Saturday, June 27, 2009

Finally Summer

It took a while, but we are finally getting some summer weather in Upstate New York! Our air conditioner went in almost a whole month later this year than it did last year. I'd say the cooler than normal weather was saving energy, but I know people that actually were turning the heat on in their house well into June! Summer always seems to be shorter than the other months, partially because our weather patterns, but I'm sure it seems too short to me because it's my favorite season.

I love summer camping, whether it is in the camper or in a tent. I hope we get a chance to go on our annual summer tent camping trip with Sister and her husband this year. It's definitely not the highlight of my husband's summer but he's a good sport about it.

There seems like there is so much more to do in the summer as far as fun activities. We catch a couple Major League Baseball games, miniature golf, biking, hiking, and the drive-in movies.

Even being inactive in the summer can be pleasant, like reading a book or making jewelry on a blanket in the sun. Grilling has become our "thing" for my husband and I. We don't see much of each other so grilling on his day off has become an inexpensive outdoor activity once a week.

I have to admit that I dislike most of my winter clothes... Summer clothes are so much more fun for some reason! Check out my summery items in my Etsy shop to accessorize your summer wardrobe.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lazy T Crochet ~ Knit and Crochet Fashion Accessories

Since I've known Lazy T Crochet, or LazyT as I call her, on Etsy, I have admired her work! She knits and crochets the cutest fashion accessories including scarves, wraps, shrugs, and jewelry! Her style suits many tastes with her original, modern, and traditional patterns.

She loves working with yarn, especially with hand-spun wool and cotton. Her items are a great price, and that's not even including the items in her sale section!

Coral Wrap Fringed Stole

Soft Red Handbag

Green Apple Cloche

Green Wide Shawl or Capelet

Loop D Loop Long Blue Wrap Scarf Fiber Necklace

The items above are my favorite items in her shop. You can read about her projects on her blog and shop at her destash store on Etsy called LazyStuff.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pillsbury Mt Fire Tower: Bike and Hike

My guide books warned of bad road conditions between Rt 30 and the parking lot at the trail head. When it comes off-road driving with my car, a little Corolla, I am always afraid it's going to get stuck somewhere and that I will not be able to get it out. My husband and I had a bad experience driving it to a campground down in the Catskills last summer, I was in a state of hysteria and I wasn't even the one driving!

My dentist's assistant had mentioned that she rode her bike in when climbing Pillsbury, so we decided to do it that way. We probably could have safely driven in farther than we did but I assured Sister that biking in would be a lot less worse than being stuck in the car with hysterical me.

WOW. For the 3+ miles from where I parked to the trail head we had to alternate walking with biking, and we encountered a lot of unfriendly sand. There were parts where I said "I could have totally gotten my car in here" followed by.... "I am SO GLAD I didn't take my car in here." However, there were a few little sedans in parking lot that apparently made it in without harm. Nonetheless, it certainly added to the adventure. We would not have gotten to see the snake if we drove in. And we wouldn't have been able to say we did it!

For an easy 1.6 mile walk to the summit, the trail seemed to last forever! It probably had something to do with the 3 mile bike ride in, but after a while we began to have tower mirages, which is a phrase we made up for when you are so ready to see the tower that you actually start to think that trees and branches are the tower up ahead.

On the way up we saw toads, wild flowers which Sister can name, and a dead moth with a pattern on its underside that resembled two eyes staring up at us.

The tower is climbable but the cab is not accessible. The fierce wind forced us to hurry back down to the ground not giving us time to look for other mountains such as Snowy and Wakely which also have fire towers.

There is a nice little bench and a wooden ergonomically designed makeshift chair surrounding a fire pit where we enjoyed our lunch.

Round trip from the time we left the car on our bikes to the return to the car was about 4 hours. This included a total of 6 miles biking and 3.2 miles hiking. Not too bad.

Elevation change: 1337
Total Elevation: 3597
Round trip from trail head: 3.2 miles

Click here to see all the pictures.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Memorial Day Hike: Wakely Mountain Fire Tower

We began our Memorial Day at 7am leaving home and driving all the way up to Wakely Mountain through the towns of Warrensburg, Wevertown, and Indian Lake. A little more than 11 miles outside of the town of Indian Lake, down Cedar River Road, the trail head of Wakely Mountain sits. The road off of Rt 28 is a little scary, but fortunately does not require four wheel drive. In the winter it is only partially plowed, up to 4.6 miles before the trail head, requiring snowshoes or a snowmobile to get through the remainder of the road.

