Monday, June 30, 2014

“Endurance Sports are About Not Quitting”

“Endurance Sports are about Not Quitting”

By Kathleen Lisson

I was reading 'Mastering the Marathon, Time Efficient Training Secrets for the 40 – plus Athlete' by Don Fink and the following sentence captured my interest – “Endurance sports are about not quitting.” Fink has written an excellent chapter on mental training for endurance sports titled ‘Racing Strategies and Mental Approaches.’ He shares that a famous athlete once told him that if a runner doesn’t think about quitting at least three times during a race, they are not running hard enough. Fink also explains his “humble happy warrior” approach, the “relaxation – focus – competitive” approach and tips on using the posting of goals to increase confidence.

My goal isn’t to achieve a certain time, it is to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, so I am using this poster as a way to ‘post my goals.’

kilimanjaro poster

Though I will not be using the strategy of running at different paces during my hike and will have to accommodate the change in altitude, I will definitely use Fink’s top strategy of not going out too fast. I will be excited on the first day of the hike, and will have to remember to hike slowly so I am able to hike, over a series of days, all the way to the top.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Peekamoose and Table Mountains Catskills hike report

Peekamoose and Table - Catskills Hike Report

by Kathleen Lisson

Arun and I hiked Peekamoose and Table Mountains. This time Arun came down with 'summit fever,' the irresistible urge to hike past overlooks in search of the summit before stopping for a break. We ended up enjoying the overlooks on the trip back to the trailhead.

Lessons Learned:
  • Camping is better than dayhiking - we didn't start hiking until the afternoon because we could lounge around our house. Waking up in a tent ensures we get an early start.
  • There are several parking lots on the way to the trailhead. Luckily we asked a local for directions and she pointed us further down the road. 
  • The DEC didn't put enough sheets in the trail register! Arun had to sign us in on the back cover. When we signed out, we found that other hikers had followed our lead and signed in below us. Signing in at the trail register ensures that rescuers have basic information about you and your planned hike in the event you get lost. It also helps the DEC allocated funding for trail upkeep.

Peekamoose and Table Mountain hike information from New York New Jersey Trail Conference:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Increase Pain Tolerance for Endurance Athletes

How to Increase Pain Tolerance for Endurance Athletes

By Kathleen Lisson

In the Runner's World article ‘Three Workouts to Increase Pain Tolerance,’ Alex Hutchinson writes about a TransEurope study which found that “athletes can endure the discomfort at higher levels and for longer times than nonathletes. They have a higher pain tolerance. And it's a learned skill: Research suggests that the harder you train, the higher your tolerance rises.” 

Hutchinson goes on to profile three workouts that increase pain tolerance for long distance running.

Much is made of altitude sickness as a factor in summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. I will be taking medication and understand that I have no control over how my body will react to the altitude. I do have control over how I react to the hikes each day. Hopefully increasing my pain tolerance will make the trek less unpleasant.

Check out the 'Three Workouts to Increase Pain Tolerance' article here:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Outdoor Leadership Quiz

Outdoor Leadership Quiz

by Kathleen Lisson

As I have spent more time in the backcountry preparing for my hike up Mt. Kilimanjaro, I have become more interested in the skills needed to be a great hike leader. 

I came across this webpage from the Appalachian Mountain Club titled 'What Would You Do?' The page outlines to hiking scenarios and asks the reader to put him/herself in the hike leader's shoes and make a decision that will ensure the group's safety while keeping the hike fun and rewarding for everyone.

Try out your Outdoor Leadership skills here:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Altitude Acclimatization Advice from Princeton University

Altitude Acclimatization Advice from Princeton University

 By Kathleen Lisson

In the publication ‘Princeton University's Outdoor Action Guide to High Altitude: Acclimatization and Illnesses,’ Rick Curtis, Director, Outdoor Action Program offers recommendations for trekkers climbing at altitude.

