Friday, April 16, 2010

Daphne Hikes Beebe Hill, Part 1

On this past Easter Sunday, I decided to get brave and take Daphne for her first hike. I'd had her for less than a week, but she seemed intelligent, bonded to me so she wouldn't run away and part of the pack. I figured it'd have to be a short, easy hike because I'd likely be carrying her a good deal of the way. So, though Wally doesn't like rigorous hikes any more, I decided this one would be short enough for him also. So I left Winky and Wren at home, and brought Seamus, Fergus, Wally and Daphne hiking to Beebe Hill. This is in the Catskill/Taconic Mountain area on the New York/Massachusetts border, not far from where "The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" were written.

We arrived at the trail head and I was happy to find not a single car parked there. We had the whole mountain to ourselves:

The official trail leads up the side of the mountain through the woods, but I prefer to walk up a gravel lane. That route yields beautiful scenic views, woodland frog ponds and easier walking:

We'd barely begun when I saw what appeared at first glance to be a Dandelion. Looking closer, though, I saw that it was more like a short yellow Aster. Either way, it was clearly a member of the Composite family:

I took a closer look and discovered it had no leaves, but only a short waxy stem with a single flower. I looked it up when I got home and discovered that it is Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, an alien species which grows alongside roads (and it was). This plant produces flowers first, and a large leaf shaped somewhat like a colt's footprint later. Well, it was a welcome spring flower for our walk on Easter Sunday:

The first thing we came to was Barrett Pond, a lovely mountain pond filled that day with Canada Geese. Wally enjoyed exploring its shoreline:

Barrett Pond stretches out along the County highway which brought us to the trail head. I often see row boats and canoes here bearing fishermen. But on this recent Easter Sunday, it only supported Geese. The flock swam over to look at us more closely. I briefly considered getting the dogs out of there lest the geese go after them in defense of their nests, but all turned out to be peaceful:

There were blushes of green along the streams and occasionally along the forest floor:

Small spring streams flowed commonly from the mountaintops above us:

I walked into the woods to check out a stream. Seamus, Fergus and Daphne came with me, but Wally preferred to stay comfortable and dry on the gravel road:

This was Daphne's first hike, but she proved more than equal to the challenge and quite literally ran circles around the other dogs:

Here's a short video of Seamus and Daphne at a little mountain stream. This was old hat for Seamus, but a glorious revelation for Daphne:

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