Saturday, September 26, 2009

"A Saranac will do just fine"

Saranac side

McKenzie Mountain
Elevation: 3861 ft (1177 m)
Peak: N44 05.655 W73 50.072
Parking lot: N44 18.766 W74 00.437
Distance: 12.9 km

Friday morning I received a phone call at the office. It was Mike saying that he and Ken were heading down to the ADK tomorrow and there was a spot in the car if I was interested. "Hell yeah!", I shouted. This would be my first Adirondack hike of 2009 and I was well overdue.

Now being a mere passenger on this trip, I was pretty much left out of the decision making process on which hike we would be tackling. Seriously though, what did I care? I was just happy to be back in the ADK, and besides, I trust the expertise of my two Sherpas.

Somewhere along the highway to Saranac Lake Mike and Ken tossed out the idea of hiking Whiteface and decided on McKenzie Mountain with the option to include Moose Mountain. Perfect - I'd already sat on the summit of Whiteface and I was up for something new. I'd read about these two peaks earlier and I knew that we were in for a loop with lots of potential views of Lake Placid and Whiteface. Besides it's not often that I get to hike with these two in the ADK on a trail that neither of them had previously explored.

Trail markers - old and new

After one last pit stop, we hit the trail head around 9 am and geared up for the day's adventure. It didn't take long before the well groomed path angled near vertical and we were all sucking wind (some more than others). Eventually we landed on a large boulder that popped us above the trees and gave us our first real view. It also officially confirmed that the leaves were in full color. Although admittedly not peak, they were still a nice break from the summer's sea of green.

Christmas tree Steep

After some more steep climbing we stepped out on to another ledge where we could see Saranac Lake to the left and our morning's destination to the right, McKenzie peak.

Ken points out McKenzie Mtn (3861')

Goal in sight we made good time to McKenzie's summit. Here we were greeted by what could be described as two doors. Each door opened to a ledge and a spectacular view. To the left, Saranac Lake and Catamount. To the right, Lake Placid and Whiteface. Combined they provide you with a 360 degree view. Sweet.

Ken checks out the view from McKenzie Kenmore takes aim
Lunch on McKenzie IMG_7492

On the way down we stood by the McKenzie-Moose junction and debated the pros and cons of bagging Moose Mountain. Mike wanted another view of Whiteface while Ken seemed to be counting the miles and weighing them against daylight hours and the side benefit of an early finish with time for supper and a pint. My preference was... well like I said it didn't really matter what I had to say, I don't speak Sherpa.

McKenzie and Moose Mtn junction

In the end, it was decided that we would hike out at a leisurely pace and make a stop for some food and a pint. Honestly it's hard to argue with a plan as solid as that one.

Whiteface Rest stop, Bartlett Pond
Two Brooks Lakeview Deli, Saranac Lake

At the end of the day we raced out to beat the closing bell of the Lakeview Deli in Saranac Lake. This place is very similar to that of DiRienzo's in Ottawa on Beech St. You go in, scan the specials and standards, and then blurt out your order when he shouts "Who's next?". The main difference between Lakeview and DiRienzo's is that DiRienzo's feels a lot more like the soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Regardless both are equally delicious, and for the record, $6.25 landed me chicken with lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo, and mustard on a toasted bun AND a side salad and classic deli pickle. Talk about bang for your buck.

One last view... sweet.
View from McKenzie

"A Saranac will do just fine" - moe.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

South March Highlands


Lately I was getting a little restless with all the summer-like weather and decided to get out for a hike. I tossed around a few ideas before finally deciding to keep it close to home. South March Highlands (I only discovered the name today) is out in the area of Kanata Lakes near the Old Carp Rd and March Rd. I've skied, snowshoed, and hiked these trails in the past but it now appears to have developed into a mountain biker's paradise with about 30 km of maintained trails. That said, I stuck to my trusty bendy sticks (that's legs eh) thus avoiding a tumble off of one of the swamp bridges on my Crappy Tire bike.

Blue skies, no bugs, and plenty of solitude. A perfect recipe.

I think they're planning a raid on the beaver house Splash down

For lunch I stopped on a nice flat rock alongside a pond and watched a flock of dragonflies bounce around the shoreline. I'm not sure what it was all about - likely some mating ritual - but it certainly was entertaining. I also took this time to road test my new mp3 speakers from iHome. Sweet. I was spinning some old AOD - check it out - that seemed to fit the moment perfectly.

Dragonfly tango

Click here for a map of the area and a general outline of the trail I hiked. I scooped this from a site talking about a snowshoe route so ignore the parts where it crosses over the lake itself. I've been known to work miracles from time to time but that's not one of them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Harvest of '09

Havest of '09

Every year we plant plants. This and that. Flowers, ground cover, veggies. Some things take, some don't. Some get love and attention, some don't. This year we planted and immediately we neglected. Problem was, so did Mother Nature. Put it all together and this is our harvest for the year. Thank God for mass production and superstores or we'd have to resort to cannibalism this winter.

Note: The Blackbeary Wheat was harvested out of my basement fridge. I had to give some life to the photo.

Monday, September 07, 2009

moe.down X

Members of Umphrey's McGee hit the stage with moe.

