With the official start of the winter I decided to try to bag a few winter peaks hikes over the holidays. With a week off from my day job I thought I might be able to get six peaks. This old body thought otherwise, but I managed to get three peaks in and a first time hike with a friend.
Giant and Rocky Peak Ridge – 26 DEC
I left Schroon Lake at 7:30 on a spectacular morning. Crystal clear bluebird day save for a low cloud here and there. I pulled in to the ridge trail parking area behind a group of three. They got out just ahead of me but we were all on the trail by 8:30. There was a dusting to an inch of snow, and a couple nights of single digit temperatures had taken care of any mud. I bare-booted up the switchbacks and made pretty good time.
I hit the first significant ice around 2700 feet and stopped to put on microspikes. Continuing up the views were incredible on the open ridges. There was plenty of ice the rest of the way, but there wasn’t anything that made me uncomfortable with microspikes and poles. I was happy that I’d touched up the points . I saw the group of three on their way back down, just below the Giant summit junction. They tried RPR and said there was a lot of ice and turned back. One of the three had no traction aids.
I had been debating whether to push on to RPR and hit Giant on the way back, but decided to do Giant first. I made the summit of Giant at 12:30, refueled and took some pictures. More spectacular views until another low cloud came in. I packed up and headed for RPR. I met a second group of two just below the summit on their first high peak hike, winter or summer.
I hit the most ice of the day on the back side of Giant and saw the place where the group of three turned around. It wasn’t bad climbing down, but I wouldn’t want to try getting back up it without traction aids. I got into the col and up to the RPR summit by 2:30, my turn around time. I took a few pictures from the summit, where the views were absolutely spectacular.
I headed back down the way I came up, stopping in the col to refuel in a sunny spot out of the wind. I got out my headlamp and got ready for the hike out. I made the Giant summit junction just after sunset and started down. The open ridges that had such fantastic views on the way up were pretty cool in the dark, too. Still crystal clear, now seeing stars and a sliver of a moon, with the occasional car headlights passing on 73 below. The rest of the trip down was uneventful, except for a little tumble about a half mile from the trail head, I was out of the woods by 8:30 and on my way home.
Porter – 02 JAN
My first hike of the new year was also my first hike with a partner since Shelby & I hiked Blue Mountain two summers ago on a trip out from Michigan. I’ve been trying to get out for a hike with Mark & Sharon Piper (of the Schroon Lake Bed & Breakfast) for months, but we just couldn’t get our schedules to mesh until now. This was a much different day, from the Blue Mountain hike with Shelby and the solo hike on Giant & RPR the previous Monday.
We were on the trail from the Garden by 6:30 with headlamps. Just a dusting of snow, the ground was frozen for the most part. We donned traction aids (microspikes for me, yaktrax for Mark) about a half mile in, as it was just slippery enough on the first downhill. Crossed Slide Brook on an ice bridge in the dark, only to find the log bridge on the opposite bank, remnants of Irene damage, I assume.
Continuing up we hit had snow showers on and off, adding to the snow that got deeper as we climbed. By the time we got to Little Porter there was about 4″, and up to almost 8″ on the summit ridge. We heard the wind howling in the trees all along the ridge, and by the time we made the summit it was snowing and blowing up a storm. We took a couple summit pics with the snowman. We had planned to try to get Cascade as well, but Mark had had enough after about 15 minutes on the summit, so we headed back down.
The snow had completely filled in our tracks on our way back down, but we had no problem following the trail for the most part. As we got into the switchbacks below little porter the snow got pretty sticky and started balling up on my microspikes. That’s when I noticed that the front inner chain on one of my microspikes had pulled through the rubber grommet. I’m not sure if it’s related to the balling (I knocked ‘em off before it got bad), but I didn’t have 75 miles on these. Had zip ties in my pack and could have made a repair, but I decided to just hike out on them as is.
I’ll admit that I was a little disappointed when Mark didn’t want to push on to Cascade, but at the end of the day I was pretty happy to be out of the woods with some daylight left and not chilled to the bone. And, besides, this way he might actually hike with me a second time, something not many others have done.
Posted on December 17, 2011 at 12:02 am by Chef Shelby
Got the old Flip camera out today, freshly installed batteries and a desire to make a video of something…anything really. We’ve (I’ve) been wanting to start posting videos to our blog, but really didn’t want to have my well-aged, chubby face spread all over the screen. Every time I bring up making a video, Mr. P seems to disappear, so I decided to have a go at it myself today. Took me a few attempts working the camera and trying to make the chips at the same time. In advance, please accept my apologies for the amateur camera skills. But at least I’ve confirmed I can successfully film something, even if in pieces, and paste it all together. I won’t go so far as to call it a “movie,” but it could at least rate as video content.