The trail begins on what appears to be a snowmobile road, where the Warning sign is posted regarding the washed out road. Don't fear - it is easily accessed on foot! The elevation change for the first mile of the trail is barely noticeable. A sturdy footbridge helps you across a brook along the way. We encountered a toad and some wildflowers along the way, including a painted trillium, violets, and some hobblebush.

It's not the best marked trail, but it is pretty obvious where you need to go. At one point you will come across a clearing straight ahead, as the trail veers off to the right. The clearing is the site of an old beaver pond. As you continue along the trail, you will see a side path off to the right which would lead you to a helipad site, visible from the tower.

We were expecting much worse for the final stretch which is an approximate 1100 foot elevation change over about a mile. However, the tower actually snuck up on us sooner than expected. Not too difficult for a three mile distance up a mountain that is only 256 ft short of being a high peak! The mosquitoes were more numerous than the black flies, and laughed at the bug spray despite our multiple applications. They weren't biting as much as they were just annoying, reminding me how I need to learn how to breathe with my mouth closed!

At 70 feet tall, this is the second highest standing tower in the Adirondacks - it is the tallest one that is currently climbable! I believe that most of the towers we have climbed had a chicken wire-like netting around each platform, but this does not, so watch your step because it's a long ways down. One platform on the top half of the tower has a loose board, so beware! I had to sit down on the topmost platform; between the wind, the insecurity of no protective chicken wire , and the massive height of the tower, I had my first experience of fire tower vertigo.

Not only did it lack chicken wire protection, but there was a ladder into the cab of the tower as opposed to stairs, and of course the ladder doesn't have anything for protection on the sides either! Before the stairs and landings were built, the ladder used to be the only access to the cab - can you imagine?! While it was bad timing for me to get vertigo 70 feet above the ground, for some reason I was more worried about dropping my camera than anything. Brave sister went up the ladder first, I followed after regaining my balance and breath. There are some amazing views from that high up! We could pick out Snowy Mt, which we had climbed earlier this month. I found the three high peaks that I get confused and can never tell which of the three is Mt. Marcy. The observer's cabin looked like a little Monopoly piece and we could see the helipad through the trees. A graffiti-tainted poster of Smokey the Bear is peeling off the wall of the cab and unfortunately there is some other graffiti inside the cab, but not as bad as other towers that we've been in. One lonely glass window remains, I assume the rest have all been broken.

On land we tried the door to the cabin, which was unlocked. The interior was surprisingly pristine, unusual for an unlocked and unsupervised cabin. With the aid from the flash of our cameras we could see two cots and a night stand in the bedroom. The kitchen table displayed some antique pickle and flour jars.

The hike took four hours including tower, cabin, and sunbathing time, shorter than what we had expected. It was a comfortable temperature and a beautiful day! Check out all the pictures from the hike on my Flickr.

Below is a video that I attempted to make artistically with most of the pictures that I took and a few from Sister's collection. It was inspired by the beautiful views from the tower and brief vertigo spins attributed to my newly found mild fear of heights. The song used is "Sober" by P!nk.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 2009 Outdoorsy Carnival

Welcome to the June 1, 2009 edition of an outdoorsy carnival.

Advice Column

Luca presents Plan a Perfect BBQ Party posted at Home and Family Info.

Gregory E. Rouse presents Wilderness Survival posted at Wilderness-Survival-Skills Blog, saying, "We live our lives in a modern society where we know many points of reference and can almost always find help. The problem (or blessing depending on how you look at it) with the wilderness is that when trouble hits, we’re usually on our own."

Barbara Boucher presents TherExtras: Camping is life. posted at TherExtras, saying, "Encouraging parents to take their children camping."

Strenua presents Step out from the shade, sunshine is good for you. posted at Strenua's expedition along the road to health and fitness.

Aquatic Life

Marina K. Villatoro presents Daily Costa Rica - Sunset posted at The Travel Expert(a), saying, "Hi, this is an aquatic life category picture of a sunset on a beach!"

Joshua presents Tips for Learning during Summertime posted at Family and Parenting, saying, "Even though it is summertime, it is a good idea to keep your child's mind active."

