Living Well

HIKING MAJOR WELCH TRAIL {BEAR MOUNTAIN STATE PARK, NY}

Bear Mountain State Park

There are so many great things about hiking at Bear Mountain; multiple trails to hike (some easier then others,) clean bathrooms, easy parking, well maintained trails, walking trails, a lake, a pool, a gift shop, and even a place to eat. You could easily spend all day at Bear Mountain, whether you are hiking or not. On Memorial and Labor day lots of families show up at 9:00am with picnic supplies and BBQ supplies in hand and they stay all day.

Today, I’m sharing one of our favorite hikes and it’s definitely on the more difficult side. This particular hike includes hiking up Major Welch Trail and down the Appalachian Trail. The Major Welch Trail is not good for families or strollers. However, lots of families hike up the Appalachian trail and some with strollers, but be prepared to carry that stroller at times.

WHEN TO VISIT

The park fills up fast on the weekends. Visiting any day during the week is great, but if you go on the weekend, make sure to go early. When we visit we almost always arrive by 8:30am or 9:00am. The park and parking areas fill up fast, easily by 12:00pm. Bear Mountain is close enough to NYC and is surrounded by multiple communities that it can get very busy. If you’re visiting in the summer visiting early in the morning is great too, because it will be cooler. Bear Mountain gets very hot and humid.

WHERE TO PARK

If you arrive early enough on a weekend and any time during the week there is parking at Bear Mountain Inn. It’s $10 to park during peak season, which is May through October. If you arrive later in the day it’s likely that the parking lot will be full. There is also a possibility that if the park get’s too full they will close the parking area and the roads that lead to the Inn. This has happened to us before, so going early is ideal.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Major Welch Trail is a 1.5 mile hike up to Perkins Memorial Tower which is the top of Bear Mountain and the trail head is off Hessian Lake which is behind Bear Mountain Inn. This is a difficult hike, has a steady incline, and includes some scrambling. You don’t have to be in tip-top shape to do this hike, but you do have to be willing to work. It’s important to wear hiking shoes on this trail, it will make the hike so much easier, because the sturdy grip on hiking shoes make it easy to scramble up a few rock faces.

Once you get to the top at Perkins Memorial Tower you can rest and take in the view. An ideal trail to take down is the Appalachian trail. This trail is very well maintained with lots of steps. It’s an easy hike down compared to hiking up. We do not recommend hiking down the Major Welch trail. It’s possible, but very difficult because of a few steep rock faces. If you’re up for the challenge you can always try it, but it will be very difficult.

This hike totals a 3 mile loop and on average takes about 3 hours.

Almost forgot, you can use the restroom at the Inn before beginning your hike and there are porta-potties at the top of the mountain.

HIKING CHECKLIST

 

Start your hike off on the right foot! Download your FREE hiking checklist below!

 

WHEN YOU REACH THE TOP

If this is your first time hiking Major Welch you may reach an overlook and think it’s the top, but keep going. There are so many beautiful views when hiking this side of the mountain, take your time and enjoy them. Once you do reach the top, you’;; see Perkins Tower and be able to take a rest and take in the view. On a clear day you can actually see the NYC skyline, it’s amazing.

REMEMBER YOUR WATER AND SNACKS

Snacking at the Perkins Tower is ideal too, don’t forget your snacks. It’s the perfect time to recharge and prepare for the hike down. Protein bars, trail mix, cuties, grapes, even peanut butter and jelly are great snacks for your hike.

We always remind our friends to bring plenty of water, because you’ll need plenty. Bring a small backpack, water bottle or two, and your snacks. Remember, you’ll be hiking for about 3 hours and sweating a lot, so you’ll need plenty of water.

Remember the water rule; drink of you body weight in ounces a day.


WHAT'S IN MY GYM BAG

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In the last few years if I was going shopping (which I don’t do that often) I was going for workout gear. I was never really a fitness person until Tyler and I started working out together. We were about 2 years in to being married and a friend from church invited us to do P90X3 with a group he was putting together. I don’t even remember if I had workout clothes to start… I’m sure I grabbed an old pair of dolphin shorts and t-shirt, basically anything I had in my closet. We were newly weds without any extra cash, so we did with what we had. When Christmas rolled around that year I told my mom all I wanted was fitness clothes.

