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Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Recently, I took a short trip to Passaic County in North Jersey.  While in town for the day, I decided to hike a short trail at High Mountain in Passaic County. Even though it was cloudy, there was a faint view of NYC.

I was surprised by how quiet the trails were in the middle of the populated area.  In fact, I didn’t hear any car traffic and only saw two people on the neighboring golf course at the very end.  (That’s right, no one on the trail!).  There are a few loops you can do and you can get a hike of about 6 miles if you desire.

I will say, there are sections of trail that can get muddy after heavy rainfall and I was glad I had my Goretex (waterproof) Brooks Cascadia.

While the trails are well marked, finding the path in the beginning was tough.  It starts right near the traffic circle.  Once you get on the trail, it’s easy to follow.

In order to see the NYC skyline, the hike is only about 1.6 miles.  It’s somewhat steep but nothing rigorous. Once you get to the top, you can see a great view, but you can also stand on the rock nearby and get an even better view.  It was cloudy when I went so I didn’t have a picture-perfect view.

Here are a few photos:

Here is the start from the traffic circle.  Since there is no “trailhead”, if you can’t find it just walk around the entire traffic circle.

High mountain passaic county nyc

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Even had some deer spotting

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Overturned tree

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

View of NYC

Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

Neighboring Golf Course where I saw the only people of the trek.
Hiking High Mountain with a View of NYC

In all, if you’re looking for a local hike with a good view of NYC, High Mountain in Passaic County is a good one.

I had a great time and would definitely go back.  Hopefully when it’s a little bit more clear!  It’s great if you are looking for something with a view, or even with pets, or kids.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked with a view of a City?

What is your favorite hiking shoe?

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Training Last Week: Working and Running at 12000 Feet

Training Last Week: Working and Running at 12000 Feet

So much to unpack from last week and weekend.  To say it was one of the best weekends I’ve had in awhile is an understatement.  I don’t even know where to start.  Training last week was good.  Even though I positive split like a boss, I had a decent “first workout back,”,  Then as most people know, over the weekend I ran the hardest running race I’ve done.  Can’t get much better than that!

Monday: 20 minutes easy
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy
Wednesday: 12X400 road/90 seconds rest (average 6:10)
Thursday: Am 30 minutes easy/PM: 2 miles Colorado
Friday: 45 minutes easy Colorado
Saturday: UnderArmour Copper Mountain Trail 25k (2:58)
Sunday: Rest and travel home

Thoughts:

There isn’t much to unpack there.  All of my runs were just that, easy.  I don’t have too much exciting about them because there wasn’t too much excitement that happened.  I ran easy.  My easy 2 miles in Colorado was a 2 mile (26-minute run) through the trails we were going to be running.  Running those miles, made me wonder, how the heck I would finish the trail race.

Took me about 26 minutes to run 2 miles but the view was worth it.

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12X400 Workout:

The workout started well, and the first 6 averaged around 6 minute pace.  The second 6, however, just felt like a brick hit me and I couldn’t get my feet to move any faster.  I didn’t hurt injury-wise, but it was a reality check that I haven’t been doing speed the last few months so I won’t go as fast as when I was.  The second 6 averaged about 6:20 which with some work I hope I can progress faster than that again.

Copper Mountain Trail Race (2:58)

The Copper Mountain Trail Race was one of the best races I could hope for. I was running an intense trail race in Colorado, something I’ve never done, at an altitude I’ve never done.  I haven’t felt that nervous for a race since my first marathon, the NYCM.  I had no idea what to expect, and my only goal was to finish.  Making it to the top, I didn’t feel sick at 12000 feet of altitude, but to be honest, I think it’s because I hydrated well and took my time.  My slowest miles were definitely in the beginning.  They weren’t the hardest climbs, but I didn’t want to take it too fast.

