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2017 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge

The 2017 Sky’s the Limit hiking challenge list was release on Feb 2, 2017. Here’s a map:

This year the theme has participants taking photos mirroring historical photos or locations. Here’s the list:

Park: Air Line State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Blackledge River Bridge, Colchester

Beckley Furnace Industrial Monument (no map) link to website.
Take Photo At/Around: Beckley Furnace

Park: Bigelow Hollow State Park, Union, CT
Take Photo At/Around: Mashapaug Pond

Park: Bolton Notch State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Hop River Trail

Park: Chatfield Hollow State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Oak Lodge Nature Center

Park: Farmington Canal State Park Trail
Take Photo At/Around: Lock 12, Cheshire

Park: Gillette Castle State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Gillette Railroad Tunnel

Park: Haley Farm State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Canopy Rock

Park: Indian Well State Park
Take Photo At/Around: The Well

Park: Mashamoquet Brook State Park, Wolf Den
Take Photo At/Around: Wolf Den

Park: Nathaniel Lyon Monument, Natchaug State Forest
Take Photo At/Around: Nathaniel Lyon Birthplace

Park: Putnam Memorial State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Officer’s Quarters/Magazine

Park: Stratton Brook State Park
Take Photo At/Around: Stratton Brook Depot (no building currently there)

Park: Topsmead State Forest
Take Photo At/Around: Barbeque Pit

4 hour West Rock Ridge Hike

Another long West Rock Ridge Hike completed (the first being the scenic vista tour)! This was the second long-ish West Rock Ridge hike I’ve done. This one was a bit on the easy side – I stuck mostly to the paved ridge due to participating in the Sleeping Giant Fall Foliage Hike the next day (10/15).

For this hike, I utilized Google Fit. It bugged out in one spot though. I’ve posted some stats below the image/outline of the hike.

Hike Highlights:

  • According to google fit, this hike was roughly 14 miles. Assuming a steady 3MPH walking speed, it would’ve taken about 4.6 hours. My logged time was 4h25m. I paused (10m) during breaks.
  • Encountered 1 person+dog in the first two hours of the hike.
  • Saw a group of birder’s at “the view” with an owl-on-a-stick!
  • No exotic wildlife seen. Chipmunks/squirrels and birds were around though 🙂
  • Reasonable hiking temperatures. Hoodie, leggings, and shorts. Minimal sweating.
  • Great solitary vistas!
  • Encountered a pair of bicyclists; one shouted “Hiker Up!” when crossing my path! Pretty cool.
  • Brought 5 servings of Stop & Shop cranberry trail mix. Ate 4 servings, 1 per break. I added a teaspoon of salt since the mix was sodium free. Electrolytes yo!
  • I brought 3L of water. I drank between 1.5L – 2.0L.
This is what Google Fit tracked.

This is what Google Fit tracked.

West Rock October 14 2016

West Rock October 14 2016

West Rock Ridge - Break 1 Facing Hamden/New Haven

West Rock Ridge – Break 1 Facing Hamden/New Haven

West Rock Ridge - Birders Owl

West Rock Ridge – Birders Owl

Planning another hike soon!

Museums on Us (Bank of America) CSV file for easy calendar import

Here is a CSV file so you can easily import into your google calendar all of the museums on us offerings from bank of america (2016)

Subject, Start Date, All Day Event, Start Time, End Time, Location, Description, Private
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 01/02/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 01/03/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 02/06/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 02/07/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 03/05/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 03/06/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 04/02/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 04/03/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 05/07/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 05/08/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 06/04/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 06/05/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 07/02/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 07/03/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 08/06/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 08/07/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 09/03/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 09/04/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 10/01/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 10/02/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 11/05/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 11/06/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 12/03/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True
Museums on Us (Bank of America), 12/04/16, True, 12:00 AM, 11:59 PM, USA, Museums on Us (Bank of America), True

Hiking Gear List

Interested in what I take out during a day hike? Look no further! Below I will list out all of the gear that I have purchased to make my hikes a more pleasant experience 🙂

This is my main piece of gear. The osprey talon 22 is a solid daypack and it is big enough to hold all of my regular hiking gear. This backpack also doubles as a travel backpack with enough room for clothes too. I’ve been using it throughout the last year and a half, in all sorts of weather, for both short and extended trips. It has never let me down! My only criticism is that it may be a tad too small, especially as my hiking gear list grows. But it’s definitely a solid starter backpack.

