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Oakland Diner

Before hiking, my husband and I wanted to go to a diner.  Good thing we stopped, because we were out there a lot longer than anticipated.  Anyway, the Oakland Diner was close, so it looked like a good stop.

oakland diner

Atmosphere: A
The Oakland diner has one of the best diner atmospheres I’ve been too.  I’m not sure if it was once a fast food restaurant with the giant glass windows that are reminiscent of a Wendy’s.  The entire diner is decorated with movie themes, drawings, and honestly anything you can imagine.  It’s an eclectic but fun style.

Coffee: B
The coffee was brewed hot and fresh, but I could have used more refills.  There was nothing that stood out, good or bad.

oakland diner

Food: A
Like most diners, the Oakland Diner serves almost everything.  They have plenty of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.  They even have an entire page of salads and healthy choices.

We arrived around 11, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted.  Ultimately I ordered off the specials and went with Mexican steak and eggs. It came with steak, eggs (I chose scrambled), Guacamole, refried beans, and wraps.  I like medium rare steak, and it was cooked perfectly.  It was one of the best diner steaks I’ve had.  Plus, half the plate was dedicated to guacamole and who can argue with that?

oakland diner

In all, I was pleased with my meal.

Service: B
The Oakland diner was busy when we arrived.  Our waiter was all over the place, and I could have used more drink refills and had to ask another waiter.  The food did come out quickly which is always a plus.

Cost: $
For the special and coffee, the cost was $18.

Overall Thoughts/Summary:
I had a great experience at the Oakland Diner.  I would come back when we go hiking again in the area.

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

Closeby Diners I’ve Been: Nutley, Park Wayne, Pompton Queen

See all 164 Diner reviews here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite way to eat steak?
What is your favorite breakfast?

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Hiking Ramapo State Forest

Right before my husband left, we went on a trip to Ramapo State Forest.  It just so happened that we got snow the day before.  Luckily I had my Gortex Brooks Cascadia trail shoes which kept my feet warm and dry.  If I didn’t have them, I probably would have been miserable.  Since the trail was covered with snow, we got a little bit lost but still had a good time.  We were out for a long time (from 11:30-4:30) so when we got back to the car, I was exhausted.

Ramapo State Forest is located in both Bergan and Passaic Counties.  It is possible to see NYC. However, it was just a little too cloudy when we went.  We plan to go back in the Spring when it’s warmer (and hopefully not frozen).

When we got there it was fairly empty.  I imagine in the spring and summer, the small parking lot is completely full.  It started with a few small but slippery climbs.

Ramapo State Forest hike

Like I mentioned, I was happy to have my Brooks Cascadia Trail shoes because with the ice and snow, my feet stayed completely dry and I didn’t fall which seems to be the theme here.

Ramapo State Forest hikeMore steps to climb

Ramapo State Forest hike

Because the trails were covered, we got lost a couple of times.  You are never too far from main roads so for the most part, you can hear traffic off in the distance.  Which is actually good, because if we got too lost it would have been dark.   Guess who didn’t want to hike in the ice and the dark while lost?  We also crossed between Bergen and Passaic Counties which was cool enough to merit a photo.

Ramapo State Forest hike

Finally, we made it to the Lookout Point.  Since it was so cloudy, we just took a selfie and turned out.  I was disappointed we couldn’t see New York, but after viewing it from private flying, not a lot will compare.  We decided to take photos in our ugly sweaters.  We wore them all along, but as you can tell it was too cold to just hike in them.  In fact, I was freezing taking that photo alone.  The things you do for the internet…

Ramapo State Forest hike

As it got later and later, we realized how close it would be to dark when we got back.  We had started at 11:30 but hadn’t planned to be out until around 4:30.  Getting lost and being slower in the snow, caught up to us.  The moment I saw the car with five minutes of daylight to spare was one of the best moments of the trip. HA!

Ramapo State Forest hike

I liked Ramapo, and I would definitely go back in the Spring or Summer when the trails were more clear.  It was definitely an adventure when we went.  It reminded me of backpacking in Upstate NY when we went to college there.

You can see more hikes we’ve done here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever hiked through the snow?

Do you have an ugly sweater you love?

