So it looks like I’m at a monthly post ratio for this blog.  Guess I don’t have that much to say, but there’s been plenty going on over the past month.  Let’s start from the beginning:

Aug. 25:  Last day of coop, and last day of being a college student.  Feels kinda strange writing that..

Aug. 26:  Moved to my new place.  I lucked out in catching a group of RIT students who were looking to rent a house in the city, around the Monroe Ave/Goodman St. area.  Two of them are my age, and the other a couple years older.  We all get along really well and share quite a few interests (drinking, sports, hiking/climbing, but mainly just drinking).  The house is pretty big, it is three floors with an enormous loft on the third, spacious kitchen, and decks in the front and rear.  We put in a pool table, couple of TVs, stereo system, and fish tank/coffee table, with a kegerator soon to be installed.  The loft is thus far unfurnished, and will probably just be used for parties.  And even though I am further from my job as before, it takes half the time to get there, thanks to I-490.

Aug. 28: Headed home.  Thus began my two-week vacation.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I will take full advantage of any large block of free time available due to its scarcity, and I did.  At first I pretty much just relaxed, but soon grew bored of that.

Aug. 30: Headed to the High Peaks with the aim of conquering Mt. Colden.  Colden was one of those peaks I hadn’t climbed that John had already done, so I figured I’d knock it off in a day trip.  I was up at 5 and summitted just before noon.  Since it was early I cut over to the Van Hovenberg trail to Marcy and took one of the side trails up Tabletop.  Colden was really nice, you can actually see all the way down to the tip of Avalanche Lake 3000 feet below.  It was a beautiful day and I took quite a few pictures.  The total hike was about 8 hours and 15 miles, with ample summit time.  Suki accompanied me the whole way with sheer jubilation. 

Sept. 1-3: moe.down.  The 7th annual festival for Buffalo’s premiere jam band was a blast.  moe. played six rockin’ sets throughout the weekend to a crowd of new age hippies dancing in the mud and rain.  It was awesome.  It was so muddy that they had people lined up outside the parking area to help push people’s cars through the mud to the road.  My front-wheel drive Acura Integra didn’t handle it too well, and by the end of the weekend it resembled one of those Jeeps in their commercials. The elected mayor of moe.down: A sculpture of a squirrel humping a beer can.  Frank Zappa won it last year, and he’s dead, so I don’t know which is stranger.

Sept. 5: Came to the conclusion that I had caught a cold, and attributed it to moe.down.  Big surprise.

Sept. 7: Embarked on my three-day journey in the High Peaks.  I had wanted to do a certain trip for quite some time, and couldn’t get ahold of anyone free that weekend, so I went solo.  That morning I got up at a decent hour, drove to the trailhead at Elk Lake, and was on the trail by one.  It was supposed to be a beautiful few days, and the weather was clear by day, cool by night.  Perfect.  The nine miles into Panther Gorge went pretty quickly, considering the 30 pound pack on my back.  Panther Gorge is a pretty awesome place, it is nestled between three of the four highest peaks in the state, and the lean-to there is new and really nice. 
    The next day I was up at 7 to do a pretty ambitious hike:  The Great Range from Mt. Haystack to Gothics, then over to Sawteeth, then down to Upper Ausable Lake and back around to the Gorge.  The climb up Haystack from Panther Gorge is pretty intense, something like a 1400′ ascent in a mile.  There was some pretty sweet scrambling near the top, especially when you avoid the marked trail for a more fun climb!  I summitted by nine and was surprised to see somebody already up there, a kid from Schenectady.  He was looking to do a Great Range traverse, so it was gonna be a long day for him, even longer than mine.  The view was simply spectacular, easily the best I’ve found in the High Peaks.  And that’s saying something. 
    Next I headed over to Basin.  It was another achingly steep climb, not quite as bad as Haystack but still draining.  I stayed and took some pictures (attempted a self-portrait actually), soaking in the view.  After 20 minutes or so I ventured off for Saddleback.  SaddlebaSaddlebackck has a notoriously steep trail on its western shoulder, and when I hit the bottom of the col between it and Basin, I didn’t see how it was going to be possible to get up.  There’s a ladder at one point to get up a particularly tall cliff, but there’s still a good 50-60 feet of scrambling just before the summit.  It was deliciously fun.  The "trail" is at right.
    Right around the col between Saddleback and Gothics I started worrying about my water supply, since I was just about out and wouldn’t encounter any until I got near Upper Ausable, which was two mountains away.  So I pretty much ran up Gothics (a pretty sweet climb itself) and hung out for 45 minutes attending to a blister.  Afterwards I headed up Sawteeth, which had a surprisingly nice view, especially of Basin, one of new favorite peaks.  I will soon be posting plenty of pictures.
    The hike down Sawteeth was pretty fun because the trail clearly didn’t get much use, and was hardly eroded at all.  I blasted down to the lake and filtered some water (not enough, I would soon discover).  From then on, the hike pretty much sucked.  There is some 1000′ feet of climbing from the lake back up to Panther Gorge, and I was tired and sore and unhappy.  At around six I made it back to camp, exhausted.  I had hiked about 13 miles with over 15,000 feet of elevation change.  Not your typical hike.  After posting trail conditions at Views From the Top I received quite a few incredulous emails from people about the hike.
    The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, I made it back to Elk Lake in just over 3.5 hours.  Pretty much on cue, as soon as I had finished loading my stuff back into the car, it started raining, and pretty hard at that.  Immaculate timing.

Sept 10: Headed back to the Roc.
Sept 11: Went back to work, this time as an "Independent Contractor" at Soleo.  Since I’ve been back they’ve been keeping me pretty busy, which is also keeping me happy.

Since: Working during the week, partying on the weekends.  Just the way it should be.