Giant of the Valley

Over Memorial Day weekend my dad and I tackled Giant Mountain.  This was my 7th high peak (and my dad’s 3rd).  It was quite the challenge I’ll admit, as it was well into the upper 80s, even on the summit.

We were camping at Schroon Lake for the weekend, and we left the campground for the half hour drive to the trail head at just after 6:30 A.M. I had done my research and decided to hike up the Roaring Brook Trail.


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Stay Charged

I love technology, and I love having my gadgets on the trail with me. But when power is an issue…that causes some recharging issues.  So I’ve purchased and used a few different battery packs that help.  Now, I don’t carry all of these with me at all times.  Depending on the trip, determines which ones I take.

Normally I travel with the following re-chargeable items:

  • iPhone 6
  • iPod Classic (only on overnight trips)
  • iPad Mini (only when camping at a campground)
  • Samsung ST150F
  • SJ4000 Camera
  • USB Fan

Anker Astro e5 Battery Pack

anker astro e5I saw this on a vlog from someone who through hiked the AT several times.  This is what they recommend.  If weight is an issue for you, this is a little on the “heavy” side and takes a good chunk of time to recharge, but it will fully charge an iPhone 6 at least 5 times. And the best part – its only $32.99 on Amazon! I love it so much I take it when I’m even staying in a hotel or visiting friends, I never have to worry about finding an outlet close by!

Eton Boost Solar

eton boost solarI purchased this before the Anker battery pack, I’ve toyed with selling it, but its super light-weight and it charges via the sun…I just can’t seem to part with that.  It will fully charge an iPhone at least twice. I have tried and can recharge with via the 12V cigarette lighter in my car, but it does take FOREVER. This retails for about $84.

Xtra Power Charger

xtraI have two of these.  They will fully charge an iPhone about once. I generally use this for my iPod or my USB fan. This will also charge via the 12V cigarette charge in my car, much quicker than the Eton. Retails for about $27

What are your favorite re-chargeable items to travel with?

Happy Trails!

Capturing Memories on the Trail

I am an aspiring photographer, and I love scrap booking and photos.  The memories that can last forever just by looking back at the photos.  I have tried many things on the trails, but I think I have finally found what works.  I have an awesome DSLR with interchangeable lenses that would, I’m sure take the best pictures ever on the tops of the peaks, but I am incredibly scared of taking that with me.  I have tried using my iPhone, but I’m either worried about dropping it in the brook we have to cross, or running out of space (you know that dreaded storage message you get).

So last year I broke down and purchased a point and shoot for just over $100.  The Samsung ST150F.

61FignAicXL._SL1000_With the use of micro SD cards I can take hundred of photos and not worry about running out of space, plus if I drop this its not as fragile as my iPhone and won’t shatter to pieces. It takes great photos and helps me keep those memories alive.

My most resent memory-capturing purchase was a GoPro knock-off.  I had been watching videos of people hiking on YouTube and want to capture some memories in video format.  The Samsung would do this, but its a little bigger, and not waterproof.  Now I love the idea of a GoPro, but I couldn’t justify spending $300 on that, when i found a perfectly good knock-off for $50 on eBay.  Let me tell you… this thing is the real deal too.  Though I haven’t had the change to take it hiking yet (coming soon!) I have been using it to video other things and the quality is pretty good. Its an SJ4000 mini video camera.

Original-SJ4000-WIFI-sj-4000-sj4000w-sports-camera-mini-camcorders-sj400-1080p-Waterproof-Cam-gopro-goMine is hot pink, and it came with every mounting and case possibility ever.  It uses an micro SD card just like my Samsung. Hiking videos here I come.

Happy Trails!

This is Alfred 2 – My GPS

I originally started out with a Garmin eTrex 10.  I unfortunately didn’t do my research and never realized that this has no map capabilities in the actual unit.  You can’t add them in either, so all you’re looking at while you use it is a blank screen with your track line.  We had some good times; I named him Alfred (you know like Batman’s butler) but overall he couldn’t help me with my sprilanking (okay lets be honest… I don’t cave dive – that’s just a cool word). FAIL.