His most valuable tips for me were to engage in light activity during the day. Light activity is “better than sleeping because respiration decreases during sleep, exacerbating the symptoms.”
Curtis also recommends “eating a high carbohydrate diet (more than 70% of your calories from carbohydrates) while at altitude.”

Curtis also shared a test for moderate Acute Mountain sickness (AMS) – “have the person ‘walk a straight line’ heel to toe. Just like a sobriety test, a person with ataxia will be unable to walk a straight line. This is a clear indication that immediate descent is required. It is important to get the person to descend before the ataxia reaches the point where they cannot walk on their own.”

I did not know that above 10,000 feet most trekkers experience Cheyne-Stokes Respirations. I think that my altitude sickness prescription should ensure that this does not happen to me.

Read the Princeton University's Outdoor Action Guide to High Altitude: Acclimatization and Illnesses report at

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do You Hike Just for the Summit?

Do You Hike Just for the Summit?

Map of Mount Kilimanjaro
 By Kathleen Lisson

In the article ‘5 Training tips to climb Kilimanjaro,’ Daniel Dorr of Kilimanjaro Adventures has some wise words about training to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. He shares a quote, “enjoy your suffering, that’s what alpinism is all about.” Dorr cautions that trekkers “can’t spend 7 days climbing a mountain if you only enjoy standing at the top.”

This advice really hit home. When I was training for my half marathon I read post after post from non-athletes that wanted to know the bare minimum training regimen that would help them stand at the finish line of a race. I want my week on Kilimanjaro to be meaningful, not just the handful of minutes on the summit.

Read ‘5 Training tips to climb Kilimanjaro’ here:

Monday, June 23, 2014

Why Do People Climb Mountains? or When Does a Summit 'Count'?

 Why Do People Climb Mountains? or When Does a Summit 'Count'?

by Kathleen Lisson

In the article ''Deadliest Sport Ever? Why People Risk Their Lives Mountain Climbing,' Bill Fink writes about what motivates people to climb mountains. One of Fink's comments really hit home for me. "Having a set of expert guides and hardworking Sherpas basically drag you to the top of a summit offers neither a proper sense of achievement nor any life lessons for dedication, planning, or teamwork. Essentially you’ve just become a really expensive piece of baggage."

I am reminded of of a story from 46er Grace Hudowalski. Before she made her first hike in the Adirondack High Peaks, her father told her, “It’s not important whether you make the summit. It is important how you make the climb.”

I have learned a lot about myself as I have trained over the past few months for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. 
  • After our long chilly climb up Mount Marcy my husband shared that he respects me a lot more as a hiker than he did last year. He is right. Before I made the decision to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I had climbed a few High Peaks, but saw hiking as a hassle rather than a challenge. I was interested in easy day hikes, not sweating for 6 hours. My worst fault - I was a complainer and a whiner.
  • Now I see a rainy day as a great opportunity to test out my waterproof gear and my skills. I rely on my waterproof boots and gaiters to allow me to step in the muddy trail instead of widening it by searching for a dry spot to walk.  
  • Hiking and camping together has allowed my husband and I to spend more time together without iPhone/tablet/laptop screens getting in the way. At home, we love looking at our screens. Lack of reception lets me look at my husband instead.

In reading other climber's trip reports, I have learned many lessons. Climbers don't wear adequate clothing, don't prepare for frozen Camelback tubes, and/or don't eat for 9 hours during the last segment of the ascent and end up using their porter's clothing or being practically dragged up to the summit. I know that I have no control over the effects of altitude sickness. I hope to be able to make it up to the summit on my own two feet as a result of, to quote Fink, "diligent training, planning, teamwork, and a step-by-step discipline."

Read 'Deadliest Sport Ever? Why People Risk Their Lives Mountain Climbing' here:

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunrise Hike up Mount Marcy - Adirondack hike report

Sunrise Hike up Mount Marcy, NY - Adirondack hike report

by Kathleen Lisson

Arun and I decided to take advantage of the Strawberry Full Moon in June to hike up Mount Marcy in the dark and experience sunrise from the highest point in New York. This trip would also prepare us for the summit hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, which also starts at around midnight.

