Love in the Adirondacks & Our Favorite Hiking Gear

On Saturday we went from this…
To this…

🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂  🙂 

Last year we loooved our overnight hike in the Adirondacks so much that we had to do it again. I think this will be one of our summer traditions as long as we live on the East Coast. This year we decided not to sleep in the car the night before at the trailhead.  😉 😉  But there was still plenty of romance ahead…

We did a total of 13 miles of hiking along a trail and set up camp near this gorgeous lake.  We were in HEAVEN!!!

And yes, we were very much alone and didn’t have bathing suits so we did skinny dip out to that rock. hahha.  Danny couldn’t stop laughing about me screaming and jumping into the cold water as fast as I could…because, you know, maybe the ducks would see me?  Some deer?  So in my haste, my entrance to the lake was more of a tumble and fall into the water off of the slick rocks.  Oh my.  We couldn’t stop laughing.

Danny is the BEST camper.  He just knows what to do and LOVES every task involved in camping (fishing, packing the backpacks, scouting out a trail, checking the map in his back pocket, purifying the stream water for drinking and cooking, finding the BEST camping spot ever, building the fire, making our hiker meals on our miniature burner, hanging our food in a tree overnight.)

But the best part of all is just being with an absolute gentleman.

Danny holds my hand on the trail if it’s wide enough for us to walk side by side.

If he’s a few steps ahead of me as we walk through a little stream, he lets me know if some of the rocks are wobbly.

As we walk along, we just talk and talk about life, love, politics, food, religion, our one day family, what vegetables we would want to plant if we had a garden. 🙂

If we get a small distance between us, Danny will often call out and say, “Hi, love.  How are your feet doing?”

Or he’ll stop on the trail if an area is a little steep…and maybe reach out his hand to help.

At the camp he’ll check to see if I could use a little warmth and then proceed to make a fire and some hot chocolate.

And um…you should have seen him tucking me in when we retired to our tent.  He had a mylar blanket for me that he tucked all around my sleeping bag before we cozied and kissed and thanked each other for such a wonderful day together.

I know these things may sound simple and maybe this just seems normal to you.  But to me, this kindness means the world.  This kindness is heaven.  I could never ever take it for granted.   🙂  🙂

Danny got up very early and saw the sunrise.  He took these pictures for me to see later, as I was still fast asleep.

He said these two frogs hung out with him while he did a little fishing.  CUTE!

And, in case any of you are hikers or feel tempted to give it a try, I thought I’d share with you the hiking equipment that we really, really love. Danny researched a bunch before buying this stuff and it has all been working out so well.


Danny’s Osprey Backpack (Exos)


Osprey Backpack

Mara’s Osprey Backpack (Exos)

Osprey Backpack

High Peak Hyperlite 2-Person Tent  (Danny got his tent 17 years ago. but this is the updated version.)

High Peak Hyperlite 2-Person Tent

 Hex 2.0 Crazy Creek Chairs (these ones are made for hiking and roll up very small.)

Kelty Cosmic 35 Degree Sleeping Bags

Mylar Blanket

Sleeping Mats:  ALPS Mountaineering Light Weight Self-Inflating Air Pad

Water Packs:  Osprey HydraForm Reservoir

Aquamira Water Treatment Drops

Seattle Sports Camp Bucket

Hiker Stove:  Vaude Markill Spider Outdoor Burner

Texsport Stainless Steel Backpackers Cook Set

 AlpineAire Dried Hiker Meals (It’s true that just about anything tastes good in the mountains. 🙂

Guyot Designs 5 in 1 Microbite Set

Salt & Pepper Shakers

Pocket Knife:  Kurshaw Blur Knife with Steel Blade

Energizer Trailfinder LED Headlight (LOVE these for reading at the camp at night.)

