri, and her husband Matt in Bristol, RI where we were exposed to many new things such as eating Quahogs and feeding toads for pure enjoyment. Matt and his friend Beckett seemed to have mastered the art of toad feeding. For about 2 weeks a single toad has made his home on Sheri and Matt’s porch so each night they feed him bugs and since bugs are in abundance, the toad eats a lot. The toad was hand fed by Matt and the toad ate everything, 32 bugs in one sitting to be exact.

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Out to eat in Bristol with Sheri, Matt, and Beckett.

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After 32 bugs, this is one fat toad!

Once we figure out how to post video, we’ll share this excitement with you. Bristol, RI is home to America’s oldest 4th of July parade and is a beautiful little seaside town on the Narragansett Bay and they serve great Quahogs! We really enjoyed our time here.

From Bristol we moved south to Newport where my sister and brother-in-law were vacationing by boat from Long Island, NY. It’s not a far journey from LI to Newport by car or boat so everyone came out to play including my entire family as well as some of Sheri’s. Friday, July 20th was when we were all together, 15 of us, and despite the rain we had a blast. The weather is no matter when you are in good company.

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Cathy's sister and brother-in-law's boat that we stayed on, with Cathy holding baby Lillian

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All the ladies on Cathy's birthday

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Celebrating Cathy's birthday with Juliana and Alex

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Having fun on the boat

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All smiles during our first night in Newport

Jamie used my birthday as reason to celebrate and once again ordered the lobster special at the marina restaurant. Since we’re headed to Maine and then Canada I think this lobster appetite of his will continue to thrive.

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Lobster dinner in Newport......he was yummy ;-)

The rest of the weekend was great and the weather improved too. We just chilled out on Tricia and Harold’s gorgeous boat, lounged at the pool, ate really well, and enjoyed time with family. While Jamie itches to get back into the woods and on the rock, I wallow in the enjoyment of a real toilet that flushes, a shower without moths and a break from bug bites ;-) Since we didn’t budget for an extended stay in Newport, we must move on and New Hampshire is next.

 

 

Lake George
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Friday was our last day in the Adirondacks, and we spent most of it climbing some more routes on Upper and Lower Beer Walls near Chapel Pond. The heat finally caught up with us, so the higher we moved on the routes the less shade we had from the trees and thus  more sun exposure……and it was hot! We climbed some of the classics such as Rockaholic, Afternoon Delight, and I gave Frosted Mug a run (very cool climb!). Below are some pics from the day.

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Cathy at the top of Afternoon Delight

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Jamie starting up Frosted Mug

The best part of climbing this area is when your done, just stroll on over to Chapel Pond and you can take a swim or just sit back and soak your dogs in the water…..beautiful place.

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Cooling the dogs in Chapel Pond

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Cathy at Chapel Pond

While we were climbing on Lower Beer Walls we ran into a couple of other climbers. We got to talking and they put us on to a climb in Lake George, called Little Finger, that sounded pretty cool. The climb is a very moderate slab climb on Roger’s Rock right on the water, but you can only access the climb via boat. On a side note….this is one of the best parts of the trip so far……you think you are going in one direction, but all you have to do is turn the steering wheel to go in another…….so instead of heading to Lake Champlain like we thought we would, we headed off on a little adventure to Lake George on Saturday.

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Lake George

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Cathy at Lake George

We checked into Rogers Rock Campground in the early afternoon on Saturday. Easily the biggest campground we have ever stayed in…..huge! Largest in NY state. But it has really nice sites, amenities, and it is right on the lake. Sunday we set out in the morning to hike Tongue Mountain. We didn’t really know much about the trail, but found a good trail that gave us some decent views of the lake, and it was an awesome way to start out the day. We then went by a boat shop and we were able to rent a couple of kayaks for Monday’s adventure. (We had to take the rooftop carrier off to get them on top of the 4Runner) See below. A little balancing act, but some good knot tying and those suckers weren’t going anywhere!

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Lake George from Tongue Mountain

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Lake George Campsite

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Kayaks on the 4Runner

Being a slab climb and with Monday’s weather calling for mid 80′s temps, we decided to get up early to beat the heat. After stuffing all our gear into the kayaks we headed out to find the route. The paddle over to the rock was so peaceful. The water was flat and hardly anyone was on the lake…..just one of those moments….where you sit back and say this is what it is all about.

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Jamie about to head out to Roger's Rock

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On our way to Roger's Rock to climb Little Finger

It didn’t take long to find the slab and the route. Mooring up the kayaks was a little adventurous, but we eventually got them tied up (using a tri-cam in a crack ;-) It was funny…..Cathy and I were joking around and just imagining being a few hundred feet up on the route and seeing our two kayaks floating away…..which would have made getting back to camp a lot more difficult!