We stayed at the Wilderness Campground at Heart Lake and had dinner at the Adirondak Loj. The folks at the Loj packed a trail lunch for our summit meal, complete with their delicious Marcy bars!


Up until we lost cell phone reception when we left Lake Placid, the weather looked good. It was overcast, but set to clear out Saturday night and be sunny and mid-70's on Sunday. We set up out tent and got an hour of sleep before dinner. There was a drizzle of rain on the tent when I woke up. That should have been my first clue that the weather was changing, but I held out hope. We had dinner and slept some more. Waking at midnight, it was cold and completely cloudy. We set out and I left my waterproof jacket on until we arrived at Marcy Dam, then took it off because I felt warm. 


Those first two miles were interesting - hiking in the dark left me feeling a little lonely. I asked Arun to give me a hug at one of our snack breaks. I used the hike to practice using my headlamp and hiking in the dark.


We continued on the path and the light misting of rain never let up. Since we were hiking seven miles to the summit, that light mist had a chance to get our outer layers completely wet, even though we didn't ever feel it "raining." Luckily, I had a base layer, hiking pants and gaiters on the bottom, a hat and three layers on top. As we got higher up and closer to the treeline, I told Arun it was time to put the pack cover and rainjackets on. I felt much warmer with the rainjacket hood over my hat.


Once we were in the alpine zone, it was light enough to take off our headlamps. The wind really picked up as the trees got shorter and Arun told me he saw snowflakes. We also hear the call of a white-throated sparrow. It was a unique setting, the chilling fog/rain blowing sideways and the sweet, happy call of a bird at dawn.

The call of the white-throated sparrow:

As we hiked on the solid rock slabs of the summit, the weather was increasingly poor. Wind blew steadily and threatened to knock me over. I had to take extra care to not step on any of the plants. The rain/mist blew sideways and the howl of the wind was only overcome by the occasional bird song. 

It was humbling to see the plants and animals surviving and thriving in these harsh conditions and think about the negative impact that humans can have on our environment. The tiny flowering plant survives ice storms, snow cover, howling wind but would be harmed if I stepped on it with my boot. 

We turned back onto the blazed path and headed to tree cover before eating our Marcy bar. 

If it had not been socked in by a storm, this is the view from the summit of Marcy:

After we took a shower and a nap at the Wilderness Campground, we packed up and had a late lunch at the ADK Cafe in Keene.


  • Always wear layers, and bring extra layers and gloves in your pack.

  • Don't rely on a weather report. 

  • Buy the brighter headlamp.

  • Hiking in the dark can bring out emotions. 

  • Wearing a bearbell on the Camelback tube ensures it will ring constantly. 

  • Shower + nap after a long hike is the best way to relax.

  • I can hike in harsh spring conditions!

Read about another Mount Marcy sunrise hike in the Summer 2014 edition of the ADK Cloudsplitter:

Other Mount Marcy sunrise hikes:

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Best Massage in Troy, NY

Best Massage for Runner and Hiker in Troy, NY

by Kathleen Lisson

To prepare for my hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, I have been running long distances as well as hiking in the Adirondacks and Catskills.  With all the changes in my body come aches and pains, especially in the legs from climbing and neck / arms from the pack. 

I go to Jess at Collar City Massage monthly. I believe that having a monthly massage helps keep injury at bay and relaxes me. I pay attention to what my body is telling me during the massage and I can often feel soreness in a muscle before it becomes painful on a run. 

Jess gave me a great tip for my sore neck. I have been camping on the weekends and using a travel-sized camp pillow. She recommended that I try a neck pillow like the ones sold at the airport. It provides more support for my neck than a camp pillow alone. My husband liked it so much he commandeered my first neck pillow and I have had to buy a second for myself. 

