Trip Report: Hurricane Mountain

Picture this: a cool fall afternoon.  Light, crisp breeze.  Reds and oranges and yellows dotting the mountainscape in front of you, to the side of you, all around you.  A field of dark green pine, a field of bright yellow birch.  Soft patches of sand beneath your feet.

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Serene.

Beautiful.

This is the picture I painted for Mark of my first trip up Hurricane Mountain in the fall years ago.  We were packing up our gear for his first hike up Hurricane in the winter of 2017.  However, that hike and the one we did last weekend would end up being nothing like my first beautiful fall hike.

Instead, picture dark and moody.  Low clouds and spitting snow.  Imagine icy wind whipping through every layer of clothing.

But oh Hurricane, you are still one of my favorites.

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Hurricane Mountain

Trailhead: 3.5 miles on Route 9N, off Route 73, North of Keene

Distance: 7 miles, round trip (although the sign says 6)

Elevation: 3,694′

Elevation Gain: 2,000′

This mountain features a firetower at the top, and in each of my three hikes that tower has been in three different states:

  1. In complete disrepair, stairs removed to discourage brave climbers.
  2. Fixed!  Beautiful!  Open cabin and magnificent views!
  3. Roof is literally in the process of being blown off.

This mountain is reclaiming it’s authority, and it’s happening in a pretty bad-ass way.  Mark and I both recognized we didn’t need to be made a lesson in how powerful nature can be, so we snapped a few pics and ran for cover.

I literally ran, because the wind was brutal.  And it was cold.  Which is a real shame, because the near-360-degree views are astonishing.  I’ve never not been amazed by the expansiveness of the Adirondacks from my little perch on top of Hurricane Mountain.

But this hike really is worth the trip.  As long as you’re prepared.

Get ready for the climb.

You really do go up!  Other mountains give you a little gradual incline for a mile-or-so to warm up before the up.  Not the case with Hurricane.  Your warm up is the up!

Get ready for the wind.

This is one of those mountains where you’re more likely to have a windy day than a calm day.  In the spring, fall, summer and winter, bring a coat.  Or an extra coat.  Keep in mind that we’ve done a season or two of winter hiking with temps as low as 15 degrees, and this was the only hike I’ve ever felt my usual winter attire was not adequate.  So be safe and bring extra.

Get ready for that view.

It’s pretty cool.

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Happy Plant a Flower Day!

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It’s National Plant a Flower Day!

From my seat over here in growing zone 5b, I’m instead going to take the time to plan my flowers for the up-coming season.

Because the ground is frozen.

And we still have about six inches of snow on top of it.

(Know your growing zone?  If not, check HERE.)

On the ticket: my favorite geraniums, lots and lots of geraniums.  We have a family history of growing these beauties in Southern California, so it feels like important pieces of my story are here with me as I spread them around the inside and outside of my house.

And thanks to Mark, they’ll spread even further around my house as he has tentatively agreed to build window boxes, in which I will fill with the reddest of red geraniums I can find!

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Not geraniums, but pretty, nonetheless!

Friends, I hope this nearly spring day is filled with warm, happy, and hopeful thoughts of new growth and new life; because in the darkness of winter, there is always the promise of spring!

And happy birthday to the best dad in the world ❤

I’ll plan a special flower just for you!

Adirondack 46er: the good, the bad, the exhausting

This is a post with 100-page potential. (I first mentioned this hiking challenge HERE.)

The collection of memories and experiences (both good and very, very bad) are enough to fill a lifetime of stories, but because I am a lady of few words, I will condense a quest to hike the 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Park into 140 characters or less:

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But I’m actually not doing my favorite place in the whole world justice to reduce it to a few words; although, even a million words, a million pictures can’t really describe just how epically cool the Adirondacks are.

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Views of Mt. Marcy from Haystack Mountain

And there was NO better way for a North Long Beach girl like me and Downtown Albany boy like Mark to explore the highest points in the park than to take up this massive challenge, to push and cry and feel the burn.

Many hikers we’ve met along the trails have similar experiences.  The cliffs on Saddleback Mountain are ridiculous.  Blake Mountain is deserving of the most middle-est of fingers.  Allen Mountain, *sobs, just sobs.  But part of the “joy” of this experience is joining with your fellow Adirondack comrades over beers and pies and ice packs to trade war stories.

So when I tell you to give the #ADK #hikelife a try, and I say “trust me, it’s cool.”  Just trust me, it’s cool.

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Stacie trying to stay dry on a soggy hike.

But in case you need more, here’s more.  In as few, yet concise, words as possible, this is Mark and me on The Good, The Bad, and The Exhausting in our quest to hike the 46 High Peaks.

The Good.

Stacie: I have so many good experiences, so many memorable things, not just the WOW at the summit.  But I will say, at the top of Nippletop Mountain I had an honest-to-goodness moment.  We say the word awesome, but I literally felt the word AWESOME.

Mark:  The day we hiked Sawteeth, Gothics and Armstrong Mountains was one of our longest days up to that point.  After 15 miles I felt great and I realized I could do any of them!  I also enjoyed discovering new things, gaining knowledge, and becoming an experienced hiker…and not being “newbs” anymore! Now the Adirondacks feels like home. 

Stacie:  And we made some great trail BFFs!

Mark:  ….car camping is pretty cool, too.

The Bad.

Stacie:  Allen Mountain.  A million times Allen.  Not because of anything other than when we hiked this monstrosity:

  1. We got maybe two miserable hours of sleep in my car the night before.
  2. It was cold and rainy the whole day, the entire 20+ miles.
  3. We weren’t used to no-sleep hiking, poor conditions, or that distance.
  4. Wet and slippery slides; imagine hiking up waterfalls, endless waterfalls.
  5. At the summit, oh that glorious summit! we were in a cloud.

Mark:  Starting our first high peak, Cascade Mountain, I hit my head and sprained my ankle before we even made it a quarter of a mile.  And then there was the time I hit the wall between Blake Mountain and Mount Colvin.  Sitting in the pit between the two mountains, I knew I had to climb back up Colvin but I was DONE.

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The Exhausting.

Stacie: That one time I actually cried on a trail.  Uncontrollably and from physical and mental exhaustion.  We were on our way down from Mounts Skylight and Gray and took a wrong turn.  That mistake added two miles to a 20+ mile hike.  I may or may not have said “leave me here,” and meant it.  This is the big hike Dax did with us.  It was an excellent lesson in paying attention to your distances and your junctions, because when you miss a turn you could find yourself heading in the complete opposite direction.

Mark: There were so many times we were so tired.  Our Cliff Mountain and Mount Redfield day was memorable.  Waking up at 3am to make the drive up north by 6am, hiking for 16+ hours (through so many bogs!) before finally making it back to the car at 10:30pm.  Then driving home.  It ended up being a 22 hour day.  Kind of exhausting.

But wait, there’s more!

Ending with our worst and most exhausting moments on the peaks doesn’t exactly make the most convincing argument that the ADK 46er journey is worth the effort.  So let me leave you with this: Mark and I started dating six months before we hiked our first High Peak, Cascade Mountain.  From there, we shared some epic adventures.  We had each other for encouragement.  Together we laughed our way through the awkwardness of changing sweaty clothes in the car and pooping in the woods.

And then…

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Mark and Stacie on Rocky Peak Ridge

I’m going to marry my adventure partner.  On the top of Whiteface Mountain.  This summer.