The hardest parts (for me) were actually the technical downhill climbs towards the bottom.  Because I run (and walk) on my toes, my calves are far stronger than other areas of my legs.  I got passed by far more people on the downhill (maybe about 10 or so?).  I am very proud of my finish.  I had no idea what to expect and had zero expectations.  I could have finished in 4:29 (the cut off was 4:30) or the time I did and feel happy about it.  I’ll have a full recap soon.

The next week will be a lot of TLC.  I would like to get in a workout, I will be traveling again for a big family big birthday.  Probably no races next weekend, as I am going to the Taylor Swift concert ha!

Posts from the Week:

Today is My Birthday

Hiking Indian Wells State Park

Questions for you:

What has been your hardest race to date?

What is the highest elevation you’ve ever run? 

Parthenon Diner (Branford, CT)

Parthenon Diner (Branford, CT)

On the way home from Rhode Island last month, we decided to stop at the Parthenon Diner in Branford, CT.  It was an easy stop less than half a mile from the highway, so it made sense.  After eating out all weekend, we wanted something easy, simple, and light.  I didn’t do much of any research and saw the Parthenon Diner was right off the highway.

Atmosphere: B
When we arrived, we saw it was reviewed as one of the top diners in CT.  The atmosphere is big with plenty of space.  There is nothing out of the ordinary, but it does have plenty of room, so you never feel as though you’re sitting on top of anyone.

Coffee: B
The coffee was good, and I have no complaints.  It was definitely stereotypical diner coffee and slightly burnt.

parthenon diner branford ct

Food: B
There are plenty of options at the Parthenon Diner.  One thing, I appreciated was the number of specials. When you eat out for several days in a row, saving money at restaurants seems like a bigger deal.  I ordered the beet and goat cheese salad with steak off of the specials menu.  There were plenty of beets and goat cheese, but it could have used a few more greens.  The steak was that of normal diners.  It tasted as if it had been frozen and recooked.  It wasn’t bad though, and I would order it again.parthenon diner branford ct

Service: C
Our waitress took a while to come to our table, and we quickly realized it was because she was on her smoke break.  She was friendly but definitely smelled very strongly of cigarettes.  From what I can gather based on timing, she went on a smoke break a couple of times.

Cost: $
For my salad and coffee, the coast was $15.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I liked the Parthenon Diner and would go back.  It’s an easy stop right off of 95.

Atmosphere; B
Coffee: B
Food: B
Service: C
Cost: $10-20
Overall: B

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
Do you ever order off of the specials menu?
Do you like beets?

Dayton Diner

Dayton Diner

Recently I was in Dayton, NJ.  Not to be confused with Dayton, Ohio! Anyway, I’ve driven by the Dayton Diner a few times but the timing has never worked out to stop.  It’s not too far away, and finally, last month it worked out.

Dayton Diner NJ

Atmosphere: A
When I arrived around 5:30, it wasn’t crowded at all.  In fact, there were only 3 other parties in the restaurant.  I was hungry, so I wasn’t complaining.  The outside is about as “diner” as you can get.  It’s a big, shiny, metallic building.  The inside is the same, and as has plenty of booths, tables, and a full-length bar. The interior is one big open room so it can get noisy, especially with some of the old school songs.

Coffee: B
The coffee wasn’t good or bad.  There was nothing to write home about either.

Dayton Diner NJ

Food: C
The menu isn’t available online which is not a big deal, but you never know what to expect.  Will it be a massive menu with 10 pages of specials or a small 2-page menu?

The Dayton Diner is the first of those, and there isn’t much the menu is missing.  It has everything from breakfast to lunch and dinner.  There is a page of daily specials too.  I was hoping to find a special that spoke to me, but there wasn’t anything I was craving.

I ordered the Taste of Greece appetizer which came with grape leaves, pita bread, cucumbers, and cucumbers. It was a simple but good appetizer.  It did lack anything unique or unusual.

Dayton Diner NJ

I ordered their burger with bleu cheese.  The patty itself was massive, but it wasn’t anything unusual or unique either.  I would be surprised if it wasn’t a frozen and reheated patty.  The french fries were a similar story, and while the food was okay, it wasn’t the best ever. I was disappointed because I really wanted to like the Dayton Diner!

