Monday, December 31, 2018

My favorite books of 2018

Well, I read too many books this year.

Although on second thought, I'm not sure I read more books than in previous years. I just didn't reread much, so I read more books for the first time. 138 of them.

In any case, here are the novels I read for the first time in 2018 that stuck with me.
  • Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller. Arctic scifi, kind of like if Autonomous and Philip Pullman got together. 
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon. I'm a sucker for a generation ship, but this isn't like anything else you've read.
  • Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard. YA and not SFF, unlike most of this list. Teenager trying to figure out how to be who she is and not who those around her expect her to be.
  • The Wonder Engine and The Clockwork Boys by Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher. Adventure! Romance! Funny things! 
  • Werecockroach by Polenth Blake. OK, obvs, werecockroaches, but specifically, werecockroaches during an alien invasion.
  • American Hippo by Sarah Gailey is a reissue of two novellas bundled together. Alternative history where hippos were brought to the U.S. and ranched.
  • The Steerwoman and its sequels by Rosemary Kirstein. Four books so far, with an unknown number to come. Reads like fantasy but is in fact sci-fi, and very much about science.
  • Criminal Intentions, Season One, 1-6 by Cole McCade. It's a TV police procedural, except in book form. Also romance. "Season One" is about half over. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 in photos






Torrey Memorial 2018


Breakneck Ridge


Van Cortlandt


Makoshika Day 4


Mt. Pierce


South Taconic Trail


Blossom hike




Hiking into camp


Table and Peekamoose

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Hiking the Staten Island Greenbelt

Not my first hike here, but always a nice change (and not what people think of when they think of "Staten Island").

Staten Island Greenbelt

Staten Island Greenbelt

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The pyramids of Teotihuacan

Technically, these pyramids not far from Mexico City aren't a hike, but there is plenty of elevation gain!


Starting the Moriah Challenge

The Moriah Challenge requires doing four hikes, of easy to medium difficulty. After finishing up the Tupper Lake Triad, we decided to tackle a couple of them, since it was in the direction of home.

Belfry fire tower

First up was Belfry, which does double duty as a fire tower peak. It's a very, very easy hike, even with snow, since it's less than half a mile to the top. However, from the top were great views (made possible by very clear weather).

After this we upped the game, a little, by tackling Cheney Mountain, a whopping .9 one-way to the top.

Cheney Mountain

There are several viewpoints on this peak, one of which is nice views of Lake Champlain.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Finishing the Tupper Lake Triad

As you can probably deduce, the Tupper Lake Triad patch requires three hikes. J and I had done Coney Mountain about a year ago and hoped to finish it on this trip. Well, our initial plan had been to do McKenzie and finish the Saranac Six, and then do one or both Tupper Lake peaks the next day, but the weather was unseasonably snowy. McKenzie is just shy of being a 4,000-footer, so we decided to save it for another day.

Mount Goodman has a wheelchair-accessible beginning, followed by a turn up to the top of the mountain. As we set out, it was sunny.

Goodman Mountain

But as we reached the top, the clouds and the snow blew in.

Goodman Mountain

By the time we got back to the car, it was snowing hard. But we headed on to our next peak. Mount Arab is also a fire tower peak, which normally means great views - but not in heavy snowfall.

Mount Arab

(Of course, despite the weather, for patch purposes "winter" is defined by dates, not actual weather. This is both good (since dates count towards either winter OR regular patches, not both) and bad (you feel like you should get credit for hiking in the snow!).)