Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lake Placid Again October 2013

All Pictures at the bottom

As I continue my search for the next perfect place to live I return to Lake Placid. After living in Botswana for the last 7 years, where you can live like a king for just a dollar a week, this search for a
new home has been difficult.

I was hoping with all the entitlements created over the last 70 years in the United States, I could pull off a low cost of living here. So far it has been rather difficult.

Why am I returning to Lake Placid after just visiting back in July? Three reasons: 1) Though a fairly expensive place to live, there are a ton of outdoor activities year round. Boating, Swimming, Hiking, Biking (Road and Mountain), Camping, Running, Skiing (Downhill and Cross Country), etc. I wanted to give Lake Placid a second chance as a place to settle before I disqualify it. 2) This part of the United States has beautiful scenery as all the leaves change color, as the seasons change from Summer to Fall, I am hoping to get some beautiful photos of these colors. 3) Since I have not found a suitable place to settle in the United States I decided in 2014 I would head back to Africa, this time East Africa. Tanzania here I come! Tanzania is home to the tallest mountain in Africa and the only free standing mountain in the world. Going to Tanzania and not climbing Kilimanjaro would be like going to Ireland and not having a beer, going to France or Italy and not drinking their wine. Climbing Kilimanjaro, while not hugely difficult will require some training. I thought Lake Placid was a perfect
place to start that training.

We arrived, Margarite is traveling with me, on Sunday afternoon, it is early October and the colors are spectacular. As we traveled west on state route 73 the sun brought out all the vibrant colors of the leaves almost making them look like they were on fire.

We had rented a small apartment on Main Street, through the website This is the first time I used the site, I would not give it rave reviews from usability, though it had a large selection of places to rent for short periods of time.

We chose an apartment above some store fronts, it turned out to be perfect, recently renovated it was in top condition. One feature that really caught my eye was a balcony that looked over Main Street
giving us the perfect perch to people watch while recovering from our activities.

After our arrival and unpacking, we went for a quick walk through town to scope out a place for dinner. Main Street backs up to Mirror Lake so all the stores / restaurants on the north side of Main Street look out over Mirror Lake. We chose The Brown Dog Deli and Wine Bar, while the name does not do it justice, I would highly recommend it for a great meal and beautiful views. The Restaurant was more elegant than it's name. The food was more gourmet than the name. The wait staff while polite and very nice, was very close to what you would expect from a Restaurant named "The Brown Dog Deli and Wine Bar". We had a long day traveling so after dinner we walked back to our apartment for a great nights sleep.

Today, once the fog burns off we are going to do one loop of the Ironman bike route. While I have done this ride before we thought what a great way to see the colors. The weather here is awesome very dry, 45 degrees at night 72 during the day. We decided to sleep in, let the fog burn off, the temperature warm, and the sunrise before we had off for our 56 mile ride.

We left on the ride at a little after 10:00 AM the sun was just peaking over the mountains as we
headed south east out of Lake Placid toward Keane, the first 14 miles is a rolling down hill ride, with some steep curvy sections. What a beautiful day, the temperature was warming to what would be the high of 72 degrees. It was still cool in the shade, which was nice as it was getting hot when we hit the uphills of the rolling hills. As we entered Keane we made a left onto route 9N. We would now pedal on a mostly flat section with a few rolling hills until we reach Jay, New York.

At Jay we had to make a decision, do we go left on Route 86 and start heading back to Lake Placid cutting 11 miles off the ride. Or do we do the out and back as the course dictates. Without hesitation Margarite yelled, "Turn Left! Turn Left". As we made the sharp left on to Route 86, we started a long 4 to 5 mile climb.

This climb really got our hearts going, after the long hill we entered Williamstown were Route 86 again took a left. We continued on Route 86 for about 12 miles of rolling hills. Right before entering Lake Placid we hit three hills a medium, small, and large hill. Painted on the pavement of each were the words, Momma Bear, Baby Bear, and Poppa Bear, respectively.

We rode up Main Street and returned to our apartment at 1:15 PM it was lunch time. We traded our road bikes for our mountain bikes and rode through town to a great organic market / deli I had eaten at the last time I was in Lake Placid.

After lunch we headed back to the apartment, though not by the direct route. We decided to ride around Mirror Lake and take a look at some of the lake front homes, very spectacular.