Dayton Diner NJ

It’s unfortunate because based on the atmosphere, I wanted to love the place!

Service: B
Our waitress was friendly and refilled our beverages.  The food itself came out decently fast.  She was friendly, and the manager was friendly as well.

Cost: $
For my appetizer, burger, and coffee, the cost was $20.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
The Dayton Diner was a decent stop.  It wasn’t my favorite, nor least favorite diner.  It’s an easy stop along the turnpike at exit 8A.

Summary:
Atmosphere: A
Coffee: B
Food: C
Service: B
Cost: $10-20

Overall: B

You Can See All Diner Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite appetizer?  Where is it from?
What is one restaurant near you, you’ve wanted to go?

 

Today is My Birthday

Today is My Birthday

As my unoriginal title indicates, today, July 12th, is my 28th birthday.  Some years I write X number of things I learned before age X.  Other years, I don’t even write a post about my birthday.  Some years I spend with family, some with my husband, friends, and others I’ve spent alone.  I haven’t learned a heck of a lot new since last July 12th, and there is no way I could write 28 things I’ve learned since 28.

Last year, I decided I wasn’t interested in material items or junk.  I stopped buying new clothing, and in 2018 my New Year’s Resolution is not to buy any new nonathletic apparel (I don’t go crazy on buying athletic apparel either).  After bills, I’ve chosen to spend my money on experiences rather than things.  Experiences like races, diners, and traveling to random places.  Things that I can look back on and think: dang that was fun.  I don’t need or want any useless junk.

As I reflect upon that, I’m also sitting on an airplane to Denver, Colorado.  I’m doing something out of my comfort zone, and maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’m going to run the Copper Mountain 25k.  My only goal is to finish.

I haven’t been secretly training for trail races, but after running the Xterra 10k a few months ago and having fun, trail no longer terrifies like they once did.  I’ve spent a lot of time this spring and summer hiking and it’s become just as fun to me as running. It will be my longest run in a long time, the highest altitude I’ve ever run, and maybe not my wisest idea.  As I mentioned on my blog, when the opportunity first presented itself a few weeks ago, I said no but thought: why not? I have nothing to prove, and it’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m really looking forward to running this weekend.

A few highlights of adventures from age 27:

Visiting the Grand Canyon

grand canyon north rim

Our vacation last year that we booked two plane tickets to Denver and a rental car with no plans.  We ended up driving 2600 miles and seeing amazing places.

road trip through colorado

PRing at the Phoenix Half in February Phoenix Half marathon feb me running

10 Mile Hike through GrayBeard Trail (North Carolina)

Air Force Marathon (half for me) with my husband and in laws

Apparently, I decided to nap and close my eyes right there…

Private Flying over NYC

flying over nyc

Those are just a few of the many memories I have from age 27.  I can only hope 28 will be just as fun!

Questions for you:

When is your birthday? How did you celebrate last year?

Any last minute trail tips?

Hiking Indian Wells State Park (Connecticut)

Hiking Indian Wells State Park (Connecticut)

While in Connecticut last month, we decided to take a nice hike at Indian Wells State Park.  It’s not a rigorous hike but a pleasant hour or two walk around the park.  It’s family-friendly, and right along the water with a beach if you want to swim or boat.  The hike itself was about 2-3 miles, and we went to the lookout point as well as the waterfalls.  A few people were swimming in the waterfall, so I didn’t take many photos as that might have been a little awkward.

If you hike about a mile, you’ll reach a small overlook which was a beautiful spot to relax.  We spent a few minutes looking out and then hiked to the “main attraction” of the waterfall.

The free-flowing waterfall has a deep pool at the base that we saw many people jumping into. We did as we weren’t interested in swimming at all. If I were to go swimming in the area, it would probably be at the waterfall because it’s not far from the beach and entrance and a more secluded area.

The hike itself was quiet, and we didn’t see a lot of people throughout the couple hours we were out there.  Here are a few photos from the adventure.