Posted on December 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm by Chef Shelby
Mr. P’s may be a smokehouse, but don’t forget about Kitchen Therapy. Together, we’ve got a bunch of amazing holiday gifts that make it even easier to shop local! And since foodie gifts are all the rage, we’ve got a few to choose from that are freshly made and available today.
Sweet Chipotle Walnuts
Candied walnuts with a little dash of chipotle and other spices for a sweet, savory and crunchy snack. $6
Honeyed Rosemary Almonds
Raw almonds are candied in honey and fresh rosemary for a treat that is a little salty, a little sweet, very aromatic and flavorful. $6
Just about any cake flavor you can imagine, hand-rolled into a truffle, dipped in Belgian chocolate and topped with a variety of awesome goodies like crushed candy canes, chocolate sprinkles, almonds, candied hazelnuts, coconut and the list goes on and on. We have Chipotle Chocolate, Citrus Cake, Bacon Bourbon and some assorted boxes as well. If you have a favorite flavor of cake or cookie, I can make it into a truffle – no extra charge for special orders although I do ask for at least 24 hour notice please! Eight cake truffles in a gift box $10
What is divinity you may ask? Divinity is a cross between a meringue and fudge, often flavored with fruits and/or nuts. Sweet and sometimes a little taffy-like, it’s a throwback to old school Christmas when we got the likes of hard ribbon candy and root beer barrels. All ready to go in a holiday gift tin. $8
Chocolate Espresso Snow Caps
Dense, fudgy cookies that are rolled in confectioner’s sugar before baking and when they get hot, they crinkle and crack, no two are the same. Packed in a holiday gift tin. $8
Mr. P’s Gift Baskets
Two baskets to choose from. Although they aren’t really baskets, more of a galvanized bucket to go with the rough and tumble world that is barbecue. The $25 basket includes a bottle of House Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Hot Sauce, Mr. P’s House Rub, and sample of Sweet Chipotle Walnuts. The $50 basket includes everything listed above plus a large bag of Sweet Chipotle Walnuts, a bottle of Sweet Sauce and a Mr. P’s “Everything’s Better with Bacon” Apron. Baskets are wrapped in clear cello wrap and are ready to give.
Mr. P’s House Rub
Available for the first time! A rub is a versatile blend of spices that can be used hundreds of ways in the kitchen. We use this spice blend on the pork shoulders, rope sausage and even the Portobello mushrooms before they go in the smoker, and we use a variation of it for the brisket. We just started using it as a seasoning for our fresh cut fries; the kettle chips get a healthy dose of this rub when they come out of the fryer. The other night, I sprinkled it on fresh popcorn. It can be used with beef, pork, chicken, veggies; I even mixed it with some homemade caramel to make spiced popcorn balls. $12
Don’t forget about the special gift certificate offer….purchase a $25 gift certificate and get a free bottle of Mr. P’s sauce, a $5 value. Keep it for yourself or give it to that barbecue or hot sauce junkie in your life. You know they want it. Offer expires December 15, 2011.
Posted on December 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm by Chef Shelby
Tomorrow is a big day in Schroon Lake, Santa arrives at the Strand around 6. It seems like there’ll be activities going on all over town tomorrow, the Chamber has something, the fun starts at the Strand around 4, and not to be left out, we’re doing some goodies for tomorrow too.
This week has been a week of prep work, not just for Santa’s arrival, but for the holiday sugar season in general. Time to dig out the family recipes for candy, cookies, cakes, stocking stuffer treats and pretty much anything else that could be described as a “FDD.” What is FDD, you may ask? Frosting delivery device for the amateurs out there.
Just doing a quick status check. Popcorn balls: 75+ completed, including caramel and red. Bacon and green still left to do. Chocolate espresso snow cap cookies: done. Divinity: done (pure sugar mixed with dried cherries and almonds.) Kind of the consistency of fudge. Chipotle chocolate cake truffles: 100+ truffles formed and waiting to be dipped in chocolate. Almost forgot the gingerbread cupcakes with eggnog crème filling and eggnog frosting I made yesterday. Christmas is the marathon of all baking holidays, with a little more than 2 weeks to go.
Plan for tonight: wrap the popcorn balls, dip the truffles in chocolate, make honeyed rosemary almonds, some assorted flavors of cake truffles and maybe a batch of some other cookie flavor. Attempt to eat something green for dinner that isn’t made of frosting.