Brooks Cascadia 12 Shoe Review

When going out west on Vacation, I knew I needed a trail shoe.  My husband and I have hiked several times on the east coast, but many people indicated how rocky and rigorous trails could be out west.  Thinking out loud, there have probably been times I could have used a trail shoe while hiking out east too.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

The Cascadia seemed like a good option.  I’ve had success with many Brooks Running shoes including both the Ghost 10 and Glycerin 15.  Instead of getting a hiking boot, I opted for the gortex (weatherproof) Brooks Cascadia.

Brooks Cascadia Fit:

The Gortex version makes the shoe stiffer and less breathable but that is precisely what I was looking for.  I wanted a shoe that would protect me from harsher elements.  That being said, it still fits appropriately.  In my running shoes, I’ve worn between 10-11 wide.  I purchased a pair of 10.5 shoes and have been fine.  The upper is constructed from a double mesh material that I found highly flexible, breathable, and provided a durable layer of protection.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

Brooks Cascadia Ride:

Personally, I’ve used these more for climbing and hiking versus running on trails.  I’ve used them a couple of times to run, but for the most part, they have been great hiking shoes.

There is a lot of cushion for a trail shoe.  My biggest fear was getting a trail shoe that was firm or rigid.  Since we have done 10+ miles of hiking before, my feet would not be happy with that.  The cushion of the Cascadia is soft like the Ghost but hard enough to grip the ground appropriately.

It doesn’t have the grooves of a rigorous hiking boot, but did have enough for the hikes I was doing.

The Gortex version allowed me to cross several streams without too much of an issue with my feet getting wet.  Something that was ideal.

Final Thoughts:

I like the Brooks Cascadia 12, and I’m so glad I decided to purchase it.  Since purchasing, I’ve done a variety of trails including Zion National Park, Colorado Springs, and even hiking in New Jersey.  It definitely makes a difference when hiking.  I’m glad I finally took the plunge and purchased a pair.

Questions for you:

Do you have a separate pair of trail shoes?

Have you ever used a Gortex or weatherproof product?

Training: 2 Workouts and No Races

Training: 2 Workouts and No Races

I didn’t race last week but got two high-quality workouts in.  Lately, I’ve been enjoying workouts more than racing.  Partly with my stomach, and partly with the weather.

Monday: Easy 60 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 60 minutes
Wednesday: 12X400s with 400 jog recovery
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy 90 minutes
Saturday: 2X3 mile with 1 mile jog in between
Sunday: 10ish mile Hike

Thoughts:

Easy runs were just that, easy.   They were boring and uneventful but that is also how I like them.  On Sunday, my husband and I went for a cold, and snowy hike in Ramapo State Forest. It wasn’t the most evelation we have climbed, but due to conditions: wet, cold, icy…it was not the easiest.

Wednesday: 12X400s (with 400 jog in between)

6x400s at 6 min pace
4x400s at 5:56
2x400s at 5:53

Saturday: 2X3 miles

I have always been intimidated to do workouts on the treadmill.  I’m worried I’ll pull, hurt, or break something because the treadmill makes you run faster than sometimes your body wants or needs.  I was happy the workout went well and much better than anticipated.

In all, I’m proud of how the week went.  I do feel like I’m progressing with my fitness and I am excited to race when I’m tapered to see where I’m at.  I believe with rest and on a good day, I could run about 18:30 in a 5k right now.  The stars have to align for that.

 

Posts from the Week:
Hiking through Wharton State Forest
November Training
Cpt Gregory T Dalessio Memorial 5k (19:02)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite workout?
Where do you like to do your workouts: road, track, trail, treadmill?

Hiking through Wharton State Forest

My husband and I have hiked a lot.  We’ve been too many states and mountain ranges and we enjoy it.  We might even enjoy hiking more than running.  Something about being out there in the peace is so much fun.  You can read about any our hikes here.

Anyway, you would think we would have already hiked somewhere local and close to home in South Jersey…yet until recently, we had not.  We both had the day off but weren’t in the “mood” to drive 2 hours north to go hiking so we googled a few trails around us.  Someone mentioned the Botana trail in Wharton State Forest so we decided to look into it.

As most people know, south jersey is flat so it wasn’t a mountainous trail.  In fact, it was one of the easier trails we’ve done and we did see a couple of people with pets.  Definitely a much easier trail than last month in Colorado! The trail itself is about 50 miles long and they do host a no frills ultra there.