The hikes all start with climbing a short but well-maintained series of steps.

indian well state park connecticut

indian well state park connecticut

View from the look point into Connecticut

indian well state park connecticut

Into the Creekindian well state park connecticut

indian well state park connecticut

In all, it was a great walk, and I would definitely go back.  It’s a short and easy hike if you’re looking for something to do with kids or a dog.  Of any of the parks, it’s one of the most family friendly we have been too.

Here are other hikes I’ve done this Spring and Summer:

Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Exploring Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking to the Cape May Lighthouse
Hiking Bear Mountain in a Downpour
Hiking through Belleplain State Forest

You can see all hikes I’ve done here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever swam near a waterfall?  Do you prefer going to a beach, pool, or lake?  Or none LOL.

What is a fun hike local to you?

Training Last Week and Doing Something Crazy

Training Last Week and Doing Something Crazy

Last week was a decent week of training.  I am slowly getting back into more of a consistent grind.  While I’m not training for anything, I’m running and enjoying it.  Since I’ve either been injured or burned out, this ahead of most summers so far.  In fact, I haven’t run consistently over the summer in 3 years!

I hadn’t planned on not racing this week, but the cards fell that way. I had contemplated running a race on the Fourth of July. However, the heat and my mood didn’t want too.  I ran an easy, but humid run which was fine for me.  I have no regrets about it.

Monday: Short Walk
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: Easy 60 minutes
Thursday: Short Hike through Hike Point Park
Friday: Easy 60 minutes
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: 15 miles with last 7 at 7:05

Thoughts:

I said I was going to race more in July and then didn’t race at all last week!  Ha, plans change.  As I mentioned, on Wednesday I opted to sleep in, enjoy an easy run, and relax versus race.  Over the weekend, there wasn’t anything local that worked with my schedule.

Make good choices, like not wearing black on days like these.

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Sunday Long Run (15 Miles with last 7 at 7:05):

On Sunday, I did my longest run in a couple of months.  The weather was ideal, and I felt great the entire time.  I am extremely pleased with how it went. Over the Winter and Spring, I was consistently doing 14-15 miles on Sunday.  It kept my endurance sharper and made me, “half marathon ready.”  Meaning: You can finish a half marathon well.  Will you PR with that alone?  No, but you won’t feel like peeling over at mile 11.  Which leads me to my next exciting announcement.

Next Weekend I’m Going to Colorado:

Next weekend, I’m going to run the Underamour Mountain Series trail 25k at Copper Mountain.  I haven’t been “secretly hiding it and training for trails races,” but the opportunity presented itself recently and I’m going to take advantage of it.  When I was first contacted but someone, a few weeks ago I turned it down.  As most people know, I have social anxiety and have had some a relatively bad setback over the late spring.

This sort of spontaneousness (the kind I can turn down), is something I generally do.  Then I thought for another hour, and I was like, what am I thinking.  This is a once in a lifetime oppertunity, and I can’t turn it down.  It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to challenge me both physically and mentally!

It is entirely out of my comfort zone, and my only goal is to finish.  The cutoff time is 4.5 hours.  Since I’ve been getting into hiking a lot this Summer and it looks like such a fun combination of both hiking and running.  Do I have any expectations?  Absolutely not, but I’m really looking forward to challenging myself.  I’ll be the first to admit, training wise, it’s not my smartest decision but my goal this summer is to have fun and try new things.  I

There is a 20% discount code for any of the Underamour Mountain Series including Copper, Killington, and Mt. Bachelor.  I can’t believe I’m doing something so off the wall crazy, but you only live once right?  I never thought of myself as a trail runner but after enjoying hiking so much, I want to give it a shot. I think it will be the hardest running race I’ve ever done.

Posts of the Week:

Walking around Belleplain State Forest

Recovering from Workouts

June Training

Irish Festival 5k (20:25)

Questions for you:

Do you have any tips for trail racing?

How was your week of training?

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