The afternoon will be some R&R.

After our naps we headed up to the Whiteface Lodge. The Whiteface Lodge is where I stayed the last time I was in Lake Placid. Lorenzo owns a unit there. Lorenzo had introduced to two of his friends
Deb and Jeff we were meeting them for drinks.

Today is going to be a very active day, Lorenzo gave us a list of must dos, when in Lake Placid, and today was the day to do them. Before we headed out I went for a quick run around Mirror Lake. What a great morning the air was crisp, the temperature was 50 degrees and the sun was just coming up over the eastern mountains. The distance around the lake is just under 3 miles a great way to wake up.

Margarite and I had a nice breakfast before we headed out. First on the list "Jump off the Rocks Edge at the Flume". Lorenzo explained we could jump from a 12 ft, 25 ft, or 40 ft rock. Unfortunately or fortunately I did not read Lorenzo's driving "Flume Knob" was what Lorenzo was speaking about.
directions as well as I should of. His directions said the Flume was on the right, right after the Ausable Bridge, we parked on the left at a trail head. The name of the trail head was Flume Knob. It was an easy mistake to assume the 1.5 mile hiking trail with a moderate to difficult rating, called

As we put on our hiking boots, the temperature had reach a perfect 70 degrees it was now 10:00 AM. The hike started along the Ausable River, but quickly turned north leaving the river's side as we climbed and climbed and climbed.

Though it was a mild 70 degrees and virtually no humidity, both Margarite and I were getting warm. We had to stop a few time to remove a few layers of clothing. Forty five minutes into the hike we
completed a mile, and had reached an elevation of 1,850 feet, meaning we had an elevation gain of 650 feet from the start of the hike. I am not sure which we were looking forward to more the jump Lorenzo had described into the river, or the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches I had packed which we would eat when we reached the Flume. We continued hiking, going higher and higher. Margarite got ahead of me and I lost sight of her. The trail was well marked with blue medallions affixed to the trees about every 10 yards. Eventually I could no longer see the trail and I could no longer hear Margarite in front of me. I started bushwhacking, I knew the trail had to be close. Then from above I heard my name, the trail had ended at a huge rock, that lead to another huge rock, that was the peak of the mountain we were at the top, we made it. Margarite was calling my name.

While a very beautiful spot the river was thousands of feet below and more than a mile and a half
away. Somehow we knew this was not a safe place to jump from. We sat and enjoyed our lunch and the most beautiful view. After lunch we called the Lake Placid Tourist Information also known as Lorenzo.

After a quick discussion we realized our mistake and headed back down the trail. I quickly found out hiking down is harder than hiking up, faster but harder.

Once back in the car we continued on route 86 and found the pull off Lorenzo was referring to on the right. We hiked a short 200 meters to the river. There was a spectacular water fall lined by rock walls. There were several spots that you could easily jump from, easily clearing the wall and landing in the deep pond formed by the water fall. The the water looked inviting, we had both cooled from the hike and as inviting as the water looked, it felt a little frigid so we decided to pass on the jump.

Next on Lorenzo's list is "High Falls Gorge"  while a private venue at a cost of $10.00 it is worth
every penny. You hike a half mile along the Ausable River, and see how the river cut into granite. Throughout the hike there are signs explaining the history of the river and the small canyon. There is also a small replica of a mineral mine that once stood on this site. We spent about an hour and enjoyed every minute.

We had now completed two of Lorenzo's activity's plus a bonus activity. Next on the list was Copperas Pond, just a few miles drive from "High Falls Gorge". This hike was a short half mile to Copperas Pond. We hiked about a third of the
way around the pond, past a permeant lento used for camping. Once we found a great rock, we sat at the edge of the pond. We sat just looking at the beautiful pond, while enjoying our second Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich of the day.

After our hike back to the car, it was 2:30 in the afternoon our next stop was the Olympic Sports Center. The Olympic Sports Center has many activity from Bob Sled rides to Mountain Biking. Unfortunately at this time of the year the center is only open on the weekends. It was Tuesday so we were out of luck.

We headed back to town, bought some postcards and did our research for Wednesday activity.

Lorenzo had designed a 20 mile three peak high hike for us. In his description he said make sure you bring plenty of water, food, and head lamps, as it will be dark when you return from the hike. While we were up for the challenge we were a little concerned about the risk, as we were just starting
our training for our Kilimanjaro Hike.

