This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have 12 and 6 year old boys (thanks to modern medicine) and we are enjoying our blessed life as parents ♥ In the summer of 2016 we took another huge step and moved across the country from Oklahoma to New York! This blog is about life and everything in between

Monday, May 30, 2022

Hiking NY: Backpacking in the Adirondacks (Colvin and Blake)

This weekend Bradley and I took our first trip of the season out to the Adirondacks for some hiking! I managed to snag a parking reservation for 2 nights at AMR where we arrived Saturday afternoon and hit the trails. The weather had been rainy but cleared up before our arrival with perfect timing! It remained clear thankfully the rest of the weekend.

We headed for the campsite off the Gill Brook trail--my 4th time there, his 1st. Luck would have it that no one else was there! We arrived to the site by 4pm and set up camp right by the fire ring. One of the few places you can build a fire in the Adirondacks! Unfortunately the wood was all too wet to keep a flame, but Brad had fun burning leaves haha!

I cooked us up some pesto pasta with chicken for dinner, then we hit the sacks for sunset around 9pm. Neither of us slept well (camping curse!) but we got up around 7am for breakfast and packed our day bags for a full day of high peaks.

We took Gill Brook trail up to Colvin trail where we continued on to Colvin peak (4,052ft). There were great views on the small summit that we enjoyed while we rested and snacked to prepare for the next leg of the journey on to Blake.

We continued on over Colvin and down toward Blake. The trail in between was full of steep boulders, rocky trails, mud, and a few ladders! We love the ladders, we will take all the help we can get. It was a lot of hard work, but after about 1.5 hours we arrived at the summit of Blake (3,977ft).

The summit was wooded with not many views, but there was a boulder to sit on and a rock painted with the name so we knew we were in the right place! We had our lunch here and regained our strength to turn around and do it all again the other way.

Going back down Blake and up Colvin a second time was just as hard as I anticipated...but resting on the summit again was much needed and we had a snack when we got there the second time. The trail back down to camp was much better and we knew we would be there in time for dinner! That's always a great feeling, especially when you have to take your time on a hard trail.

Brad was full of energy and literally bouncing off the trees!

We collected the rest of the water we would need for the evening and next day before settling down for another night of fitful sleep. The next morning we decided to skip cooking breakfast to save time and just eat a snack to get us going. We finally got everything packed up and hit the trail headed out at 9am. It only took an hour and a half to get back to the AMR gate and sign out on the trail register, then another 15 minutes to the car. By 11am we were on the road (with the AC!!) heading home!.

This was a neat tree we passed that looks as if it's levitating off the ground!

It was definitely a hot one, on the way home my temperature read 92 outside. After making our traditional stop for gas and food in Speculator ($5.24/gallon!) we continued on to home and arrived just before 4pm. Another successful trip in the books!

Approx miles: 16.3
Elevation gain: 4,111ft
My 46er status: 19/46! Brad is 5/46

Monday, May 2, 2022

Costa Rica Adventures - Tons of Pics!

I just returned from an amazing week in Costa Rica with a group of other female hikers! My bestie Jessica went along as well and we had the best time trying new things and enjoying the tropical paradise. Trovatrip was the company that provided the guided tour, and our local guide Catalina was an awesome addition to the experience. I have a million pictures to share, so buckle up and enjoy the ride!

Day 1 we flew from Buffalo at 6am and landed in San Jose, Costa Rica at around noon local time. After getting our luggage and going thru customs, we got our passports stamped and found our guide waiting to pick us up and jump on the shuttle to our first hotel! We arrived at San Jose Autentico Hotel for 1 night. We hung by the pool for a bit while waiting for our room and got to meet others from our group that had already arrived. After our room was ready we washed up and got ready for our first group dinner by the pool.

Everything is very open and airy here, lots of indoor/outdoor spaces and lush tropical settings. It was hard to get used to the sun setting every evening at 5:30pm! Sun rise was at about 5am.

Day 2 started with our first group activity to a local organic family run farm in Valle Azul where we got to sample tons of fresh fruits grown there, see how sugar cane is used, drink fresh ground coffee, and make our own corn tortillas. It was amazing to drink coffee with milk and sugar that was ALL grown on that farm. They also had cows and fish as well.

Cutting up sugar cane for us to tastes, then pressing the juice for us to drink.

Placing the boiled corn mash into the grinder for tortillas.

Guama fruit

Soursop fruit

Ugli fruit


Eating a pineapple (piña) right from the field!

Avocado tree

Coffee bush

Cocoa tree and buds

Banana tree and flower

They also cooked us lunch and everything was delicious!

They cut up several coconuts for us to drink the juice and eat the meat fresh.