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Kayaks moored up

I have to admit, the route was pretty cool. Not the best route I have ever done, but you couldn’t beat the location and scenery. I know, I know……it was slab (not my specialty!), but the route is only 5.5 and it does follow a crack for almost 500′ up this slab face. The only downside to the climb…..it got hot real quick. We started to feel like two eggs in a skillet! By the end of the second pitch we both could feel the black rubber of our shoes baking our feet. I motored up the last pitch as fast as I could, and once I got Cathy on belay I don’t think I have ever seen her climb so fast! We were rewarded with some spectacular scenery though……..and the best part, after only a couple of double rope rappels back down, all you need to do is drop your gear and dive straight into the clear, beautiful waters of the lake to feel rejuvenated again! Really cool experience. We spent the rest of the day putzing around the lake in our kayaks, and taking swims to cool off…….yep was a pretty rough day! ;-)

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Cathy on first pitch of LIttle Finger

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Looking down at the first belay, half way up second pitch

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Both of us on Little Finger. I am a little past half way up the second pitch.

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Top of the second pitch

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Top of little finger. Feet smoked!

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Leaving Roger's Rock

Tuesday, we decided to take the day off from any serious hiking or climbing. Just down the road from the campground is a ferry that crosses Lake Champlain and puts you into Vermont. Niether of us had ever spent much time in VT so off we went to see what we could get into near Burlington. We drove through Middlebury and this proved to be exactly what you picture Vermont to be. It was some beautiful countryside over there, and after having some lunch in Burlington, someone put us onto visiting the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory. Supposedly you get free samples! We drove out there to check it out, but what a zoo! People everywhere, all trying to take a tour of the factory, eating ice cream, crammed in next to each other, tour busses everywhere……not my scene. Cathy inquired about the tour and they said the next available tour would be in 45 minutes, and when she said she wasn’t into it……..I was so relieved to get the hell out of there!!

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Leaving Ben and Jerry's!

On Wednesday, we packed up and left the wilderness of Northern NY. We headed to Rhode Island to spend the next few days with family and friends in Newport, and also to  celebrate Cathy’s birthday, today!

Adirondacks
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We left the lap of luxury in Windham NY where my parents took real good care of us.  We said goodbye to rounds of golf, home cooked meals and Lobster for what we’re calling the “real road” and we are on it now.  After only a few hours in the car heading north we arrived in the High Peaks of NY and Lake Placid area.  This past week has been filled with camping, hiking, climbing, exploring Lake Placid and the Olympic Centers.  It will be hard to believe that the landscape and views here could be rivaled anywhere else in the north east, but we will soon find out in the coming months.  It is breathtaking to say the least with so many mountain peaks and lakes.  We are camping at a site called Whispering Pines set between Lake Placid and Keene Valley.  We are surrounded by Adirondack Park and quality rock climbing in any direction.

We started out the week at Chapel Pond Pass climbing in an area called Upper Beer Wall, we knocked out a couple routes and will return to this area today. Below are a couple of pics from our first day.

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Jamie at the base of Labatt-Ami

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Cathy on Labatt-Ami

On Tuesday we set out to climb a classic called “Quadrophenia” at Hurricane Crag in Keene.  We got lost trying to find it but when you’re on the road like we are, you’re never really lost, you’re just exploring!  After killing a lot of time driving around we finally found it and it proved to be a classic.

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Cathy on Quadrophenia

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Top of Quadrophenia

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Top of Quadrophenia

Wednesday was a day off to be a tourist in Lake Placid, a very cool village set on a lake with great restaurants and shops.  The lake, we assumed to be Lake Placid, is actually Mirror Lake.  After realizing this we set out to find LP and found it to be inaccessible, meaning the huge beautiful lake is surrounded by either forest or private roads and residences.  Maybe we’re missing something??  We took in the air show at the Olympic Ski Jumping Center and this was a real cool show.  The American jumpers were aged 12 to 18, all of them so young and fearless sharing the same goal of competing in a future Olympics.  We also did laundry and saw Spiderman : )

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We found the Starbucks in town has the best wifi.

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First day in Lake Placid, though the lake in the background is called Mirror Lake.

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This guy was way up there......and they call rock climbers crazy!

On Thursday we decided to explore Saranac Lake and Jamie found a good hike on the Internet called Ampersand Mountain.  If you ever plan to spend time in the Adirondacks and enjoy hiking you must hike to the summit of Ampersand Mt.  The trailhead is on Rt 3 between Saranac and Tupper Lakes, it is a 2.7 mile hike with an aggressive final mile, a 1300ft vertical climb.  Once you reach the summit your reward awaits, a 360 view of the entire ADK region, high peaks, multiple lakes, a view worth sweating for.

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Jamie's finds a boulder problem on Ampersand Mtn.