Jeff and Deb had told us skip Lorenzo's hike and hike Cascade Mountain. Our researched agreed with them.

For dinner we went to Desperados a great local Mexican Restaurant. The funny part, we both had barbecue, pork for me, chicken for Margarite. Though not Mexican it was excellent.

Today was the first day of our Kilimanjaro training, 138 days until we summit Kilimanjaro. The Cascade Mountain Trail Head is 8 miles out side of Lake Placid towards Keane. Once we registered for the hike we were off, the hike would cover 2.5 miles one way with an elevation gain off 2,000 feet, we would be climbing from just over 2,000 feet to just over 4,000 feet. Today was the first day since we had been here that it was overcast. We had always woken up to fog, but today the haze was much higher and not burning off. This gave the woods a cool most feeling. As we hiked, the trail lead through a steep creek bed, we basically walked from rock to rock, climbing in elevation as we went. Every so often we would be teased with a flat section.

We had borrowed some hiking poles from Lorenzo, the poles were invaluable, helping us step up on
to the larger rocks, and keeping us from slipping on the moist rocks. After 2 miles of hiking we hit a
sign .3 miles to Cascade Mountain, we had just entered the clouds. The fog had not burned off and the wind had picked up. While in the woods we had not noticed the strength of the wind, now we could hear it whipping above the trees. We continued on the trail until we hit the base of the summit. The fog thickened and we could now feel the effects of the wind. The temperature dropped and it was time to put my jacket back on. The summit was a grant dome, almost like half dome in Yosemite Nation Park. We continue to the top of the summit where we found the summit marker. The fog was so thick we could only see about 10 feet in front of us. Cascade Mountain is known for it's views though not today. We found an area that was sheltered from the wind and had a snack of cantaloupe wrapped with prosciutto and some slices of apples.

When we had hit the signed that said the summit was .3 miles ahead there was also another sign that said Porter Mountain was .7 miles to the right. It had taken us one hour and forty five minutes to cover the 2.5 miles to Cascade Mountain. It was still early so we decided to take the trail over to Porter Mountain. The trail
immediately headed down, it was a very similar trail, except it was going down, and the way the wind was blowing the fog was acting more like a fine mist so the rocks and ground were very moist and in some places muddy. Going down is harder on your muscles than going up, you are constantly using your muscles to fight gravity (keep from going head over heels). Now the hiking poles not only stabilized you, but acted like an extra brake.

Eventually the trail bottomed out and we started up again. Once we hit the summit of Porter Mountain we were fully engulfed in fog, it was an erie feeling. We took a few pictures and heeded back to the car, based on the signs we had 2.9 miles to get back to the trail head. The trail would descend rapidly, before gaining elevation, my muscles in my gluts and quads were starting to
ache. This aching gave me some concern as I consider myself in fairly good physical shape. Kilimanjaro will be 7 days of hiking with significantly more elevation gain at a significantly higher altitude. I had to keep reminding myself this was the first day of training.

As we continued I focused on using my muscles, keeping my balance and working to have good technique. The last thing I wanted to do was get hurt. As with most activities Margarite was not having any issues.

Once back at the trail head we drove down to the banks of Cascade Lake and had a very well earned lunch. It was now 3 in the afternoon and we headed back to the apartment for a little nap.

We went to dinner at the Black Bear Restaurant Steak and Seafood. While the food was fine, the view
of Mirror Lake was great, the service was very friendly, but what you might expect at an Applebee's not what I would call fine dining.

We had a long day my muscles were aching so off to bed I went.

Last day in Lake Placid, we woke up and decided the weather was perfect for a swim, plus we thought it might ease some of the soreness in our muscles. What a refreshing swim, I covered a little less than three quarters of a mile in just over 30 minutes. Margarite did not do as well.
While I had a full wet suit, Margarite's is sleeveless. The water temperature was somewhere between 50 and 60 degrees, The air temperature had warmed to 55 degrees. Without having sleeves on her wet suit the cold water engulfed Margarite's body. It was as if she was swimming in an ice bath, she lasted about 10 minutes. It took her a good hour before she warmed back up.

After the swim we packed up, realized we have a lot of training to do before we climb Kilimanjaro, and we only have 137 days of training left.

Not sure my next destination but I will keep you posted.




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