Memorial Day Weekend Part 1: Hiking Indian Head/Twin Mountain (NY)

The Indian Head and Twin Mountain hike is an 8.4 mile loop that involves steep scrambling (getting on your hands and climbing). Its difficulty was rated 10/10 according to this site, which I use quite often to find new places to go.

The first half of the hike had several sections of scrambling, which I enjoyed. The second half was pretty boring going downhill, with lots of rocks and twigs on the ground. The views were okay, not as grand as I had expected.

For activities on the way back to NYC: (on the next post)

So back to the hike.

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Indian Head first, then Twin Mountain. Follow the red markers to Indian Head.

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Continue with the red markers to Indian Head.

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Here’s where we went the wrong way. Once you see this sign, don’t follow it. If you do…

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This is when you know you’ve gone too far. Turn back. Go back to that sign. Find the red marker and turn into that path instead. The path wasn’t well marked, which is where we got confused.

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Outlook!

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Panorama. It was just an okay view.

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Some steep rocks. We saw a couple with 3 dogs trying to figure out which peak to hike up to. I wonder if they made it.

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Perhaps it would be better in the fall?

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Twin Mountain.

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Another panorama.

The way back down was pretty boring. It felt like we were walking in neverending forests. It took us about 5 hours total.

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This Mountain House rice & chicken was really good. Just add hot water.

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Dat camp lyfe.

 

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W Trek: Sunrise at Las Torres (Patagonia, Chile) (Dec 2015)

Trek time: 2 hours

So at 2AM, we woke up with our backpacks and clothes ready along with the most important things: headlamps & flashlights. Las Torres is what we came to here to see, since the park is named after the three towers.

Since we would be going back to the refugio after this sunrise hike, we left most of our things behind and carried only the essentials.

Tip: Bring hand warmers and a jacket, it is freezing up there at sunrise!

After a lot of scrambling in the dark (yay for headlamps) over large boulders, we got to the top to catch the sunrise.

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I love the color change

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You can see the moon. Turn 180 degrees and you see the three towers…

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Turn back around and you see Boo…

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As the sun beams touch the top of the towers, people are staring intensely.

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Some camp out on random rocks to sit for hours.

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After breakfast, we hiked to Refugios las Torres, which was to be the best refugio we stayed at with the cleanest facilities and best food!

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Refugios las Torres

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We were hungry so we got a chicken sandwich for pre-dinner snack, it was SO GOOD and juicy and tender.

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Menu

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Amazing pork for dinner. Definitely the best refugio in the whole trek.

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Finally, dessert that tastes like dessert.

We leave for Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas the next day. There are only 2 scheduled bus times that leave the park, so make sure you check the schedule beforehand!

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W Trek: French Valley (Patagonia, Chile) (Dec 2015)

From the previous post, after hiking from Las Torres to Los Cuernos, we stayed at the “domos” overnight. Breakfast was better than dinner, but as expected, it was not that great. The facilities were pretty standard. Bathrooms reminded me of camping.

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Here’s the dining area.

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We booked our meals ahead of time when we booked the refugios.

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We fueled up for our 10-hour hike!

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Waking up to a rainbow was pretty awesome.

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We started our trek towards the French Valley, and we were to go towards the direction of the rainbow.

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On the way there, it was so windy that people with bigger backpacks had to stop until the wind ceased to push them towards the edge. We layered up so that it was easy to take off or put on layers. The weather in Patagonia was indeed unpredictable. That wind was no joke.

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These were the markers that tell you you’re on the right path.

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We passed by signs to the other refugios.

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The glaciers! We actually caught a sight of an avalanche but it was done by the time I got to my phone (no picture, no proof!)

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There were some scrambling along the way.

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Most trails were well-marked.

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Here we are at the Mirador! (lookout)

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mirador

This was my favorite photo taken by my friend Olivia. We met a nice gentleman from Germany who helped us take photos too!

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Along the 10-hour hike, we ran into a bit of rain and it got chilly. Our Northface shells really helped.

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After this hike, I was exhausted. I liked that the refugios provided clean sleeping bags on top of the mattresses for us to sleep in. It was so comfortable I can’t imagine sleeping without them…

Travelogue: Arizona: Camelback Mtn & Grand Canyon (April 2016)

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Solotrips are fun in that you get to do whatever you want whenever you want. Naptime anytime. The only downside is not having a consistent photographer to take pictures of you. I loveeeeeeed Arizona and will definitely have to go back. There’s so much to do and eat.

