HURT Mega Relay: Die by the Sword

A week ago Sunday, my friend Barclay called me. “It’s a beautiful day, let’s canoe the Rockaway River!” Why not? With recent rain, the river was high and running fast. Twenty minutes later, we hit a strainer and went for a swim. By the time we reached the takeout, I was borderline hypothermic and wondering if I’d blown my chances to race.

Fast forward to this past Saturday: as my Subaru clawed its way up 13th Lake Road to Garnet Hill, the car thermometer stayed put, at zero. A frosty welcome for Hudson United Race Team’s (HURT) Mega Relay. Nothing like a bit of zero degree temperatures for a ski race. I hoped it would be warmer than the Rockaway River.

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Christmas Week in Johnsburg NY

Spending Christmas Week in Johnsburg NY is a family tradition. It’s a logical time to take time off, and rack up some ski days. Holidays in the mountains are always good.

Garnet-Hill-Lodge-view
View from Garnet Hill

Good skiing at this time of year is somewhat reliable. As much as we know that, we also know that one or two times in ten, we’ll get skunked. We dream of natural snow, but as East coast skiers, we’re always ready for the possibility that conditions will be marginal.

Regardless, we come and ski what we can. This season, after record warmth in November and December, we had a lot more fun than we expected. I’d actually call it a great time.

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Hooper Garnet Mine, NY

Garnet mining is an important part of the history of the Gore Mountain region. And, right in our neighborhood, is an old abandoned garnet mine; the Hooper Mine on Garnet Hill.

Hooper Garnet Mine NY

The garnet from this area was (and is) prized for the way it fractures, making it very valuable for abrasives like sandpaper. In 1878 the Barton family began mining on the backside of Gore Mountain.

Twenty years later Frank Hooper started his mining operation near Balm of Gilead Mountain.  Hooper’s mine wasn’t as rich as Barton’s, but to some extent, he made up for it with ingenuity.

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