Travel Adventures

I love adventure! As a nature enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. In these posts I will be documenting my own adventures and adventures of family members and friends. Definitely, hope you are inspired to go on some adventures of your own.

Mountains of Fear

It was cold. It was freezing. We bundled up the kids, four of them in all, packed up the car, and headed to the hills. We being my brother, his wife, their three kids, my aunt, my daughter and myself. It was a cold Saturday morning. Did I say it was cold? Okay, I am sure that I did, so let’s move along!

So we bundled up the kids and headed to Chauncey Peak, for a brisk early morning climb. Honestly I’ve never heard of that Peak before, although it was literally just about few minutes away from where I lived. It would be a totally new experience and I was a bit apprehensive.

I have been hiking in tropical rain forests for most of my life. Each time I hike in cold weather though it’s different. I am still adjusting to hiking in below freezing temperatures or snow on the ground in the US. Anywho…let me tell you a bit about the Peak.

Chauncey Peak

Chauncey Peak is 688 feet high, rocky steep trail that represents a part of the New England Trail in the US. The actual hiking trail to Chauncey Peak is located in Guiffrida Park. Guiffrida Park is a 598 acre park that encloses the Bradley Hubbard Reservoir, and lots of pine trees. There are several trails throughout the park.

Back to the hike

Once we parked our vehicle, we started off on what seemed like a fairly straightforward trail. We were following the blue trail. To get to the blue trail we needed to cross the eye catching stone faced reservoir or dam. In the pictures you will see that part of the dam is frozen. And yet when you look at the dam itself, with the mountain backdrop, it was the truly was a very beautiful sight to behold.

Once we started the blue trail it was a pretty straight forward trek upwards. Unlike other trails that I have been on, this one was pretty narrow and steadily got steeper and steeper with a couple of plateaus. We encountered lots of rocks and stones, until we eventually got to the top of the mountain.

At the top of the mountain or peak itself, there were more huge rocks.  The rocks themselves would have been inconspicuous had they not been at the end of the trail itself. The views however, were totally breathtaking!

We could see the frozen waterways below from our vantage point and also lots of forests, snaking river courses, a golf course and more. Even in winter the greenery was evident everywhere!  While we waited for everyone to get to the rocks, it was breezy and terribly cold.

So after having climbed to the top of the peak, rested a while, we descended. The descent was pretty straight forward and far easier than our ascent of course!

Overall, in spite of the extreme cold, there was no need to fear at all! This was a fairly simple straightforward hike. The trail is quite doable for novices and experienced hikers. It is a short hike. Probably 40 minutes in total.  The actual hike up the trail was more like maybe 20-25 minutes up one way and another 20-25 minutes down for the most part.

If you have problems with your knees, and joints, the steepness of the trail can make this simple trail somewhat difficult.  So just be mindful that it even though it is a short trail, it is also one that’s pretty narrow and steep almost throughout the entire journey. You will be done in less than an hour. The next time I think we will  try the white trail or follow the actual roadway instead. Happy hiking!

Scripture of Encouragement

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you (Matthew 17:20).

You Take My Breath Away!

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This is the view on the way to the top of Talcott Mountain at about 7 a.m. in the morning.

Another mountain hike! Yikes! This time we visited Talcott State Park in Connecticut and hit the trail at about 6:30 a.m. This was a fairly well trafficked, 2.5 mile trail. During COVID the Talcott Mountain trail was officially closed to large groups. The trail itself, based on what we had and read and seen online, seemed simple and straightforward enough. Yet, our hike turned out to be quite eventful!

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We had already exited our vehicle and started hiking when one driver reversed a bit too quickly into a parking spot, and drove over a nearby cliff! A lone standing tree saved his descent into this precipice bordering the parking area. The swift arrival of police officers to assist and inform that the park actually opened at a later time proved to be useful and quite fortunate.

So all of this happened before we actually started hiking! It was cold! The temperature was just above freezing point and the air was brisk. Did I mention it was cold! The trail itself was fairly wide and dry leaves covered the forest floor.

