Tag Archives: high peaks

Back on the Trails

November 1, 2018 – Exploring the Lake Champlain Area

Today we thought out of the box, and rather than staying in familiar territory we branched out and went North! I wanted to bring my camera and try to photograph the Flora and Fauna of the area. It was challenging trying to limit what was n my bag because for the past 9 years we have been packing for 5-hour hikes, cold, snow, rain…

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you name it…our thinking was to expect anything, and everything that may come our way while we were on the trail. Today was different. Lighter pack, camera lenses packed, and camera around my neck we set off on the Wildway Overlook Trail.

Easy hike, beautiful view of the Valley and plenty of colors left on the trees.

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November 2, 2018- Lewis Clearing BayDay two of the Champlain area

IMG_0497Another rainy day, so on with the precip pants and raincoats. On days like this, there is no reason to go summit anything because you take a chance of seeing nothing but fog. On occasion, the cloud cover may be high enough to see all you need, but we opted to stay shoreline. Lewis Clearing 1.9 miles in, so roughly a 3-mile day.

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Horsetail grass in habitat

It was quiet, canopy drips and swishing leaves is all that was heard. It was a level trail right up until the end when a 35-degree slope led down to the shore. The rain had picked up by the time we were there but stopped by the time we had our coffee and snack for the trip back.

A great trail overall, there are many more in this area that offshoots off this one, that basically went straight to the bay. Definitely worthwhile going back, we barely scratched the surface of the area

November 3, 2018- Silver Lake Bog Preserve

Last day of hiking this time around. Rain persisted throughout our stay this time without more than a 2-hour break. Today we continued to stay low altitude, no need to IMG_0505summit and so we did the Bog preserve in Ausable Forks. The first portion of the trail is a boardwalk over the bog. A beautiful spongy array of mosses carpet the ground, while Lichen and bearded moss hang from the trees on both sides of the path.

Perhaps the rain added to the atmosphere of the place, but it was a peaceful contemplative walk. At the end of the boardwalk, the trail to the Bluff started. Low incline, very do-able in weather like today. This trip also brought us to other parts of the territory that were not the “high peaks”. IMG_0512

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Springing into action again

Hopkins Mountain via Mossy Trail-March 2, 2017

First hike since last September!  I have always been a bit nervous on the start of this trail as it runs parallel to the Ausable River. If you remember Hurricane Irene tore through NY State in 2011, besides doing major damage to the roadways and the community of Keene, it cut deep into it’s banks, tearing through the forest and dragging , bolders, trees, bridges and pipes along with it. Early into this hike the trail is on the edge of the wall, with the river raging below. Fallen trees, tubing and wire fences still litter the forest. We have avoided this trail in the icy winter months because of this, however we attempted it this time and successfully, albeit tenuously, navigated this area. The trail skirts some private property and turns deeper into hemlock forests traversing up to 3800 feet. Winter hiking is slow for us, we tend to respect our turnaround time rather than worry about summiting, so we packed in a solid 4 hour hike and called it a day.

Van Hovenberg Mountain-March 3, 2017

Beautiful trail ,snowy, but not enough for snowshoes we used micro spikes up… but crampons down. Got to the ledge and had a nice snack with hot cider and trail mix. This is the second time here, last time was not snowy. Beaver activity really floods the lower area and makes for challenging footing. Another 4 hour hike.

Car Trouble-March 4, 2017 Engine light really put a damper on our hiking day. Certainly don’t want to be stuck on a remote trailhead up here. So we stayed put, knit, read, relaxed and enjoyed the cabin..Plan B.

 

 

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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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Back In Step

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I am happy to say that Bill and I are back in the Adirondacks!

This trip has been an eye opener in many ways. After a knee injury set me back 9 months I have been happy to see that I am able to do hikes up to 4 hours with fairly steep inclines, and minimal scrambles. This may seem like nothing to most ADK hikers, but for me, it was a confidence builder that told me “I am not my knee injury” and I am back in step.

With that said, being out for so long has given me a new perspective on where I am in my hiking life. I use to think that I would love to learn to lead climb. I love rock climbing out on real rock, gyms are OK, but I was introduced to rock climbing on the real thing. It is exhilirating and nothing captures the feeling of being a kid again more than this sport. Lead climbing however comes with great responsibility. Not only would I be putting my life at stake, but whoever is below me would be dependent on my abilities. I am not willing to take this kind of risk.

Three days, three climbs.

Thursday: Poke-o-Moonshine. Considered one of the lower 54 this mountain was a perfect intro back into hiking ADK. A gentle hike 2.37 miles with a fire tower at the peak. No scrambling, no rock-hopping- river-bed trail, just a great foot path with serene forest, frogs, salamanders and a few birds. By the middle of the hike, I was in short sleeves it had gotten so warm.

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Friday: Mt Jo. The trail was a bit wetter than Thursday’s hike, but it had snowed in the morning just enough to coat everything with a white dusting. At 2,876 feet it was a bit higher than Poke-O-Moonshine, and the last few tenths of a mile were a scramble. Summit was windy, and colder as expected, but we had our proper gear and we used all of it by the end of the hike.

 

IMG_2357Saturday: A return visit to Big Crow. Always good for a “quick hike”  .07 mile and 2,815′  it was a perfect end-of-stay hike. Incredibly beautiful vista at the summit makes this trail a win-win. We  would laugh that the chattering birds, few that there were, were warning their families that we were on our way on the trail. It always amazes us how little wildlife we actually see when we are hiking, more wildlife passes through our backyard!

Quiet time, down time, time to reflect is all so important to balance all the challenges that come our way at both work and life in general. Nothing is more humbling than standing on a summit and looking at the mountain ranges around you. It really puts things into perspective.

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