Jess is going to have her work cut out for her when I return from the summit! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

President Teddy Roosevelt - Original Trail Runner?

President Teddy Roosevelt - Original Trail Runner?

By Kathleen Lisson

In the Runner's World article 'The Bull Moose Runs,' Peter Sagal provides some colorful history on President Theodore Roosevelt's vigorous local hikes, one of which biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin in the 'Bully Pulpit' called a "jog" in Rock Creek Park. 

I am excited to learn that Roosevelt may have enjoyed running through the woods and, inspired by Teddy's "exemplar of vigor and motion and joy," I look forward to "Roosevelting" my way up Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Read 'The Bull Moose Runs' here:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Freshette Review

Freshette Review

By Kathleen Lisson

On the advice of Kilimanjaro veteran Jenne Fromm, I purchased a Freshette.


I have used it a few times while hiking in the Adirondacks and will take it to Kilimanjaro with me. What I have learned:

  • Peeing like a boy is much better than peeing like a girl. I can walk a few paces from the trail and face a tree to pee instead of tramping across vegetation until I cannot see the trail anymore before I drop my pants. 

  • There is a skill to removing the Freshette from my pants after urinating. I must keep the plastic close to my skin or I will have pee running down my leg. I think having the device at the correct angle was also part of my problem. 

  • Keep everything less dirty by placing a wet wipe in the pink part between uses. I also rinsed it with water after using, kept it in a plastic sack inside my backpack and cleaned the whole thing between hikes.

  • A panty liner will catch any stray pee. 

I look forward to using Freshette on Kilimanjaro! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kilimanjaro: Roof of Africa

Kilimanjaro: Roof of Africa

 By Kathleen Lisson

I love the guide's explanation, "Kilimanjaro is a place where ordinary people come to do something extraordinary."

I also am thinking about the idea that everyone has an Africa of their dreams, and they come to see how the mountain is compared to the Kilimanjaro of their dreams. Watch the video here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Does Hiking Make You a Better Decision Maker?

Could Hiking Improve Your Decision - Making Skills?

by Kathleen Lisson

Natural scenery can improve decision making skills

I recently read an article on Pacific-Standard about the effect of viewing nature scenes on decision making skills. In 'Feeling Impulsive? Head for the Forest,' author Tom Jacobs provides details of a study where participants were asked to make decisions after viewing either a scene found in nature or in a city (buildings or geometric shapes). The Results? Better decisions after being exposed to the nature scene.

Now I have one more reason to keep on hiking! Arun and I have a photo of some autumn trees in our bedroom. This might be the encouragement I need to take more nature photos and display them around the house and in my office.

Read the article here:

Monday, June 16, 2014

What is in a Perfect Mid-hike Snack?

What is in a Perfect Mid-Hike Snack?

By Kathleen Lisson

I am trying to hike both days every weekend to prepare for my expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro this July. 

With all the time hiking in the woods, I have begun to listen to my body more. If I feel a sudden tiredness mid-hike, it is for one of two reasons - either I'm hiking up an incline or I need a snack. I have found that a snack can be as simple as a bite or two of a cookie or bar. After a few minutes, my enthusiasm for the hike returns and I speed right back up with a smile on my face. 

Hiking has also improved a lot since I began using my Camelback instead of waiting until a 'water break' to drink.

I've covered the physical needs for refueling on a hike, but what about the emotional aspect? I recently went on an easy hike along the Shawangunk Ridge Trail. I stopped at a scenic overlook and tried a LemonZest Luna Bar. As I was sitting and watching the peaceful movement of Lake Awosting, the lemony taste reminded me of relaxing summer days, sipping lemonade and feeling the warm sun on my face. 

For a moment, all the stress of preparing for Mt. Kilimanjaro melted away and I was able to enjoy a moment of just looking at the trees and smelling the woods on the breeze.