I bought this Gerber multi tool because it was small, reputable, and highly rated. I haven’t needed to use it much, but it’s a nice to have just in case.

I’ve used this fire starter in a camp setting, and it works well. Be sure to strike hard!

In case I find myself in the dark and don’t feel like lighting a fire, this crank energizer flashlight should come in handy.

The 3 liter version of the platypus hydration pack really works well for long solo hikes or short hikes with another person to share with! It fits perfectly inside the Osprey talon 22. Yes, if you let the water sit in it too long it gets a little funky, but simply rinsing it out once in a while makes a big difference.

This nomadic “blanket” serves as both a ground covering and, in case of emergency, a tarp-shelter. At least that was my reasoning for this purchase.

The Kahtoola MICROspikes fit my hiking boots nicely, and really stick to ice well. I have no complaints about these for winter hiking on ice and snow.

This drysack hasn’t been used yet, but will come in handy during camping trips or canoe/kayaking adventures!

These Smartwool socks are great. In combination with my hiking shoes my feet feel better than without specialized socks. The comparison I heard that made me want to upgrade my socks was that “you want to have good shocks (socks) with your tires (shoes/boots).” It totally makes sense, and I am anxious to get more.

The Merrell Moab Ventilator is my new favorite summer hiking shoe! It’s low weight and high breath-ability are much needed in the high temp conditions of summer hiking. The soles are thick, and the fit is just right.

My wet/winter hiking boot – Merrell Geomorph Blaze Mid. These are waterproof and can really take some abuse!

I do have trekking poles, but I rarely use them. I carry a selfie stick, because reasons.

I also carry a small Ziploc bag (ditty bag) that contains various items (including a couple from the above list). This small kit includes a sizable section of para chord, hand sanitizer, Mylar blanket, tissues, a mirror, poncho, fire starter, super-tiny compass, basic first aid kit, Altoids tin with lint, matches, and a lighter.

Ditty Bag 2016 - Contents

Ditty Bag 2016 – Contents

 

Ditty Bag 2016 - Contents Side 1

Ditty Bag 2016 – Contents Side 1

Ditty Bag 2016 - Contents Side 2

Ditty Bag 2016 – Contents Side 2

 

Duds or products I no longer use:

These cheap crampon-like items snapped on me my first time out in the snow – while I pulled them over my boots – I didn’t even get a chance to try them. You get what you pay for!

What do you think of this list? Is there anything I am missing?

The Scenic Vista Tour – West Rock State Park

Today I went on a five hour hike I’m calling “The Scenic Vista Tour.” Why, you may ask? This particular circut hits the six northern-most scenic vistas at West Rock (only one was left out). I’ve excluded the southern vista at the pavilion overlook, although I might include that in the future. The hike was not technically difficult. The duration, however, was the longest straight hiking I’ve ever done. And it was hot outside, although bearable under the tree cover. I was hurting at the end, but in the good way 🙂

Hike notes:

  • I left from the norther parking lot at 8:30am on the dot.
  • The first vista is 15 minutes out. I think this is the best HTV (hike-to-view) ratio I’ve experienced.
  • The second vista is a further 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Break 1 occured at 9:57am.
  • Vista 3, 4, and 5 were quick stops.
  • Vista 6 (the main scenic vista that most of the Lake Wintergreen/Regicide Trail hikers go to see) was the second break at 11:21am.
  • I made it back to the lake parking lot at noon.
  • I took the red trail most of the way back before taking my third break at 12:56pm.
  • Made it back to my car just a hair short of 1:30pm.
  • The northern end of West Rock is the hidden gem of the Park – it’s easy to not see too many people all day.
  • I did manage to frighten a snake. I am not sure what kind it was, but it was bigger than I usually see, so I am guessing it wasn’t a garter snake.