Over time working out became one of my favorite things… I was that obnoxious friend that was constantly asking her friends to workout, and my wardrobe was slowly taken over by workout clothes. And I’m still that person today, haha. I’ll buy workout clothes all day long… when it comes to putting together everyday outfits, I feel kind of lost, ha.

I prefer my workout gear to be multiple purpose so I look for items that I can wear for lots of different activities; cardio, strength training, pilates, hiking…. maybe running (I’m not a big runner, haha.)

Ready to refresh your workout clothes or gear up FOR your fitness journey?! Jump ahead for all my favorite items!

HEAT GEAR LEGGINGS: These Under Armour leggings are my favorite and I love that I can wear them for just about anything. I wear them when I do cardio, I wear them when I strength train, and I wear them when I do yoga. These crop leggings work really well for me, because 5’2” so they aren’t too long. I sometimes have a problem with leggings being too long.

I love Under Armour leggings, because they are made to perform, are excellent quality and are more affordable then Lululemon, haha. They stay put, but still move with you, and I love that I can wear them and feel like I’m not wearing anything.

The number one thing I look for when choosing workout clothes is performance and these leggings do not disappointment.

ECLIPSE BRA: I have multiple UA Eclipse bras. They are considered mid-impact, which means they are going to be snug and I love that about them. I wear them for everything, even everyday things. I’m small chested which means I can wear the Eclipse bra for cardio, strength training, running, and hiking. If you need more support and more coverage I would recommend an UA bra that is high impact, like the Eclipse high impact front zip.

WHISPERLIGHT MUSCLE TANK: I just recently got into crop tops and muscle tanks. I love how muscle tanks pair with leggings. I think they are super fun, are light weight and perform great!

CHARGED RUNNING SHOE: These UA running shoes are perfect if you have a narrow heel and wide toe box. They keep your heel in place and reduce slipping which drives me crazy. I wouldn’t recommend these shoes for cross-training, you need something with a wider base to maintain balance. You could wear theres shoes for strength training, but I would recommend a cross-trainer for strength training too. You need your feet to have a flat base when lifting, especially if you’re doing legs… you need something that allows you to put your weight in your heels.

UA ULTRA LOW SOCKS: I have been wearing these no show socks for years and they are my favorite. They stay put, don’t slip down your heel and stay hidden within your shoe.

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POCKET RUN SHORTS: I wear these UA run shorts for strength training and cardio. They are also great on the go. They have built in briefs, which used to drive me a little crazy, but I love them now because they stay put no matter what workout I’m doing.

STREAKER TANK & TWIST TANK: I have tons of UA tanks and they are all razor back, haha. I’ve had this one and this one for years. I wear them for cardio, strength training, and hiking.

PLAY UP MESH SHORTS: I wear these shorts for cardio and strength training, they are great!

HEADPHONES: These headphones aren’t anything fancy, but they get the job done. I love wearing them when strength training.

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EVERYDAY AMAZON: SELF CARE

* this post contains affiliate links *

* this post contains affiliate links *

Did you hear that the stock shop is closing? Yep, everything in the stock shop is 75% off, so go grab your favorites. I have to stay I think this year will probably be a season of transition. I have some fun ideas I would love to try out and I thought I would share some of my favorite products, starting with my favorite Amazon beauty buys.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Rich Cream Moisturizer: I’ve been using Vichy moisturizer for about 2 years and I love it. I have really dry sensitive skin and it works perfectly. So, if you’re the dry sensitive skin type, give it a try.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Awakening Eye Cream: I recently started using this eye balm and I’m really like it. A little bit goes a long way and I love that.

Vichy Mineral Infused Face Mask: This face mask is perfect for some added hydration. You message it on, let it sit, and then rinse it off. I love how my face feels once I use this.