Almost immediately into the trail there was steep ascent that lasted for maybe a quarter mile. Definitely a great cardio boost! Soon after the steep ascent the trail plateaued out to a beautiful view of the Simsbury plains. The trail would eventually begin to go up again, but this time the end was in sight.

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At the top of the trail we met beautiful picnic and dining areas, and of course Heublein Tower. The mountain top reminded me of a tranquil monastery type setting. Persons can also drive to the top of Talcott mountain. The Heublein Tower, itself has a rich history and visitors to the tower have included: former President Ronald Reagan and General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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Talcott Mountain sits at just about 950 feet at its highest point, by no means the highest mountain in Connecticut! Overall, this was a fairly moderate trail. All hikers will enjoy this trail from beginners to the most experienced hikers. Not much of a challenge for experienced hikers, I will admit…but, definitely worth the view!

My 13 Year Old Climbed Mt. Marcy

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Mt. Marcy is the highest mountain in the state of New York. At 5,344 feet, Mt. Marcy is considered the tallest mountain in New York. My 13 year old daughter climbed Mt. Marcy in September. To be honest, I did not climb the mountain. My daughter was part of a hiking group which included my brother, sister in law and my nephew and some really close family friends. I opted out of this hike because I felt unprepared physically for this mountain.

I have done lots of hikes growing up. Literally at one point, I used to hike every weekend. The average duration of most of these hikes were somewhere between three to four hours in total. Mt. Marcy however, it was estimated, would have taken approximately seven hours.  According to the reviews, this was a 15 mile trail. I normally walk about 4-6 miles every other day and decided that I definitely was not ready for this hike!

One of the first things that the hikers noticed about the trail, was the warning signs indicating heightened bear activity! This makes sense considering humans are the ones literally invading their terrain when we hike. The hike started at just after 1 am in the morning. The terrain was easier at first then gradually became rockier and more intense. The mountain trail consisted of mainly rocks for hours on end at some points in the trail. Throughout the trail there were signs and markers that indicated the mileage covered thus far. It would take almost eight hours for the entire group to reach the summit.

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The views were breathtaking as you will see from the pictures. They were literally looking down on the clouds from their mountain top perch. After taking lots of pics, and resting a bit the group began their descent. This is where the challenge began!

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The descent, which for the most part is usually easier, posed several challenges. Firstly, everyone was exhausted after having hiked mainly rocky terrain for almost eight hours. The group split up into various segments, the fast paced hikers, the medium range and the laggers. Not a good sign! Suffice to say, some of the group members, my daughter included got lost!

My daughter, nephew and their friend, 3 kids, got split up at some point and chose different paths. My nephew ended up on his own and had to be helped by some good Samaritans. My 13 year old and her 12 year old friend took another path that was going uphill and was “seemingly” leading them back to the camp site. Again they were also helped by some concerned passersby. These are tales to be told another time!

Ultimately all members of the group completed the course some eight hours after arriving at the summit. Many had sore muscles, aches and pains, minor injuries. Some takeaways:

  1. Be mindful that trail markers on the main trail may not always be precise. The hikers swore that the distances on the markers underestimated the actual trail distances;
  2. Have proper hiking gear and be prepared for all eventualities. The hikers were unaware of the unusually high bear activity on Mt. Marcy and additional precautions had to be taken while traversing the trail;
  3. Try to stick together as a group. Each hiking team is only as strong as its weakest link. The breaking up of teams into groups contributed, in this instance to the kids literally getting lost;
  4. Push through the pain! All hikers, adults and kids upon completion of the trail after a total of fifteen hours on the trail. My daughter trekked an extra 4-5 extra miles in addition to the 15 mile hike (after she got lost) in one day!
  5. Have an emergency plan. Hikers should have back up plans in case anyone gets injured lost etc.