Green Thumb

FitBuff presents Top 4 Raw Food Diets Resources posted at's Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog, saying, "Raw food diets are gaining popularity, and if you're already outdoorsy, the simple and natural aspects of this style of eating may appeal to you too..."

Brooke Allen presents Lost in Translation posted at Rambling Brooke.

Lindsay presents Should You Order Beneficial Insects for Your Garden? posted at Off the Urban Grid.

Gregory E. Rouse presents Gardening Plants - Friends and Foes posted at Raised-Bed-Gardening Blog, saying, "My last post talked about plant families, which is a great way to start your planting, but once you understand basic families, there are families that like to be neighbors and even thrive around each other. Learning which plants are friends and which plants are foes is the way to take your garden planting to the next level."

Jessica Reeder presents Agritourism | Uprooted posted at Uprooted.

Bobbie Whitehead presents Plant A Row For Hungry posted at Bobbie Whitehead.

Buck Weber presents Six Great Gardening Websites posted at THE BUCK LIST, saying, "I have put together a few favorite sites that could be beneficial for both those just getting started gardening and the old green thumbed pros."

Sandy Wong presents Guidelines and Basic Tips of Drilling Drainage Hole on Garden Container | Gardening on Cloud 9 posted at Gardening on Cloud 9, saying, "We know that good drainage is the key to healthy plants, but the containers that we find most attractive are often the ones without drainage holes. But we can drill the drainage holes by ourselves, and it is much easier than what most of us would expect. All we need is an electric drill and steady hands. And here, let me show you how to drill holes on our containers."

Strenua presents Grow your own 5 a day posted at Strenua's expedition along the road to health and fitness.

In the Woods

A Keeper's Jackpot presents Poke-O-Moonshine posted at A Keeper's Jackpot.

Gregory E. Rouse presents 21 Tips on Sleeping Warm posted at Wilderness-Survival-Skills Blog, saying, "Sleeping warm is one of the key factors that can make or break an adventure. For a good nights sleep on your next adventure, you may choose to use some or all of the tips listed."

thebarefootbadger presents In Search of the Cassowary posted at The Barefoot Badger, saying, "An tropical encounter with Australia's second largest land bird."

Shannon ODonnell presents a little haze…where are the mountains? posted at a little adrift: a rtw travelogue, saying, "Trekking the Poon Hill circuit of the Annapurnas."

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Fun Day Trip With Kids, Thomas The Tank Engine Style posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "Thanks!"

Open Air

Gregory E. Rouse presents Eagle Cap Wilderness-Lakes Basin posted at Wilderness-Trails Blog, saying, "The Eagle Cap Wilderness lies in the heart of the Wallowa Mountains in Northeastern Oregon on the Wallowa -Whitman National Forest. It was the summer home to the Cheif Joseph Band of the Nez Perce tribe and was used as hunting grounds for bighorn sheep, deer and to gather huckleberries."

Luca presents Planning a BBQ Clambake Party posted at Home and Family Info.

GP presents Roundup’s on the Rider’s Creed « Manely Montana posted at Manely Montana, saying, "Nothing like the great outdoors to make you realize your potential"

Von Marshall presents Custom Golf Clubs posted at The Golf Blogger - Golf Tips - Strategies - Golf resources - Learn to Play Golf, saying, "Every golfer’s physical capability and swing is distinctive. plenty of of today’s best golf clubs can be custom fit for lie angle, shaft type and length, grip type and size. Custom fitting golf clubs involves several easy measurements and a fast self-assessment of your game. This custom golf club has become over a fad that even not so professional golfers check its waters."

Sean Reynolds presents European Motorcycle Trip posted at Creativity. presents Maitri Bagh, Bhilai: Part 1 posted at

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Pedestrian Plea posted at Mad Kane's Humor Blog.

Outdoor Olympians

Colin Timberlake presents My First Marathon: Remixes, iPods and Rookie Mistakes posted at, saying, "The story of my impromptu first marathon and how NOT to run one!"

A Keeper's Jackpot presents Bike and Hike: Warren County Bike Trail posted at A Keeper's Jackpot.


Peter Jones presents Trail Running South Boulder Peak Via Shadow Canyon: Getting Read for the Mountain Running Season posted at Rocky Mountain Raider: Telemark Skiing, Bouldering, and Trail Running in Colorado.

Strenua presents GB look to capitalise on home advantage at Euro Canoe Championships posted at Strenua's expedition along the road to health and fitness.

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