P.S.  This spot we went to in the Adirondacks is called Pharaoh Lake.  We can’t recommend it enough!!  If you are gluten-free, stop at Sherry Lynn’s Gluten Free Store and Bakery on the way (we both really liked her homemade bread).  And then on the way back, go have a delicious Indian meal in Saratoga Springs at a place called Karavalli.  They can make many of their creamy sauces with coconut milk and we both just love the food there.

Do you guys go backpacking or car camping? Where are your favorite spots? For me, I think I definitely prefer the minimalist style of backpacking opposed to coolers, air mattresses, and 3 bedroom tents.  🙂  Though I’m sure if we had kids, we’d have to really adjust our camping style for awhile. And, do you have any favorite pieces of hiking/camping gear?  We are suckers for this stuff.

Get The About Love Experience


  1. todd & nicole August 27, 2013 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Looks amazing! And car camping can be fun too. With little ones its all about picking a good campsite (without too many people) and yummy food.

  2. Lauren August 27, 2013 at 11:47 am - Reply

    These pictures are so gorgeous, you're making me want to move to New York! Glad you were able to sleep a bit better on this trip than last year 🙂

  3. Amber August 27, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    What an amazing weekend! After having our 4 children, we often look back and think we did far too little of this kind of thing while we had the freedom. Glad you're enjoying yourselves!

    • Jessica Brown August 27, 2013 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      We thought the same thing on our last camping trip with three kids. How come we didn't do this when it was just the two of us. It would have been so peaceful!

  4. Kate Sheleg August 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Love this! After a sweltering summer of beach days, it's good to get into the forest. The ADKs are so peaceful. This weekend we stayed slightly closer to the city, in the Catskills. Check out this sweet hamlet with its many outdoor activities.

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      ahhhh – thank you for sharing that post. That area sounds so great – and Graham and Co. has been on the TOP of my list of hotels to check out.

  5. Alyssa August 27, 2013 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    I'm not much of a camper, but there's something so peaceful about putting the phone away, and just being in a tent along a lake. I got to sneak away with a big group of friends this summer. You guys make it look so romantic and lovely though.

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

      yes – no phone – it can really be such a blessing to not have phone service once in awhile.

  6. Kristelle Larsen August 27, 2013 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    My mom grew up camping in an RV. I grew up camping in a pop-up. My husband and I so far do car camping (even though he would love to backpack in). Maybe my kids will do more back pack camping since each generation seems to and one level of roughing it. I am not ready to really give up bathrooms yet.

  7. Ruthie August 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    The photos are incredible! I want to be transported someplace like that right now! I loved what you said about not taking kindness of granted. I hope I don't. Thank you so much for being such an uplifting voice in the blogosphere.

  8. Malissa B. Moench August 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    We just went camping for my birthday last weekend! We go to Christmas Meadows on the border of Utah and Wyoming. So beautiful!! We're big campers– thanks for the gear suggestions! Because we don't have enough money to get all the gear we want at once, we decided to buy something new each time we go camping. We'll have to try some of these awesome products!
    Thanks for all you do!

  9. Alison Rae August 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    My husband and I LOVE backpacking! We live in Salt Lake so we mostly go to the Uintahs or down south to Capitol Reef when we do backpacking. We have not had the chance to go this Summer (Summer is already over???!!!) but this just makes me want to leave work right now and head up there. My soul is yearning for it!

  10. Allison August 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    I love how much of a gentleman Danny is. I feel like too often when hiking with men, I need to holler up to them to maybe backtrack a few steps and help me jump a slippery stream or jump down a rock or something. It's nice that they assume I've got it just fine, but it's also nice when they pause to make sure I'm taken care of. Kudos to Danny for that, and here's hoping I find that in a man someday!

  11. girlsmama August 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    We love camping! We started like you and Danny, just the two of us backpacking. As we entered the small children phase we morphed to car campers. The youngest of our four daughters is 6 now and we are discussing trying a short backpacking trip next summer! You can always camp and enjoy nature!! It's a great time to serve each other.

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm - Reply

      I think that age sounds great for a hike. We saw two dads on the trail with two maybe 4 yr olds each on their shoulders! Oh my. I'm guessing they didn't do it that way the whole time. But it was quite a scene.

