trip report: New York – Owls Head Mountain, October 4 2020

To conclude our weekend with with Mat, Vru, and their dog Zoey we finished our third hike in three days. While we didn’t end up backpacking on our trip like we planned, we did get some miles in after all. This final hike with them was again in the Adirondacks, but further west as we looked to avoid the crowds near Lake Placid. We would hit up another vista and check off another fire tower on the ADK Fire Tower Challenge for them (ADK.org). The foliage was peaking just right as well making the otherwise hike through a forest more stimulating.

Thanks to Vru and Mat for putting us up and hanging out for a week.

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This is part 3 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our second day hike up to Hurricane Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.

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trip report: New York – Hurricane Mountain, October 3 2020

The weather was ominous when we set out for our second hike in the Adirondack Mountains. At the trailhead for Hurricane Mountain, the tops of the mountains around us were obscured by the clouds. It would have been easy and understandable to call it off there, but you never know what’s in store for you sometimes. For many ahead of us, it meant hiking up to a blanket of white. For us, we came to sweeping fruity pebble like mountain sides made more mystic as they were revealed behind the lifting clouds. Sometimes the luck of the draw makes the risk worth it. 

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This is part 2 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our second day hike up to Hurricane Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.

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trip report: New York – Cat Mountain, October 2 2020

 

In the early part of 2020, we had plans to visit our friends in upstate New York and Vermont wiped out by the pandemic. As the year went along, we learned a new way to travel during those pre-vaccine days in conjunction with our abilities to work remotely. That is to pod with our friend exclusively spending a longer period with them including work days. So we revived our earlier plans and podded with Vru and Mat in New York before visiting Jared in Vermont. The benefit of visiting in the fall was the foliage sweeping across the mountains. 

Our hiking plans with Mat and Vru was originally backpacking around Marcy Dam, but changed our plans to day hikes based on the weather outlook. I thought it was a pretty good decision as we were dumped on a couple times during a couple of our hikes. The first was up to Cat Mountain in the Lake George area. 

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This is part 1 of 5 of our trip out to New York and Vermont. In this part, we cover our first day hike up to Cat Mountain in New York. You can find the rest of the series as they are posted in the index below.

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virginia hikes: McAfee Knob, September 24 & October 29, 2017

This report was reposted on October 17, 2020 to include a video, new photos, and updated formatting.

McAfee Knob is among the most popular hikes in southwest Virginia and said to be the most photographed place on the Appalachian Trail with its own wikipedia page. The popular nature of the hike is a reason I avoid this hike typically and head over to Tinker’s Cliff unless I am doing a sunrise hike. When Keith visited last year, I had planned to write about our sunrise hike and even took a GPS track on it. However, that hike was completely in the fog.

About 1 year to the day, Keith visited us again so we gave sunrise another shot. As you can see, it was quite a nice success. Given we hiked mostly in the dark, I headed up there again to take some updated pictures of the trail for this report a month later during the peak foliage season. With Amtrak restarting train service to Roanoke from D.C the week I’m publishing this post, hopefully this will be just in time for you to plan a southwest VA getaway.

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virginia hikes: Compton Peak via AT from Jenkins Gap to Chester Gap, November 9 2019

As the fall colors start to taper, we headed out for a hike at the northern tip of Shenandoah National Park. What we found was the leaves were pretty much gone at higher elevations and the vista views were mostly brown, we did find some nice foliage in the woods at lower elevations where we would have typically been in a tunnel of green during the middle of the year. For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.orgVirginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Bottom Creek Gorge loop, November 3 2019

Foliage season is always a fleeting prospect. One day of bad weather and it’s all over. At least that’s how it seemed this year as a heavy wind storm with tornado advisory passed Southwest Virginia a few days after peak weekend. I headed out on the trails after the storm and found much of the foliage on the ground. At least Bottom Creek Gorge hike has some cascades and a waterfall to hold our attention.

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For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.org,  Virginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Cascades Trail & Barneys Wall, October 26 2019

My first hike when I first moved to Southwest Virginia was to the Cascades and it is part of the typical initiation for Virginia Tech students to the area. Through my years here, I’ve hike this multiple times and it is different in each season. With peak foliage upon us once again, I headed back for another hike.

In comparison to my report last week in the Northern Park of the Shenandoah and earlier this week in the George Washington National Forest, the Cascades are further west and predicted to reach peak foliage earlier. And indeed, I hit the peak right on for the first time on this hike.

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For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.org,  Virginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Mount Pleasant loop, October 24 2019

Again I was making the good ole I-81 drive, so time for another update on the fall foliage here in Southwest Virginia. In comparison to my report last week in the Northern Park of the Shenandoah, the regions here in Southwest Virginia is reported to change earlier. For my hike, I saw plenty of yellow leaves in the process of changing while others have already fallen. There weren’t too many red and orange yet. This lead to a generally muted, but still good foliage. I would guess the peak is still to come, but soon.

For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.org,  Virginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Franklin Cliffs & Hawksbill Mountain loop, October 15 2019

As fall rolls around, it’s time for me to start my foliage watch. My favorite time to hike here in Virginia is during peak foliage, but the past 2 years has seen muted colors in the area. On this day in mid October, I was commuting from D.C. down to southwest Virginia, so a stop in the Shenandoah National Park was a welcome break in the drive. I found the foliage is still in the very early stages of changing. For weekly reports, you can also check out Virginia.orgVirginia Department of Forestry reports, or Shenandoah National Park.

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virginia hikes: Devil’s Marbleyard via Belfast Trail, November 4 2018

The fall foliage hiking season seems to be getting shorter and shorter each of the last couple of years. This year it was nearly all green one week, peaked for one week, and gone the next. During the beautiful and fleeting peak weekend this year, Whitney and Matthew joined me for a hike and scramble up Devil’s Marbleyard. For future updated foliage report for in SW VA, check out Virginia Department of Forestry Report.

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This report is supplemented by pictures of my past hikes.

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