Sunday, 25 May 2008

Pitchoff traverse

Bryan and I went for the first Adirondack hike of the season. We were looking for something with great views but not too long to regain our hiking legs. Pitchoff fit the bill. We chose to traverse from the west trailhead to the east trailhead and then hope to hitchike back to the car. This was the obvious choice as the east trailhead is at a much lower elevation.

This is a great hike as it has many open ledges with great views of many of the high peaks and they are spaced far enough apart to qualify for occasional breaks from the trail. Most of the viewpoints are south facing but there is at least one that looks north at Whiteface and Lake Placid.

There are some fun little steep rocky sections of trail to scramble. They are fun whether you are going up or down. Neither of us got hurt on these sections but Bryan has his first encounter with a staple of Adirondack trails, blowdown. He added a bloody stain to his ball cap after going head on with a fallen tree. At this point one could have said "How could you not see that huge tree across the middle of the trail" but instead I volunteered some of my water to clean up the headwound.

The descent to the eastern trailhead is much steeper but not too long. We encountered 5 dogs (with hikers) who were ascending and at least one decided to hike down with us against the orders of his owner (You tell him, Bailey!). Our initial attempts at hitchhiking back to the car were not successful and Bailey's owner was not forthcoming at offering a ride but after about 15 minutes a kind couple from New Jersey took me to my car.

A great day to start the hiking season.

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Friday, 23 May 2008

Millenium Force

Of all the rides at Cedar Point my favorite was Millenium Force. It starts with a long slow climb up 300 feet. This gives you about 20 seconds to ask yourself questions such as:

  • This structure is pretty thin for being so tall, did the engineers factor in the amount of wind that is blowing today? and also the ever expanding waistline of the average North American adult?
  • It was cold overnight, is there ice on the rails?
  • Is this structure going to collapse sideways before we get to the top?
  • Did I lock the door before leaving home?


And just then over the top you go, plummeting almost straight down then banking to the right and etc etc at awesome speeds before skidding back to the station about two minutes later. The only thing that gets me past my intense fear of heights is my more intense love of controlled free falling.

Two thumbs way up on this one!

p.s. If any reader happens to understand the engineering of this kind of structure I would be interested to know that it is in fact capable of bearing any load!!


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Road Trip to Cedar Point

I've had my eye on Cedar Point for several years now as the self proclaimed "Roller Coaster Capitol of the World". I figured that the only time to visit would be either before school lets out for the summer or after school starts up again in the fall because in between the line ups at each ride would be too long. This week worked out just right for the trip as we had Victoria Day off and it was also unseasonably cool which managed the double duty of keeping both park visitors as well as bugs at bay.

It is about a 9 hour drive from Ottawa but a four lane highway all the way. There was some construction along I90 in New York and it was slow going through Cleveland at rush hour but an otherwise smooth ride. It is interesting to tune into talk radio in various cities and you learn that they have the same kind of narrow minded nutjobs that work that genre in most cities.

Most of the south side of Lake Erie is covered by mile after mile of vineyards, dotted with the occasional billboard advertising items such as porn, fireworks and firearms.

Cedar Point itself is situated on a spit of land and is as advertised, all rides. There are about fifteen coasters from old style wooden ones, to corkscrew twisting ones to big steel monsters. There are reasonably priced hotels on site and if you stay at them you get a free hour at the park before the other patrons get in.

I will certainly be back...this fall....well maybe??

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Saturday, 17 May 2008

Spring vs Winter

I drove up to Gatineau park after work to get the May long weekend off to a start and also to visit some spots that I had skied to in the winter to compare the views. Things look quite different when buried under several feet of snow and with no leaves in the trees you can see further in all directions.

Brulé lookout:
bruletrail brule

Buried picnic tables at Brulé lookout:
picnictableupdate brulepicnictables

Champlain lookout:
champlainlookout champlainlookout

I'm glad I didn't plan on a hike or bike as the bugs were swarming as I sat on the ledge at Champlain Lookout and did some contemplating.

Coming soon, some Adirondack trip reports!

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