  12. Sally Smith August 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing that beautiful trip! I hope Danny's behavior is "normal" but it sure isn't in my house! Even when I had babies, my hubby was always several steps ahead while I struggled with the double stroller. Let's just say he's often in his own little world.
    And I've never written before but I can't say "thank you" to both of you enough times. You are such an inspiration! And a great source of helpful info. By the way, my favorite place to camp–The Penisula Hotel in any city!

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

      Sally – love your style of camping, too. 🙂 🙂
      And well – it's true that it's not natural for some to be attentive or helpful or what not…I guess it's not a dealbreaker as hopefully a person has other qualities to be grateful for. But I know firsthand that it can also be hard to not receive those niceties. In my former marriage, I had to finally surrender to not having it. And really just had to give up those expectations. That helped a LOT actually. I had to also learn to not take it personally – and to just carry on – and to not have my self-worth based on those gestures or anything else. xo, M

  13. Sally Smith August 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing that beautiful trip! I hope Danny's behavior is "normal" but it sure isn't in my house! Even when I had babies, my hubby was always several steps ahead while I struggled with the double stroller. Let's just say he's often in his own little world.
    And I've never written before but I can't say "thank you" to both of you enough times. You are such an inspiration! And a great source of helpful info. By the way, my favorite place to camp–The Penisula Hotel in any city!

  14. Lisette August 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm - Reply

    We live for the weekend! We go hiking and camping almost every weekend in the Summer. All of our favorite places are alpine lakes since we live in Washington where the mountain trails are endless. I never thought much about it until I realized not everyone's husband wants to hold their wife's hand all the time. I try to never take this for granted too. Nothing bests the rejuvenation of the outdoors and being surrounded by God's creations.

  15. Milly August 27, 2013 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    My husband and I hiked every week during the summer for 2 years while we were dating- unfortunately with a 20 month old and newborn the opportunities to camp are very limited nowadays:), but we definitely loved it when we were able to and we are definitely planning on making all our kiddies lovers of the outdoors! There is something so rejuvenating and peaceful about the outdoors, especially when you are with a loved one;). And definitely all the gentlemanly stuff you mentioned are a great way for guys to earn brownie points;). I think it's so awesome that you two are able to utilize your time together- so many couples waste time in front of screens when they are together, but I love that you guys are always going out and trying new things and having adventures:). It makes for a much better relationship:). (And can I just say that I LOVE that you went skinny dipping?:D How fun:) ).

  16. Carrie August 27, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Glad to hear about your Osprey backpacks – I've been looking into getting one! I love camping in Moab, UT. It's been quite a while, I need to go again.

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      I am DYING to go to Moab!! That's on my bucket list. 🙂

  17. Ginna August 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Those photos are absolutely beautiful! I also love the one where you look like your and your backpack are in a wrestling match, and the series where Danny goes from J. Crew model to fire wrangler and back again! 🙂

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      hahaha. You're great. that photo of me and the pack almost didn't make it in. But I guess that's the real deal – wrangling with your pack and getting it on or off. And yeah, Danny's looks are well – – quite a bonus. 🙂 🙂 He is like a j.crew model to me, too. 🙂

  18. Maddy August 27, 2013 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    My husband and I both loved backpacking before we got married. Oddly enough since we've been married we've only been backpacking in the winter, which I love and would recommend. We try to reserve a yurt that we can ski into for a night or two each winter. My favorite piece of backpacking gear is our jetboil. I've even been known to sing songs about its greatness!

    • mara August 27, 2013 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Mmm…'ve inspired me here. I haven't been camping in the winter (I am sure Danny has)….but it seems super adventurous. And that Jetboil looks amazing.

  19. Allyson August 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    How fun! And thanks for the camping gear recommendations! I love that Danny photographed the sunrise for you to enjoy later…what a sweetheart! That's definitely my favorite part of camping – being able to enjoy nature and God's creations without being interrupted by technology. It's so refreshing!