For this trip, I booked 2 Airbnbs. One was in Paradise Valley and the other in Downtown Phoenix (for the next post). I took an Uber from the airport (prices are really cheap there). There are specific pick-up areas called “prearranged vehicles” that are basically designated just for Ubers.

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Paradise Valley is a really nice neighborhood, and I chose it because I wanted to hike up Camelback Mountain as soon as I landed. My Airbnb place was right near the Echo Canyon trailhead.

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This is where I stayed for 2 nights!

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It was only 10AM and the parking lot was full already. Good thing I only had to walk from my Airbnb.

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It was 90 degrees and sunny. Bring lots of water!!! The Echo Canyon Trail is very steep with lots of scrambling. It was a lot of fun and I met people from all over the country along the way.

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There were stairs and then there were railings to hold onto…

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Some wildlife.

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This was not an easy hike, especially in 90 degree weather. But I loved it.

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At the summit, you can see the city of Phoenix.

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It took about an hour & a half to get up there (stopped to take pictures) and faster to go down. Be careful, as it can be very steep.

The next day, I took a Viator tour to Sedona and the Grand Canyon.

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(The view from my Airbnb at sunrise)

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Walked through some residential areas to go to the meeting place. The tour guide/driver, Robert, picked me up right on time at 6:40AM. The company that Viator used was Detours of Arizona. I didn’t want to drive 3 hours to the Grand Canyon and only had a day to spare, so this was a great way of seeing it (next time, I’ll go back to hike & camp).

Sedona first.

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Robert gave us time to wander and showed us cool places to take photos. And then gift shops, of course.

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This was half of my gigantic sandwich that was included in lunch. So tasty.

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When in Arizona…

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Next, we drove to the Grand Canyon.

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

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We went along the South Rim and stopped at different spots to take pictures.

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

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Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

Phoenix, Arizona (April 2016)

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Definitely coming back to the Canyon. It sure is grand.

I loved living next to a mountain. On my last night, my Airbnb hosts gave me a homemade blueberry protein shake. They were both ultra-athletes and told me about the running routes nearby, so I took their advice the next morning.

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The neighborhood was really something. Although it was hot, it wasn’t humid. “Paradise Valley” was aptly named. I felt like I was in Hawaii again.

Downtown Phoenix coming up next! To be continued…

Hiking Mohonk: Labyrinth, Lemon Squeeze, Skytop

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We went on a Friday — the entrance fee was $21 as opposed to $26 on the weekends. Our goal of the day was to find the Sky Top Tower while scrambling and squeezing through/under/over rocks. You can call Mohonk for a recorded message on hiking conditions at 845-256-2197. We called before we left in case it closed for inclement weather.

 

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There’s about a mile between the parking lot and the actual trail. The guy said that there was no shuttle that day. It’s not too bad of a walk though.  20141107_115025

 

Lots of lookouts. We wanted to see the fall foliage and there it was!

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They provided us with a map.

 

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There were a bunch of trails that led to Sky Top.

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“Dawn seat”, I read as “Damn seat”…

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There’s the Mohonk Mountain House.

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This is where it gets difficult. Especially for me, since I’m afraid of heights. Like panic-attack-hyperventilating-legs-giving-out afraid.

 

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There were lots of short and long ladders, at one point I had to crawl to get up through rocks. Lots of deep crevices.

 

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When we got close, there was a long ladder that made me hyperventilate because it went over a deep crevice. I panicked but got through it. While we were in between that ladder and the next one, it suddenly started hailing. We debated whether to continue or turn back, since everything started getting wet. I did not want to hyperventilate again, so we continued. The second ladder was not bad at all because it was a more narrow passageway, so you can lean on the rocks as you ascend up the ladder. After that, the “lemon squeeze” or “fat man’s misery” was the narrow space where we had to climb up (we had to take off our backpacks in order to fit), and also my favorite part of the hike!

 

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Victory!

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This was the crevice… I couldn’t even take a picture of it straight down without getting dizzy.

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This bridge led us to the Sky Top Tower.

 

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Go inside…

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I just love this picture, taken from inside the tower.

 

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We took in the view before heading back. The sun came out from the clouds and the air was crisp and fresh.

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And don’t worry, there are restrooms at the start and at the mountain house.