All in all a memorable hike and momentous accomplishment for my 13 year old and all the hikers! Congratulations on conquering Mt.  Marcy! Hiking is super fun, exciting and good for your health. Take the necessary precautions and prepare for hikes before attempting any hike. Mt. Marcy down…still lots more hiking to be done!

My daughter (left) and my sister-in-law (right) on top of Mt. Marcy.

Waking the Giant

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Today we hiked up Mount Carmel otherwise known as Sleeping Giant. One of the more popular trails in the state, The mountain is reputed to look like a human being, or a human giant laying down. Hence the name Sleeping Giant. It really kind of, sort of looks like a giant laying down! It was awesome!

We took the most trafficked hiking trail. This trail is a fairly easy route and just about 3.2 miles round trip. I actually have some video footage of the trail just in case you want to visual the level of difficulty. Will post it later. If you are a seasoned hiker then this trail would be like a stroll in the park. I kid you not! The main trail is fairly even, and a steady uphill climb. Definitely doable for even the most inexperienced hikers.

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It was a beautiful November afternoon with the foliage consisting of vibrant yellows, oranges, browns and greens. The pics will attest to it. As an outdoor enthusiast, I enjoy all of nature. I love autumn or fall season. The falling colorful leaves signal death and life at the same time. There is death as summer has ended and the leaves of the trees fall. The death of the leaves also allows the trees to prepare for the winter. In winter, the leaves on trees coupled with the snow, would weigh down the trees and causes branches to fall. On the other hand, dead leaves help to nourish the soul for the new growth of trees for the spring. Ahh the wonders of God’s creations!

Mount Carmel’s highest peak is set to be some 739 feet. After a steady climbing, in just about 35 to 45 minutes you will arrive at the beautiful tower or castle. Getting to the top of tower requires a few extra steps. The tower itself provides panoramic vistas which are quite breathtaking to behold.

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This is just one of the many hiking trails and mountains I will be climbing throughout the next few months. Even in the snow! Share your thoughts on hiking and hiking in winter especially. Two mountains down so far! Not counting how many more to go!

Climbing Bear Mountain

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter” —Izaak Walton

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Photo by Ekrulila on

Last weekend, I climbed the highest mountain in my state. The entire journey took just about 5 hours!! I started our mountain climb early in the morning, just after 4 am. Yes it was really dark! And the name of the mountain…Bear Mountain! What was I thinking??!! But guess what….I survived my mountain journey!

We climb mountains and commence new journeys every day, consciously and subconsciously. We embark upon journeys to work and to school. We embark upon journeys and mountain climbs each day too, in our relationships with family members, co-workers and people who we meet. Some relationships are so difficult and arduous, we feel that we are climbing mountains when we try to maintain those relationships! Some persons can be so difficult we argue. But you know what, so can we!

Every time we begin a conversation or try to connect with others, depending on the nature of that relationship we are beginning a journey or climbing a mountain depending on that specific relationship. Afterall, when we communicate and share with those around us we are embarking on a relational journey to build lasting and enduring bonds with those with whom we interact and with those we meet.

At some point while climbing Bear Mountain, I arrived at the top of the mountain. It was a great accomplishment!! After sitting in the blistering cold to await the sunrise it was time to return and reverse course. We had arrived at our destination but still had to return the same way we came. When I think about my mountain climb and journey to the mountain, I am reminded of my relationship journey. There are some communication paths and conversations that I will have to “walk back.” Doesn’t it make sense then to say the right and kind words the first time round? Personally, I am learning that life is not about the destination or the end of our journey, but it is about the journey itself.

Today as I write, I want to be mindful of the diverse relational journeys I undertake each day and the impact of each of these journeys on my life. The bible reminds us that “words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in pitchers of silver.” Sounds very opulent and tasty at the same time! Shouldn’t we be opulent in the words that we use to share our thoughts and feelings with each other?

Over the next few months I will be climbing as many mountains as I can and will share both my hiking / mountain climbing lessons and life lessons as I journey. Stay tuned!