  20. Jenny D. August 27, 2013 at 8:49 pm - Reply

    We love hiking and camping! With kids our hikes are mostly day-trip hikes and any camping we do is out of the car. We still prefer setting up the tent as opposed to anything else though. We highly recommend a Katadyn water purifier, no matter what we're doing (day hike or camping) it goes into a backpack and is handy for when we need it. There are several different types (with a range of prices) so if you'd like I can find out exactly which kind we have. Love your pictures, looks like an amazing place!

  21. Taylor B. August 27, 2013 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    How nice! Looks relaxing and cool.

  22. Katy @ All Sorts of Pretty August 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Oh my GOSH you have just made me start looking up hiking spots to go to with my love before it gets too cold! How romantic! I don't think my husband will skinny dip with me, but I bet we would have a blast anyways 🙂

  23. Katie Fisher August 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    we took our little family camping at a lake this summer – with a two month old baby and all! My boys loved waking up every morning and already being outside, and all the fresh air was heaven! I definitely want to do some backpacking when our little family is a bit older 🙂

  24. Delona M. August 28, 2013 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing about Danny's kindness and tenderness. My husband is the same and I am often not able to appreciate it when the children are around and there is so much to do. We did, however, get away for our anniversary recently and he was as kind and tender as he could be, taking such great care of me. I think a lot of us could work on that in all of our relationships, whether it be a marital relationship, a friendship, or a relationship between parent and child or sibling to sibling. What a beautiful thing to see and experience. Danny truly is a gentleman.

  25. joanna August 28, 2013 at 12:27 am - Reply

    We hiked/camped in Glacier National Park for our honeymoon and now we live near it so I've camped there a lot with a bunch of teens for work :). I LOVE that you brought "Crossing to Safety" with you…one of my favorites and PERFECT for a camping trip in the Adirondacks.

    • mara August 29, 2013 at 12:43 am - Reply

      You have such a good eye! 🙂

  26. Lisa | Happy By August 28, 2013 at 1:12 am - Reply

    So glad you guys had a romantic experience 🙂 But I also have to say you are brave to be the only ones out there. I have never gone real camping, but it must be such a relief and relaxing experience to be with someone who know everything and loves taking care of every single activity. Otherwise, oh my, I can't even imagine the stress involved.
    Regarding your words, I really appreciate it that you write every single thing you consider nice of Danny, because you should never forget any of them. It is not normal indeed for everyone to be able to show such care and love all the time and being able to experience that kind of behavior makes you never accept something else less than that.
    The other night we were watching a movie in the living room and my darling would pause it many times to come give me a kiss. He was doing it so often that I started to get annoyed at a point, but luckily I pinched myself on time to understand I should get pissed if he ever stops doing those things. Because we ladies are strange, but we definitely can spot the good things once seen 😉

  27. zben August 28, 2013 at 3:10 am - Reply

    So glad you are reading 'Crossing to Safety'. One of my favorites. Stegner is such a gift.

  28. dervla August 28, 2013 at 4:15 am - Reply

    this looked like so much fun!! I love love love camping. Your description of Danny's thoughtfulness on the trail was really sweet too. I used to camp all the time (in my parents backyard mostly) but haven't really since I got married. Time to drag him out on the trail, I think. Who knows? He might actually love it. My favorite part is waking up to the birdsong.

  29. Tamra August 28, 2013 at 4:34 am - Reply

    We have 3 kids, ages 11, 9, and 7. The perfect ages for camping trips! This year we made a trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. SO SO beautiful. I highly recommend it.

    We have a huge tent, and lots of gear, but I can't wait to do a- long backpacking trips with my hubby, and b- a canoeing trip with all 3 of the kids. I'm an outdoor nut, and I've been dreaming of those two trips since before my husband or kids existed! 🙂 Family definitely changes the outdoor experience, but I love sharing it with my little ones! It's totally worth it.