I'm looking forward to enjoying more Luna bars on the trail and bringing them with me to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro this July. I'll need the reminder to take a moment to relax in the middle of my journey and enjoy the sights and smells around me.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hiking in the Catskills

Hiking in the Catskills

by Kathleen Lisson

Here are a few photos I took on recent Catskill hiking trips. I enjoy living so close to these mountains. Arun and I have spend many weekends together camping and hiking in preparation for Kilimanjaro. When I hike the Catskills, it gives him a chance to spend one day hiking and the other rock climbing.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Advice for Hiking the High Peaks

Advice for Hiking the High Peaks

By Kathleen Lisson

In the article 'How to Hike the High Peaks and not be That Guy,' Casey Normile offers 10 tips for hiking in the Adirondacks. 

My favorite was 'don't hike Mt. Marcy first.' Certain mountains are "friendlier" than others and a beginning hiker can get discouraged when their second or third hike is MUCH more difficult than the first few. 

Read the 'How to Hike the High Peaks and not be That Guy' article here:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gear Review - L.L. Bean Duffel Bag

L.L. Bean Adventure Duffel Medium - Hot Coral

by Kathleen Lisson

LL Bean Adventure Duffel

I bought both the medium and large duffel bags from L.L. Bean for my upcoming trip to Kilimanjaro. 

I took the medium duffel bag with me on my recent trip to the Junior League Annual Conference in St. Louis. The bag fit into the overhead bin on my Southwest and Delta flights and the waterproofing came in handy while waiting for the MetroLink outside of the airport. 

  • POSITIVE: I could load a lot more items in this duffel than would fit in my rolling carry on.

  • NEGATIVE: There is more packing space, so be careful to pack a bag that you can still lift and carry through an airport! 

  • SOLUTION: I will use a separate folding luggage cart to easily transport both my medium and large duffel bags on my trip to Tanzania.  

I like the memorable color and added my monogram so I could confidently pick my bag out of a pile of bags on a luggage carousel. I will fly to Tanzania with this piece of luggage as my carry on.

The L.L. Bean duffel bag is online here:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Adirondack Mountain Club Meeting

Adirondack Mountain Club Meeting - June 2014

by Kathleen Lisson

I had a great time at the June meeting of the Adirondack Mountain Club. Club members offered their unused camping gear at a summer gear swap before the meeting began. I bought a few small daypacks for my husband and an inflatable sleeping pad for Kilimanjaro. My best deal was a pair of Julbo glacier sunglasses for only $5! 

After the meeting began, we elected officers and then settled in to watch photo slideshows capturing the outdoor adventures of several of our members over the past year. We saw day hikes in Hawaii, visited the highest point in Australia and took a peek at plenty of snow adventures right here in New York and the Northeast. 

For more information on the Albany ADK club, visit the website:

Prepare Mentally to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Prepare Mentally to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

By Kathleen Lisson

Mark Whitman of the Climb Kilimanjaro Guide website offers tips on getting physically fit for the trek up Kilimanjaro in the article ‘Training to climb Kilimanjaro – how to be perfectly prepared for the summit.’ 

I like Whitman's advice to prepare for the adventure mentally as well as physically. I remember very well the last mile of my last half marathon. The goal was almost in sight, I was on track to finish in under 2 hours, but I had no more gas. The mental strength I used to get to that last straightaway is the strength I will need to get to the top of Kilimanjaro. 

Read the ‘Training to climb Kilimanjaro – how to be perfectly prepared for the summit’ article here:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway

by Kathleen Lisson

Ashley gives a video Review of The Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway. She sees the mountain as a metaphor. I’m glad I watched this, as I thought of bringing the book to Tanzania to read.Watch the video here:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tips for Women Hikers on Kilimanjaro

 Mount Kilimanjaro Packing List - tea, fiber bars, pens

In 'Tips for Women Hikers on Kilimanjaro,' hikers Leigh F. Bacher and Lori F. Banks share tips for women hiking Mount Kilimanjaro. I had never thought to bring herbal tea to drink. I will also look for fiber bars as snacks. Another good tip is to bring pens to give to local children. 

