Category Archives: animal tracks

Spring Hike weekend

Back in the Adirondacks for Spring!  We are not summer hikers, so this will be pretty much our last ADK jaunt until fall. Too many bugs, and too

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Downy yellow Violet

much heat make summer treks way to stressful. Between slathering on bug repellant and sun block I feel toxic rather than healthy, so staying home is the best solution.

May 19, 2016-Little Porter Mountain
Today the weather was forecast to be partial sun until afternoon pop-up thunderstorms. We went out early and took on a 3.8 mile RT peak called Little Porter. We could have continued on to Porter mountain (Big Porter?) but I think we have come to the conclusion that 4 hours is the maximum hike time that will allow a second day for another lengthy hike.

 

It was a great hike, IMG_5157beautiful Pine stand forests, running brooks and a manageable incline with a 2995 ft. peak. We paced ourselves taking pictures and taking in the early spring blooms like this violet . The summit was impressive, although not the highest peak it is a great span of Wolf’s Jaw, Noonmark and the Brothers.

 

May 20th, 2016 – Van Hoevenberg Trial

Today’s weather was clear, sunny and in the 70’s. We had thought IMG_5171 about Horseback riding, but we opted exercise ourselves rather than give the horse the workout. It was the right choice as the hike was a great one!  With a summit at 2860′ and a gentle
grade hike up it was a pleasant journey up and down.
Along the way, more spring flowers emerging trailside.  Summit was a beautiful view of the range and the valley

The trail begins with a serene pine forest. The needles padding your way under foot, so different from the rock hopping riverbeds of other peaks we have been to.  As we continued,the path opened up to a hardwood forest flooded with light and the bright green of new leaves.

 

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The skeletal tree forest

Early in the hike you pass through what is described as a  skeletal tree forest, and it is as eerie looking as it sounds.  Beavers had built a dam that flooded the area, and created a swampy habitat.  As the trail skirts around this area one steps gingerly from one fallen log to another to avoid the black mud. I find it ironic that one species can look at an area and see nothing but devastation, while the other species created it as a haven. At least the beavers don’t make the environment toxic, can’t say the same for humans.

 

May 21, 2016 – Baxter Mountain

I believe this was the first mountain that we ever hiked in the Adirondacks 7 years ago. It clocks in as a 2.6 mile round trip with an average grade of 11.2%. It was a great end of vacation jaunt, and brought back a lot of memories of our early days on the trails as newbies

We wanted to keep this trip a low key vacation and so we kept our hiking choices under 5 hours. These three hikes were perfect both in time and difficulty to make this trip both enjoyable and relaxing.

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Public Land, Private Land and trust

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We are all so fortunate to have National Parks and Forest Preserves. In NY particularly Adirondack Park Reserve, and Catskill Forest preserve. 3million acres of land have been put aside and is maintained by Forest Rangers, and Environmental specialists. Citizens can play a part in the future of these natural resources as well.

When we hike these lands we are visitors. The forests are enjoyed by all. As we were hiking today we came across a sign that said “private land” and I thought to myself how generous the landowner was (or maybe there simply was no choice when the land was purchased?) to let total strangers hike across their land. Such trust that the signs that say “stay on trail” are followed!

Just saying as side thought, this sounds like the concept of a Library!  Tax dollars pay for books, media, resources. Accessible to all and based on a trust that there will respect shown to not only the material, but to the other people who use the material.

Random connections of things you think about when in total natural wild beauty…

 

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Marching into March

Back in the ADK. Funny how it draws us every two months, and it has been that way for the last 7 years. “Vacationing” traditionally a one to two week break that is taken two times a year, has never been possible for us.Instead a three day end of week/weekend works best by not cutting deeply into a work week and allows a physical break from daily routine. This is how we have been able to maintain high level stress and taxing decisions during norman work days.

March 4th Ampersand Mountain: -2 Degrees

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We have never attempted to hike in below zero weather. It poses challenges greater than putting one foot ahead of the other and knowing what gear to switch out to. Keeping your nose, for instance is what is important, exposure to extreme cold will frost-bite skin in a short time, and is painless while it is happening but damage is life long afterwards. It was a long beautiful trek with a gradual inclineIMG_4934 that was wooded and slightly snow covered. It was a beautiful clear day and the crunching sound of the micro spikes was all that could be heard.

Ampersand mountain is in Saranac Lake, an area that we have yet to hike, so although it is the Adirondacks it was outside of Keene and Lake Placid area which we are familiar with. Driving 30 minutes to get to a peak added a bit of stress to the day, but we looked at it as expanding our comfort zone to add to our experiences. At the start of the final mile the trail took a sharp ascent, was icy, and far too challenging for us to attempt after two hours of hiking. We opted to turn back, and save this summit for later seasons when crampons are not needed. Total hours: 5

 

March 5th : Rocky Falls / Indian Pass Trail

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This is one of our go-to hikes when we want a lower trek, no or minimal altitude. The reward at the end is a serene waterfall and a great comfy tree covered  rock that you can sip coffee, cider and snack on trail mix.

It was warmer (14 degrees!) windless and a bit cloudier but we were under dense woods for the entire hike, so it’s not as if we were going to summit and catch a grand valley view. It was a great day and a relaxing walk, just what was needed after the challenge of slick ice covered boulders.

 

March 6th: Rooster Comb Mountain 

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One of our favorite things to do on a winter hike is to look for footprints of the wildlife. We are always amazed at the absence of animals when we are up in the mountains and we attribute it to the fact that they are way too shy to be seen. On the other hand… they may just be stalking us and waiting for us to weaken and then pounce! We made the mistake of watching a horror movie of a couple that were camping in the Canadian wild and were attacked by a bear. A cautionary tale that stays with us and is never too far from our thoughts when in the woods!

IMG_4955 Spotting moose prints was a pretty exciting event for us. I feel its the closest we will ever  get to “seeing a moose” but, we will be coming back, there is always a next time.

The hike was challenging. This is the second time we have done Rooster Comb, the first time was in October of 2010. It was criss-crossed with elaborate  bolder stairs and traverses that ascended pretty quickly to 2700. When we saw the ice covered stairs at a 45 degree angle, we opted  to call it, and once again come back later in ice free seasons. It would not be a wise choice to make one wrong slip and ruin the rest of the season to an injury. It was a beautiful crisp day, all along the way glimpses of the sky and mountains would remind us why we keep coming back.

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