  30. Anonymous August 28, 2013 at 5:25 am - Reply

    When we were first married we lived in Texas and went camping at least once a month. I loved it when my husband got up and fixed the coffee first thing and brought be a cup. I have never tasted better coffee. Not sure if it was the fresh air or the kindness of something warm. My favorite place to camp and hike is Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. So many beautiful areas.
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

  31. City Chick August 28, 2013 at 10:48 am - Reply

    What kind of hiking boots do you use? I am in the market for a new pair (we are heading to the Superior Hiking Trail this fall). I'm curious! Great post. We have lots of the same stuff! Those chairs are the best!


    • mara August 29, 2013 at 12:47 am - Reply

      My boots are about 16 years old and from Nike. But they're still in good condition as I guess I haven't done very much hiking since I've lived in the city. Danny's boots are by Keen. Here's the link for the pair he just bought. He is really happy with them…

  32. Border Collie Lipstick August 29, 2013 at 4:24 am - Reply

    Danny definitely deserves your praise for being such a great camping partner….those guys come few and far between! I am just about to marry my boyfriend, who packs the entire car and then wakes me up with my hot cup of coffee when he is ready to leave the morning of our camping trips. Living in Utah offers plenty of choices just a few hours away, so we try to mix it up and hit the deserts, mountains, or lakes whenever the opportunity presents itself. We have a great little tent for backpacking but need to do some major upgrades when it comes to packs (but after recently reading "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed, I really can't complain….she is one tough gal and it is a great read if you like to backpack. And it will make you appreciate Danny even more…I know…seems impossible, but trust me!) On a scale of 1 to 10, how fair to fabulous is your Osprey?

    • danny August 29, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

      It's kind of hard to say. Before buying this pack, the last thing I owned was when I was a boy scout and had one of those external frame things that really wasn't that great. I did borrow from time to time my brother's much nicer internal frame pack when I was younger, and boy did that make a difference.

      I feel like the Osprey is much better than anything I had when I was younger, by far! I love the mesh back, it is super comfortable and allows for so much breathability, even when it's warmer outside. The shoulder straps and hip straps feel pretty comfortable, though I still haven't been able to avoid that slight discomfort in my shoulders that comes with a couple miles in and out.

      Also, they are ridiculously light weight. All in all, I really love them, and would rate them as an 8 or 9….but just keep I am comparing them to much older style packs.

  33. Amanda August 30, 2013 at 4:21 am - Reply

    In regards to the gentlemen comment, YES!!! I've been so spoiled by my 20 something year old Triathlon training buds and a dear guy friend a few years ago that treat me exactly how Danny looks after you that I know that that is how I want to be cared for by a significant other. It's one of those non-negotiables on my list of qualities in the men I date. It's a little rare to find it in the single 30 something year old LDS guys that are my age range. I keep my eye out though. 🙂

  34. Jess L September 6, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    My boyfriend and I are preparing for a big camping trip to Southern Utah and all the National Parks. We are going in 2 weeks and I can't wait. It will be our second trip together as a couple. He is also very attentive. I always thought we were silly that we hold hands all through the trails when we go hiking but I love it. Glad to know other lovers do that too! 🙂
    Do you have any recommendations for easy camping foods? I see you tried the dried hiker food, but I just can't get over the fact that it all just tastes like slop. Do you have any particular flavors you like the best? I don't mind it a night or two, but we will be car camping and backpacking for 9 days, so I'm trying to figure out our meals. any insight would be awesome!

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  39. Briana May 8, 2017 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Hi! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. It sounds amazing. I was wondering what trail/hike you did to reach this spot. I’m planning a trip to the adirondacks this summer and any info will help. I would love to go to this spot because it seems like you had the whole place to yourselves! Thank you 🙂

    • Mara Kofoed May 11, 2017 at 12:03 am - Reply

      Hi Briana! So awesome. We loooove the Adirondacks. On that hike we took the trail to Pharaoh Lake. I highly recommend it. There are several camping spots around the lake.

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