We walked the grounds to see all the organic fruits they grow and learn how the farm runs.

Next we headed on to Arenal Volcano National Park to hike the 1968 trail. We got to hike on the lava remains from the 1968 eruption. It poured rain on us for most of the hike, but the clouds cleared just enough at the end to see the volcano summit!

We hiked the red trail.

A 3D model of the entire park at the entrance! Such a great idea.

I would have loved to hike more there, it was a beautiful and tropical area.

Our last activity of the day was an evening at Paradise Hot Springs where we got to enjoy several different pools and jacuzzis fed by natural thermal hot springs. That was so relaxing and I could have spent a whole day there. Dinner was included afterward at the spa and I ate Tilapia and plantains.

After this jam packed day, we did not arrive to our second hotel Arenal Montechiari until almost 9pm! We passed out as soon as we could, then got up early the next day for more adventures!

Day 3 we headed out early to rappel waterfalls in the Lost Canyon in La Fortuna! After arriving we got on their shuttle and headed to the top for equipment and instructions.

This was my first time rappelling and it was tons of fun! The surroundings were very exotic and tropical, and I wish I could have explored more and hiked further into the area.

We started off with a baby waterfall maybe 10-15' tall, then worked our way up.

The last waterfall was 200ft tall! We had to rappel off the platform down about 10ft, then zoom down the line all the way to the bottom. So much fun!

Looking down

Looking up from the bottom

After we finished, we climbed up a bunch of stairs to the beginning where we removed our gear, dried off, then headed back down on the shuttle where we enjoyed a buffet lunch.

Next we headed into La Fortuna (which is where our guide Catalina lives!) to see the La Fortuna waterfall. I went down 500 steps to the bottom where I got to swim in the *cold* water for awhile and enjoy the sunshine, then back up the steps at the end.

After those adventures, we returned to the hotel where we cleaned up and changed clothes for some free time in town. Our first stop was a chocolate and coffee shop where we got lots of great treats!

After that we walked around and I got an empanada and some gelato to snack on before we all went to a nice restaurant for dinner.

Day 4 we packed up and left La Fortuna for our next hotel in Jacó which was about 4hr away on the Pacific coast. It was SO amazing to be on the beach for our last 3 days here!

We stopped for a late lunch when we got into town at this beautiful beachside restaurant.

Then we headed to our beachfront South Beach Hotel where we got settled in just in time for sunset.

There was a poolside bar where we made fast friends with the waiter and enjoyed our new favorite local drink called chile guaro! Guaro is a local liquor made from distilling fermented sugar cane juice.

Our amazing guide, Catalina!

That evening we headed into town to explore and grab dinner. We ended up getting tacos!

Day 5 we got up early and headed out to Kayak Jaco on Playa Agujas where we suited up for some kayaking in the ocean!

After kayaking a few miles, they led us to a secluded beach where the company had set up beach chairs and a full lunch buffet for us. It was so relaxing and surreal to be enjoying the fresh food and amazing scenery.

After lunch I was the sole volunteer to attempt to snorkel amongst the lava rocks, but unfortunately the sea was a bit too choppy and murky to have a great view so after a bit we headed back to the beach for some swimming then kayaking back to base.

After kayaking, a few up opted to do an excursion of zipling! The van took us to the adventure park where we suited up and got our instructions, then headed up into the canopy for some fun!

(That's a mannequin!)

The view along the way

Can you spot the pup?? Evidently he's an honorary staff member who rides the shuttle to the top then takes his own trails back down. Ha!

I careful strapped my camera to harness and braved a few pictures along the zipline as I was flying through the trees!

And when given the option to zipling upside down, of course I took it!

After our crazy activities we got cleaned up then headed back into town for dinner. This drink was amazing, but only available in CR.

Hotel breakfast!

Day 6 and our last activity, we all headed to Carara National Park where our guide took us on the trails deep into the rainforest. We were blessed to have the amazing experience of seeing so much tropical wildlife in their native habitat! We saw iguanas, lizards, an anteater, poison dart frogs, millipedes, herons, white face monkeys, spider monkeys, leaf cutter ants, an agouti, and several types of birds.

Iguanas everywhere!

Watch the video to spot the anteater!!

Palm fruit

Leaf cutter ants

Poison dart frog

Spot the monkey!

This rodent is called an agouti

Some great monkey videos

Day 7 we got up at 3:30am to head out for San Jose airport and back to USA for our return to reality. It was such an amazing experience that I will never forget. In Costa Rica their motto is "Pura Vida" which means pure life, and it really is. They keep it simple, fresh, and slow things down to enjoy life. I will always keep a bit of pura vida in me!

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