September 4-7, 2009
moe.down X
Turin NY
route on Google maps

The weekend we'd been waiting for all summer long had finally arrived. moe.down X was here at last!! We were stoked.

Our gang from Canada this year was myself, Steve (aka Twiggy) and his fiancee Sue. The others - Rick, Laura, Mic, and Glenn - all bailed at the last minute but for surprisingly good reasons. Next year guys. Right?

Steve and Sue arrived in Ottawa Thursday evening and after a round of introductions for Sue (it was the first time we'd met her) we then proceeded to chuckle and chat into the wee hours of the night. Around 2:30 it was finally time for bed (read: the fridge was empty).

By next morning around 9:30 we were heading down the highway. We crossed over without incident at Ogdensburg making only one relatively quick stop at the Lowville Wal-Mart Supercenter for a few supplies. I think we nearly cleaned the shelves of Sweet Baby Ray BBQ sauce and Tony Chachere's Cajun spice. Score!

We set up camp in our usual corner and then proceeded to chat up the neighbour's Jessie and Becky from PA. Shortly after setting up the tents, Sean and Maria arrived. It'd been 2 years since we'd seen them last but strangely enough it only felt like yesterday.

Okemah Al Schnier with Okemah

We all walked over to the main stage to check out Okemah and noticed that Al Schnier of moe. was sitting in with the band. Later that evening the keyboardist from Okemah (Kirk Juhas) joined moe. on stage and rocked out a great version of Spine of a Dog, Waiting for the Punchline, Four, and Buster. They couldn't have kicked him off the stage if they wanted too. Good thing too as he rocked up there.

Chuck Garvey of moe. Rob... always grinning Al Schnier (moe.) and Kirk Juhas (Okemah)
Al Schnier and Kirk Juhas of Okemah

Here's a couple of shots of Rob and Al trying to coax the wee ones to sing the chorus of Mexico during their afternoon set. Personally I think they did a great job.

Rob bribes his son to take the mike Al helps the kids sing along to Mexico

Aside from moe. I was impressed with all of the other bands with the exception of Method Man and Redman who threw down some angry face punching rap shit. It was all about popping caps and dissing women. Ya. True that my brother. ;)

CAKE hit the stage late and with a bit of attitude but still managed to pump up the crowd. And the funky cowbell slapper (aka vibraslap) used by front man John McCrea was a definite hit. Pun intended.

Sam Bush
Sam Bush Chuck with Sam Bush
Rob with some funky shades Al Schnier

Sam Bush (fiddle) impressed the most when he joined moe. a second time during their Saturday evening set on a 24 minute version of "Meat". Thanks for that.

The Nate Wilson Group
Nate Wilson Group Nate Wilson

Nate Wilson (originally from Assembly of Dust) stepped on stage Sunday night at the start of the second set and didn't leave until the fireworks were lit. Again it's becoming more and more obvious that a keyboardist would be a smoking addition. Think about that one boys.

Jim on washboard Vinnie Amico (moe.)Umphrey's McGee moe. with Umphrey's McGee

The craziest guitar showdown was when Jake, Brendan, and Andy of Umphrey's McGee joined moe. on the last night for a 20 minute take on "She". Sweet. Smokin' sweet.

Disco ball

Overall the weekend was a blur of hilarious moments interrupted by great music and face-melting moe. jams. We had a chance to reunite with some old friends and of course we made moe.friends too. And once again moe. played nearly 12 hours over the course of the weekend. Jamband supreme!! Rock on!!

Canadians at moe.down

Charlie the lost festie had us entertained for hours. Turns out he took a trip and then couldn't remember where he parked his tent. Luckily Twig was there to help him out. ;) Yeah right.

Jason and Rick were like an old married couple as they bickered and teased and generally wound each other up. Their muddy mountain biking adventures were hilarious and I only wish I was there to witness their outdoor shower-in-a-bag scene. On second thought, I'm glad I missed that one... but the story was again hilarious.

Rick and Tony jam

Tony and Rick pulled out their acoustic guitars a couple of times over the weekend. A nice way to relax before wandering off to the tent for a couple of hours sleep. Thanks guys.

Maria (and Sean) rocked at hoola hoops and even offered up some free lessons. Twig dude... you SUCK!

Cheers and until next year...
moe.down friends moe. crafts

Sunday, September 06, 2009

moe.rons unite


Grateful Dead fans are "Deadheads" and Phish fans "Phishheads" and moe. fans are known as none other than "moe.rons". Here's a collage of fellow moe.rons attending moe.down 10 in all their glory. Enjoy.

(click to a photo enlarge)
Canadian boyz at moe.down
Splash of color Is that Reverend Willie G? Twig's hand picked flowers Double hooping
Hanky girl Hippie baby Peace out Sue moe.moth tat
Death stops Twig from crossing over Peacock girl gorgeous girl at moe.down Sue and Twig
IMG_6753 Riding goe.t Hulk for mayor of moe.down Mexican SpongeBob SpongeBob
Ricky or Russell Crowe? Maria on the hoop Riding the ski lift Tapers in the house Twig with Homer

This last shot is of a girl screaming for an second encore before the night - and the weekend - wrapped up with the traditional fireworks.

Cheering for a moe. encore