I can't bring my fireplace, but I can bring my favorite tea...

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Mountains Will Wait for You and Grace Peak in the Adirondacks

The Mountains Will Wait for You

By Kathleen Lisson

The Mountains Will Wait for You

I recently watched 'The Mountains Will Wait for You,' the story of Grace Hudowalski of Troy, the first woman to climb all 46 High Peaks of the Adirondack Mountains.

I enjoyed this movie. I like the idea of recording more than just routine weather / route / date / peak information in my climbing diary. The Adirondack 46er page encourages hikers to record "What you saw.  Things you learned.  How you felt.  What the climb meant to you.  Summarize some of your favorite memories, adventures, or misadventures for us."

I bought my copy at the High Peaks Information Center. Find more information about The Mountains Will Wait for You here:

Some 46ers are working to get East Dix renamed Grace Peak. I haven't hiked East Dix yet, so I am looking forward to noting it in my hiking journal as 'Grace Peak.'

The fact that the Adirondack 46ers started in Troy, NY is one more reason I am proud to live in Troy! 

Find out more about the Adirondack 46ers here:

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Noonmark Mountain Hike Report

Noonmark Mountain Hike Report

by Kathleen Lisson

Ladder on Noonmark

Arun and I hiked Noonmark on Memorial Day. We planned it as a half-day hike on our way from the Adirondak Loj to home in Troy. 

After dinner at the Adirondak Loj the previous night, a Loj employee read the weather report - warm, overcast and windy at the summits.

I learned:

  • Waterproof pants are empowering - I was more willing to climb on wet rocks because my butt would not get wet. They're NOT just for rainy days!
  • Hiking poles make a steep trail easier on the knees. 
  • Noonmark's summit is rocky, which makes for amazing views BUT was dangerous in the day's windy conditions. 
  • I used my rock climbing skills to get up part of this trail. A visit to the rock gym is part of a good hiker's cross training.

  • Just because a peak isn't part of the 46, DOESN'T mean it is "easy." 

Summit of Noonmark

Noonmark Mountain Hiking Information from ADK -

Catskill 3500 Hike Review - Slide, Cornell, Wittenberg

Catskill 3500 Hike Review - Slide, Cornell, Wittenberg 

by Kathleen Lisson

Arun and I began at the end of this weekend's hike by camping at the Woodland Valley Campground. We camped spot #47, right next to the trailhead sign and directly across from the day-use parking lot.

Trailhead at Woodland Valley end of hike

Bridge at Woodland Valley end of hike

We drove to the other end of the trail and left one car at the Slide Mountain Parking Area on Oliverea-Frost Valley Rd. / C.R. 47, then climbed Slide, Cornell and Wittenberg mountains before descending to our campsite at Woodland Valley.

3500 Foot Mark at Slide Mountain

Plaque at Slide Mountain Summit
 Lessons Learned:

  • BUG SPRAY - I did use my bug face net on the summits, but I forgot to put bug spray on my socks and legs and now I have a rash above my ankles from bug bites. Luckily, I took a shower immediately after the hike and discovered the rash. I put bug bite ointment on my legs before dinner. 
  • EATING - I ate on all three summits. My husband didn't eat on Wittenberg and he ended up asking me for a snack to keep up his energy on  the long descent. 
  • SHOWERS - A campsite hike is the best! I was able to walk straight to the showers. I felt like a new woman after my shower and was ready to relax and enjoy dinner. 

The campsites at Woodland Valley campground:

BAD - feel very close together, there is not a "secluded in the woods" feeling,

GOOD - but the campground was at the trailhead and alongside Woodland Valley Stream.