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Cathy on Ampersand Mtn Summit

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Ampersand Mtn, Summit view #1

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Ampersand Mtn, Summit view #2

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Ampersand Mtn, Summit view #3

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Ampersand Mtn, Summit view #4

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Cathy and Jamie on summit of Ampersand Mtn.

We spoke with a couple on the trail who told us about another hike on the other side of Rt 3 that we should check out when we finished.  We did just that and it turned out to be another gem.  Once we hiked down, we crossed Rt 3 and hiked a 1/2 mile into the woods and came out on a beach, it was Middle Saranac Lake, we went for a swim and the water was as warm as a bath tub.  What a way to finish a long hike!

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Jamie in Middle Saranac Lake

It’s only been 2 weeks since we left DC and things have been great, we are truly enjoying ourselves, this experience, the people along the way and the weather has been fantastic, true mountain weather.  We’ll spend the next few days covering a bit more of Lake Placid and also visit Lake Champlain before we move on to Newport, RI by the middle of next week to celebrate Cathy’s B-day!!  More to come……

Windham, NY
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Our first week on the road is in the books, and it has been non stop since we got out of town. The drive up to Cathy’s parents place in Windham, NY was good, what a difference from the weather back in the Northern Virginia! What a difference being up in the mountains.

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Cathy and Jamie arrive in Windham!

We spent the first couple of days playing golf with Cathy’s parents on a couple of different courses in the area. Some of the views from the courses are just awesome! Cathy showing off her form below on the mountain course, Windham Ski Resort in the background.

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Cathy getting it done with Windham Ski resort in the background

 

On Tuesday after golf, Cathy, her dad, and myself hiked up to Kaaterskill Falls, the highest waterfalls in NY. Cool place and we got some good shots below.

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Kaaterskill Falls

 

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At the top of the falls

 

On Wednesday, Eddie, our first visitor, came into town! Cathy and I drove down to New Paltz to meet Ed. We had a late breakfast at the Main Street Bistro while waiting for Ed to roll in. Anybody climbing the Gunks needs to hit that place up…..good grub! Once Ed arrive we hit the Gunks and jumped on High E for Ed’s first climb in the Gunks, followed by a lap on Airy Aria. Good afternoon hanging out with good people, but the wether from Northern Virginia has caught up with New Paltz………it was sticky to say the least.

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Ed climbing High E.

 

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After his first pitch in the Gunks, Ed is all smiles!

 

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Ed leading the second pitch of High E.

 

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It was hot, but it's always a good time

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Cathy and Jamie

On Thursday we headed back to the Gunks and Ed jumped on a climb called Horseman to start the day. Great climb, but in a very crowded area, so afterwards we ended up moving down the rock face to do a climb called Ken’s Crack. After a few laps on Ken’s Crack, the closest thing available for us to jump on was a climb called BABY. (Mental note…..Jamie should never climb anything with the name BABY in it, i.e. Baby Rage!) The climb is only rated 5.6, (for those non-climbers out there, it means for someone with plenty of experience on the rock…generally….it should be a fairly cruzy climb) and I thought it would be a great route for Cathy, and a cruzer climb for me. Long story short………I let my guard down in the short off-width section and took a 20 footer! As most trad climbers know, you just can’t let your guard down! I did and I got bitch slapped for it. After only a few scratches, it was a humbling experience and a good lesson learned. Doesn’t matter how much you train or how strong you get, you can always get spit off any climb, anywhere! Protect early and protect often ;-)

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Jamie leading Ken's Crack

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Cathy on Ken's Crack

 

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Ed on Baby

 

On Friday Cathy decided to take the day off (smart girl), so just Ed and I braved the heat at the Gunks. It got up to 95! We hiked into the Near Trapps to find it empty (shocker with the temps that day), so we jumped on the classic climb called Yellow Ridge. The heat seemed to suck the energy right out of us, and by the time we got to the top and with three days of climbing in the heat under our belts we were running on fumes. We had planned to jump on some harder climbs, but with us both sweating out our clothes we opted for a cruzer called Disney Land, and called it a day afterwards.

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Ed on the first pitch of Yellow Ridge

We headed back to Windham for Ed’s last night in town. After a energy draining day, Cathy’s parents, in a very generous gesture, treated us to dinner at a local italian restaurant called Vesuvio. Anybody who visits this area of NY needs to hit this place up, good service, great food, and it was lobster night!!! ;)

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Happy boys and their bibs!

That winds up our first week on the road. We are going to hang in Windham for a few more days, getting in some more climbing at the Gunks (temps are suppose to drop Monday and Tuesday). Cathy’s sister Tricia is coming into town on Tuesday with her kids, so it will great to visit with her before we take off for the Adirondacks and Lake Placid on Wednesday.

Hitting the road!
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Well, after getting the truck all packed up…..the day has come……we are finally out of here! First stop Windham, NY!