So with eBay as a best friend I sold Alfred and purchased Alfred 2.  The Garmin eTrex 20.

etrex 20He is literally my best friend while hiking.  I love looking at the maps (Topo version 24K North-East purchased separately), checking out my stats and syncing it with the Garmin Basecamp on my computer.  All the maps, stats and profiles in my trip reports are from Garmin Basecamp.  Plus it just makes me feel safer in the woods with a device that could help me get out of being lost.

REMEMBER: don’t let a GPS take the place of good old-fashioned compass/map knowledge.  Technology has a funny way of not always working in the woods.

Happy Trails!

Shelter It

Your shelter while camping (or backpacking) can make or break your trip.  Believe me.  I remember camping as a kid with frustrated parents over rainy leaky tents!  (My parents have since upgraded to an awesome camper…cheaters…)

Anyways.  I have two tents.  Yes I know, for one person that seems excessive, and it probably is.

The first tent I purchased was the Eureka Apex 2XT tent.

apex 2xt

A two person (eh hem let me rephrase that ONE person if that).  No I’m sure to save on space for backpacking this would work for 2 people, if you have nothing but yourselves in the tent.

I really like to take this on weekend trips.  Its great for just me and all my things.

The second tent I purchased was the Peregrine Radama 4.


This is a 4 person tent.  I purchased this because when I go camping, I like to bring my comforts with me, and that one person wasn’t cutting it.  I usually take this on trips when I’ll be in the same place for longer than a weekend.  Its sets up super fast! And I’m a serious fan of  the gear/media loft.

I have yet to take either of these backpacking.  There are plans for this summer!

Happy Trails!

DIY Pen Roll Case

As you know, I LOVE PENS.  But I’m always at a loss for how to organize and carry them with me on the go, and I hate digging through a bag to find the color I’m looking for.

So in a recent Pinterest search, I came across these DIY colored pencil rolls.  So I set out to make on myself.

I wanted to make use of the material and things that I already have so I opted for this Parisian themed canvas like material (Seen it before? This is the same material I used for recovering the chair in my War Room.)


It was pretty easy to put together.

  • Cut 2 rectangles roughly 12″ x 18″
  • Sew with the front sides of material facing together, leaving about a 4″ gap
  • turn right side out and iron, then sew the edges to close the gap
  • fold bottom up about 4″ and sew up the sides.
  • then add vertical stitching about every inch or so to make the pen holders
  • I’m using just a normal pink hair tie to hold the roll together


The only thing that bugs me just a little is those 4 colored pencil highlighters stick out above the top.  I should have measured those before.  The good news is I use those often, so soon they will fit.


The thing I love the most is that I can unroll and easily see the colors I have with me, making it easy to find what I’m looking for.

For more detailed directions visit the Doodle Craft Blog post HERE that I used for directions to make mine.

Peak Bagging

One of the most important part of my gear is my packs.  I have several.  This is due partly to the fact that I LOVE bags (no matter the kind) and I previously worked for a company that sold sporting goods and I was able to get these bags for wholesale pricing.  I have a range of sizes to cover the different kinds (and lengths) of hiking that I do.

The Hydrapak Reyes

hydrapak reyes

I used this pack to hike both Esther and Whiteface.  That was 9 miles of hiking and this was great.  It was just large enough to hold the basics.  The water bladder held enough water for the trip.  It was not too bulky and was great for a summer hike, since extra clothing and layers was not needed.

The Vaude Wizard 18+4

vaude wizard

Great for fall trips this pack holds all the basics, water and has ample room for extra layers. I used this hiking Table Top and Phelps. It even expands to be a little larger just in case.  I also love that It has a rain cover built in to the bottom that untucks.  Its awesome!

The Vaude Optimator 38 Women

vaude optimator 28

This bag I have not had the pleasure of using this bag yet. Hopefully this summer my overnight backpacking trips will pan out and I’ll be able to use it. From what I can gather, its going to be a great pack.

The Vaude Brenta 30

vaude brenta 30

This bag I also have not used.  I purchased it before the Vaude Optimator. I probably should sell one of them because really – who needs two this size, but I can’t decide since I haven’t used either one which one I’d like to keep.  The nice thing about this one is it also, like the Wizard has the built in rain cover. The Optimator does not.