Catskill Mountain Guide

I used the Catskill Mountain Guide to guide me on this hike. The book has an excellent trail map in the back cover and a lengthy description of popular Catskill hikes. I read the description of the upcoming section of trail at each summit.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

More Tips from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

More Tips from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Salad with multiple foods and food groups

by Kathleen Lisson

I started reading Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook on a flight to St. Louis for the Junior League Annual Convention. The first part of my review is here:

Here are some more tips I picked up:

Page 64 – If you are not hungry for breakfast, you ate too much the night before. 

This was a big A-HA moment for me. I have heard from so many people that they skip breakfast because they are not hungry. Cutting down on food late in the evening might put breakfast back on the table.

Page 101 – Redefine the word ‘snack’ to mean ‘meal.’ Nancy Clark is so right – the word snack (and treat) opens the gate for not-so-nutritious foods to sneak into my diet.  I wouldn’t eat two cups of chips for a “meal,” but as a “snack” it might be OK – just a snack, right? I will start to plan my snacks to include multiple food groups.

Page 106 offers advice for those who suffer from ‘snack attacks.’ My husband and I call this being “hangry” – hungry and angry. I also suffer from low blood sugar if I do not eat, which makes me reluctant and unable to make quality decisions. I will take Nancy Clark’s advice and eat BEFORE I get hungry if I am going to put myself in a situation where I forsee becoming hangry.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sunrise on the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

Sunrise on the Summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

By Kathleen Lisson

In the article ‘Whiskey on the Rocks: A Taste of Climbing Kilimanjaro,’ Layla Eplett shares a recipe for Ugali and one of the most breathtaking pictures of a sunrise I have ever seen. I am looking forward to seeing that sunrise in person. 

Click here to read her article:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tips from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Tips from Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

By Kathleen Lisson

Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook

I chose Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook as the book I took with me on the plane ride to the Junior League Annual Convention in St. Louis. 

Wow, was this book a treasure trove of information. Here is the first tidbit I wrote down:

Eat a Wide Variety of Foods

Page 4 of the book brought a challenge to write down 35 different types of foods that I eat in a given week. It took a few minutes to complete my list and I began to realize that it would take a thoughtful effort to ensure that I brought all these nutritious foods to my diet.

Occasionally I will find myself in a ‘food rut,’ consuming the same cereal night after night or pasta and pesto for lunch several times a week. The key takeaway I found was – Diversity!

I will rotate the vegetables and fruits I use in my smoothies and eat more colorful salads.

My food list is:

Almond, apple, asparagus, avocado, banana, black beans, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, carrot, celery, chia, cod, corn, cottage cheese, edemame, egg, garbanzo beans, green beans, kale, kidney beans, lemon, melon, milk, mint, oats, onions, orange, pear, peanut butter, peas, pineapple, popcorn, quinoa, rice, salmon, strawberries, spinach, sprouts, tofu, tuna, tomatoes, walnuts, watermelon, yogurt and zucchini. 

Nancy Clark has a great tip for using all-natural peanut butter. If the peanut butter separates into oil and solid, just store the jar upside down. 

Here is a review from Linda S. Caley, MS, RD, CEDR on Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook:

Throw Back Thursday - Whiteface and Esther

Whiteface and Esther

by Kathleen Lisson

My best friend Kristin and I climbed Whiteface and Esther with the Hiking Mates on June 7, 2008. 

I remember the hike being REALLY long. As I finally hauled myself over an obstacle to the summit of Whiteface, I heard the crisp sound of a beer being cracked. A bunch of non-hikers were enjoying themselves. I was sweaty and dirty, they had just driven up in a car. 

We got a little lost trying to find the summit of Esther, but we got there! 