I’ve put together a map and temperature data for informational purposes.

Route Map:

Vistas marked 1 through 6. “B” indicates break area.

The scenic vista tour - a five hour hike at West Rock

The scenic vista tour – a five hour hike at West Rock

Weather from July 24, 2016 in Hamden, CT

Time (EDT) Temp. Heat Index Dew Point Humidity Pressure Visibility Wind Dir Wind Speed Gust Speed Precip Events Conditions
8:53 AM 79.0 °F 61.0 °F 54% 29.97 in 10.0 mi North 11.5 mph N/A Clear
9:53 AM 81.0 °F 81.7 °F 61.0 °F 50% 29.97 in 10.0 mi NW 10.4 mph N/A Clear
10:53 AM 82.9 °F 82.8 °F 59.0 °F 44% 29.97 in 10.0 mi Variable 5.8 mph N/A Clear
11:53 AM 79.0 °F 64.0 °F 60% 29.98 in 10.0 mi SSW 8.1 mph N/A Scattered Clouds
12:53 PM 82.9 °F 84.0 °F 63.0 °F 51% 29.97 in 10.0 mi South 11.5 mph N/A Mostly Cloudy
1:53 PM 84.0 °F 84.5 °F 62.1 °F 47% 29.96 in 10.0 mi Variable 6.9 mph N/A Mostly Cloudy

Sky’s the Limit 2016 Progress report

The great outdoors! As the weather turns nicer out, some of you might be looking for an excuse to get outside. Well do I have some news for you! As mentioned in a blog post from earlier this year, I am participating in the CT DEEP’s 2016 hiking challenge called Sky’s the Limit. The jist is, CT DEEP (something your tax dollars goes toward I believe) puts out a list of 14 parks and if you visit at least 10, you get a hiking staff medallion and a certificate of achievement. But wait, there’s more! If you visit all 14, you get entered into a drawing to win a hiking staff. You have to take pictures at specific locations for them to count, but that’s all outlined in the rules linked above.

Out of interest and my own boredom, I made this here custom map with all of the photo locations pinned (little hiker’s icons) for this year’s challenge. Most if not all of them will eventually be reviewed.

As of this writing, I’ve completed 9 of the 14 parks. I do intend to do all 14 like last year. This year the organizers of the challenge have also rated each location for difficulty. I don’t really read those, as I like to be surprised and reminded constantly that I need to get in shape.

For reference and posterity’s sake, here is the 2015 Sky’s the Limit Hiking Challenge locations.

Rewards for your hard work!

One of the good things about these challenges are that it puts an almost “fake” pressure on you to visit parks you may not have. Connecticut is filled with many cool places, and most of them are free! Aside from that, hiking is healthy — just watch out for snakes and sheer cliffs.

Aside from those, you actually get some swag. in 2015, for visiting 10 of the 14 parks you got a medallion for a hiking stick and a certificate.

2015 Sky's the limit hiking stick medallion

2015 Sky’s the limit hiking stick medallion

2015 Sky's the Limit Certificate

2015 Sky’s the Limit Certificate

Skys the Limit and Google MyMaps

Skys the limit is a hiking challenge sponsored by the CT DEEP. To track my progress, I made a map in google’s MyMaps, which worked better than my homebrewed variation using the Google Maps API. Check it out below:

skys the limit 2016 , google my maps

skys the limit 2016 , google my maps

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z6b7AzJlZ5P4.kUrzvgkxzcyU&usp=sharing

Living Life

Lambo ride!

Lambo ride! 

@Mohegan Sun. Worth it.

 

Duck Race

Duck Race

In Milford, CT. Did not win =(

Hiking!

Hiking!

Daffodil Festival in Meriden CT (Castle Craig). Toughest hike so far this year!

Motorcycle License!

Motorcycle License!

Vroom vroom mofrakey!

New York/NY Auto Show

New York/NY Auto Show

New York/NY Auto Show

New York/NY Auto Show

Did the Jeep experience, learned of the Toyota Hydrogen car, and hit Hill Country! Long day!

sgpa_map

Giant Master this year? Totally!