Vichy Pureté Thermale One Step Cleanser for Sensitive Skin: I use this cleanser every morning and it works perfectly for removing eye makeup too.

OGX Moroccan Sea Salt Spray: This spray is perfect for adding texture to my hair… especially sense my hair is super straight and in lack of any texture at all.

skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gel: Tired eyes? These hydro cool firming eye gels.

Eucerin Original Healing Rich Creme: This is my favorite drugstore buy and I love that I can get it on Amazon now. I’ve been using Eucerin for year and it’s perfect for dry sensitive skin too.

Infusium Moisturize & Replenish Spray: I don’t often use leave-conditioner, but this one is my favorite.

Natural Ice Lip Balm: I buy this lip balm in bulk… I have it in every bag… in our bedroom, in our bathroom. I’ve even used this lip balm in a pinch when my hands were chapped, when I had really dry skin, it’s my go-to.

FAVORITE AMAZON BEAUTY BUYS

MABUHAY FROM THE PHILIPPINES

Things slow down around here in December. It's one of my favorite times of year... and I'm finally able to share about our trip to the Philippines. I'm not even sure where to start. Tyler and I traveled to Zamboanga City, Philippines to celebrate my brother and his wife. They got married and it was beautiful. 

We took a redeye from JFK to Manila. It was a 20 hour flight, with one stop in Vancouver. It was my first international flight and the longest flight I had ever been on. My biggest concern was the long plane ride, but it was unexpectedly pleasant. I watched movie after movie, and the flight attendant brought lots and lots of food. The hardest part about our flight was not getting to lay down when I was super super tired, haha. 

We landed in Manila with a 20 hour layover, then we had another redeye to Zamboanga City. We arrived as the sun came up. It was the first time I would be seeing my brother for almost 2 years and it was also the first time meeting Michelle, my brother's new wife. It was a lovely reunion and an amazing trip. We stayed at the Garden Orchid hotel, which I would highly recommend. I would also recommend that you take a trip to the Philippines. :)

Our first day started with a 6:00am breakfast. After breakfast we had a short bit to unpack and settle in. Later that morning we were off to the church for my brother and sister-in-laws baptism. We had our first lunch with all the in-laws were we had amazing food and amazing company. I ended up crying at the table because I was so exhausted, but managed to pull my self together, haha. I felt like I had been up for two days, whew. 

Our our second day we went to Santa Cruz island, known for it’s beautiful pink beaches. Everything was amazing. We took a small boat to the island and I was just sure we were going to sink. ;) But we didn’t. We were only on the beach for a few hours, but it was beautiful and peaceful. We met locals, took pictures, sat under trees and had the very best time. 

We did a variety of things while we were there and all the days are running together now, whew. A few of our our favorite highlights included riding in a Jeepney, this was one of Tyler’s favorite things ever and I will agree, it was so fun! Jeepney’s were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II… if you were wondering. :) All the jeepney’s we saw had open seating and we jumped from one to the other. When someone wanted to get off, they simply tapped the railing with a coin. 

The wedding was on Friday, so we had the week to explore the city and have lots of fun. We had breakfast that Friday morning, followed by hair and make-up... my first time ever having my make-up done, and our attire was all ready for us. Tyler and I were apart of the wedding party and slightly unprepared, haha! We were considered sponsors for the wedding and we were in charge of the veil. Both of which are traditional in Philippine culture. During our part of the ceremony, neither Tyler or I knew what to do, so one of the wedding planners helped us. During the reception we both had to give speeches too… and we were unprepared for those as well. I got up on stage and was completely speechless. My brother coached me from the side as I stared at him. 

My brother and Michelle, went above and beyond to take care of us and make sure we had an amazing time. Michelle’s family was so open, generous, and kind. Our favorite part of the trip was the culture and all the people. 

Another random thing… Tyler and my mom were a hit with everyone. Zamboanga City doesn’t often get foreigners, so the fact that they were obviously foreigners (they are white, haha) they sure brought a lot of stares. We had a great time and it was one of the most amazing experiences! We definitely plan on going again. xoxo. Samantha