I used to hike in a digicam hat I bought from an Army-Navy store. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Packing Tips for Kili – What Snacks to Bring on Mount Kilimanjaro

Packing Tips for Kili – 

What Snacks to Bring on Mount Kilimanjaro

by Kathleen Lisson

The final video in Larry Garber's series covers snacks and explains why guides and porters are needed for expeditions up Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yellow Yellow, Bear Canisters and Teddy Roosevelt

Yellow Yellow, Bear Canisters and Teddy Roosevelt
by Kathleen Lisson

 Why Hiking is Important
Jack, a volunteer summit steward on Algonquin Mountain, shared the story of Yellow-Yellow, the only bear that ever discovered how to open a bear canister. Yellow-Yellow, named after the two tags that the DEC placed on her ears, roamed the forest below Algonquin. She was shy around humans but opened their bear canisters for the food inside. 
When Jack told me that Yellow-Yellow had been harvested by a hunter a few years ago, I felt sad. There was something awesome about the idea of hiking in the same forest as an ingenious bear that could defeat the best technology that man could invent. Yes, even if it meant that I could not rely on the effectiveness of a bear canister in the Eastern Adirondacks.
I watched a TED talk by Jon Mooallem, author of "Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America." Mooallem tells the story of President Theodore Roosevelt sparing the life of a black bear, an incident that inspired a nationwide love for "teddy bears" at a time when the reputation of bears was turning from vicious predator to underdog. 
I think Mooallem has a point, not only about bears and other wildlife, but about the wilderness they roam. 

When experienced hikers invite and support inexperienced hikers as they explore the backcountry, we empower them to create their own story about the importance of wild places like the Adirondacks in their world.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Why Do People Climb Mountains?

Flying Carpets and Jonathan Livingston Seagull

By Kathleen Lisson

I was listening to NPR on my way to a dayhike in the Shawangunk mountains recently, and caught a reading of Steven Millhauser’s “Flying Carpets” in an episode of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Wish Fulfillment,” hosted by Parker Posey.

Flying Carpets is the story of a boy who explores his boundaries by using a flying carpet. Being on my way to a practice hike for my upcoming trip to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, this story became very relevant. 

Unlike most of the boys who stayed under their mothers' watchful eyes in the backyard, I am taking my 'flying carpet' WAY out into the blue this July.

The boy decides that flying high and far is not for him, and his carpet ends up in the cellar.

But what if he DID go into the blue?

This story reminds me of a book my mother had in her library when I was a child 'Jonathan Livingston Seagull.'
Watch Ariel Bissett review Jonathan Livingston Seagull here:

Here is a quote from the book: “Why, Jon, why?" his mother asked. "Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon? Why can't you leave low flying to the pelicans, the albatross? Why don't you eat? Son, you're bone and feathers!" "I don't mind being bone and feathers mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can't, that's all. I just want to know.”

Find out more about Flying Carpets here:

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Tabletop and Phelps Mountain Adirondack Hike Review

Tabletop and Phelps Mountains Adirondack Hike Review

by Kathleen Lisson

We hiked to the summits of Tabletop and Phelps mountains from Adirondak Loj on Memorial Day weekend. 

Lessons Learned:

  • Hiking pace varies from mountain to mountain.

  • A waterproof clothing system is a must during spring hikes. 

  • Wear waterproof pants even if it is sunny outside!

This hike really drove home the lesson that there is no clear formula for determining hiking pace. Two base to summit hikes with the same mileage and elevation gain can take two VERY different ascent times. 

The two miles from Adirondak Loj to Marcy Dam were quick, the next two miles to Tabletop were slower, and the ascent times for both Tabletop and Phelps initially had us staring in disbelief at the distance markers on the signs. Of course, the signs were true. Hiking up an active stream in the forest on Tabletop and over a boulder strewn path on Phelps slowed us down. 

For me, gaiters are an item of must-wear hiking gear on muddy trails

I got the chance to put my waterproof clothing system to the test again. Wearing waterproof boots, gaiters and waterproof pants made me much more willing to stay on the trail when it was wet / muddy and more willing to climb up wet rocks as well. After the hike, I could take off my gaiters and waterproof pants and look 'presentable' in my reasonably clean hiking pants for dinner at the Adirondak Loj.