The Batona Trail itself is about 50 miles longer and wraps itself from the shore to inland.  We hiked about 5 miles and saw a couple of hikers doing the entire trail.  Hiking the entire trail looks like it would be a lot of fun!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

At the end of our personal hike, there is a water tower you can hike up too.  The day we went, it was closed (and there are security cameras, so I don’t recommend jumping the fence).

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

I know we will be back though.  I think it would be a lot of fun to do the entire 50-mile hike over the course a few days.   Who knows, maybe end at a diner!

Hiking the batona trail wharton state forest nj

To be honest, hiking the Batona Trail opened my eyes that there are gorgeous hikes in South Jersey.  I had always stuck up my nose to hiking in Southern New Jersey but I’m glad we did and I know we will be back.

Other NJ Hikes:
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking the Delaware Water Gap
The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:
Do you like to hike?
What is something interesting you’ve recently found in your area?

Hiking Grey Back Peak Trail

The final hiking post on vacation was also in Colorado Springs.  The Grey Back Peak Trail is about 3 miles and follows a ridge up to a summit.  It’s a fairly easy and quiet trail, and we didn’t see a single person or horse out there (apparently, you can ride your horse).

It starts here on a somewhat single track trail.  You don’t climb much but just follow the straightforward trail for about 1.5-1.7 miles.

Grey Back Peak Trail

There are plenty of rocks to stand and take photos on, if that is your sort of thing. It’s one of the most scenic hikes we have done thus far because you have a view almost 100% of the time.

Grey Back Peak Trail The final hiking post of vacation was also in Colorado Springs. The Grey Back Peak Trail is about a 3 miles and follows a ridge up to a summit. It’s a fairly easy and quiet trail, and we didn’t see a single person or horse out there (apparently, you can ride your horse there).
Once we made it to the end, we were rewarded with a great view overlooking Colorado Springs. We saw several military planes flying too and from the bases. I joked, we can never truly get away from planes. 😉
Grey Back Peak Trail
On the way back down, I wanted to climb up one of the rocks. Most people know by now how clumsy I am, so it was better thought than done. With a running start, boost from my husband, and several attempts I made it up. It makes me look more bad@$$ than I actually am.

In all, it was a great short hike. We were out for about two hours. If you are looking for something relaxing with a great view, I highly recommend the Grey Trail in Colorado Springs.  It was a short but quiet hike.  With a view the entire time, it was one of my favorites!

Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon
Hiking 7 Bridges (Colorado Springs)

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)
Snooze (Denver)

Questions for You:
Do you have a favorite trail?
Have you ever been horseback riding?

Hiking 7 Bridges (Colorado Springs)

To answer the obvious question:  Do you hike over 7 Bridges?

The answer is yes!

My husband and I were looking for an easy going trail in Colorado Springs a few days before we left.  We had done a shorter run in the morning and just wanted something active.

The 7 Bridges seemed like a fun and unique trail.  The path takes you over 7 bridges and stream crossings.  Each bridge looks relatively similar but it’s fun to conquer each one and have “something” to look forward too.

You begin by walking on an easy dirt railroad bed. After about .7 miles, you reach the bend on the road which begins the 7 Bridges trail. It’s about 1.7 miles one way.

I thought it would be fun to take photos at the Seven Bridges but for some reason, I accidentally deleted bridge number 6.  Rest assured, it does exist.

So here we go up the Seven Bridges:

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Number 1

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Number 2

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Three

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Four

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Waving at 5

Insert 6 here, which for some reason I deleted from my phone.

7 bridges hike colorado springs

So excited for bridge 7, that I took a nap while standing

The trail itself is simple and easy and there were plenty of younger kids, as well as a few dogs.  At the 7th Bridge, it just abruptly stops.  I do think there could be a sign that says, end or something.

After we made it 1.7 miles, we noticed a person running with their dog along another trail so we decided to explore.  So we decided to keep going at the top.  Ultimately it led us out towards Jones Park and to some of the most incredible views.

We actually walked on the side of a mountain.  I wanted to show how good I was at hiking, but ultimately nearly fell…so there is that.

7 bridges hike colorado springs

7 bridges hike colorado springs

7 bridges hike colorado springs

Almost to Jones Park

If you are ever in Colorado Springs and looking for a fun hike, I highly recommend the Seven Bridges!

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder
Hiking Zion and Bryce Canyon
Visiting the Grand Canyon

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)
King Chefs Diner (Colorado Springs)

Question for you: What is your favorite hike or area to hike?

 

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