Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hiking Hadley Mountain, Part 1

I've been saying for quite a while that my soul yearned for a mountain trail experience, that I needed time in the woods for healing and revitalization. We'd had a surprisingly warm spell and I decided that it was time for a hike. But by the time Sunday arrived, it had turned cold once again. I put Seamus and Fergus in the back of the car and drove to the trail head anyway.

We went to Hadley Mountain in the Adirondacks, just above Lake Luzerne, New York. Even with the colder temperatures, I found 5 or 6 cars parked there. We signed the log-in book and began our hike up the mountain:

The trail was quite rocky and I made a mental note to step carefully in an attempt to avoid any twisted ankles. Dogs, of course, don't worry about such things:

The forest at the base of the mountain was mostly Hemlocks and it was a beautiful, peaceful scene - just what I'd been hoping for:

As the trail began to turn upwards, we ascended some steps made by an energetic and thoughtful work crew. Also, as the trail turned upwards, I no longer felt chilled. In fact, walking up a mountain can make one feel quite toasty:

Fergus and Seamus have heard some sound and are alert to all possibilities:

But it was a false alarm and we once again began climbing upwards. Notice that the Hemlocks have disappeared and the forest has become hardwoods, primarily Beech, Maple and Oak:

We got occasional glimpses of more Adirondack mountains through the trees:

Many Beech trees had held their leaves all winter long. As I remember from college, Beech leaf litter (and Dogwood) tend to make the soil more alkaline. Oak leaf litter tends to acidify the soil. This forest had lots of both. You may notice that the trees are relatively small. That's because of the forest fires this mountain has experienced over the years:

The spring rains and snow melt had occasioned a mountain stream which was rushing down hill parallel to the trail and its bubbling and gurgling was our music as we hiked upwards. Curiously, as you can almost see here, the bedrock was only inches below the soil. Those trees must not have very deep roots and I suppose that would explain all the large wind-fallen trees we passed:

We walked over to the stream and found a deeper spot where the dogs could get a drink of very cold fresh water:

A small Birch had fallen across the stream and created an artistic arrangement:

Large rock outcroppings began to appear all around us as we climbed ever higher. I began to think that this mountain looked more like it belonged in the Catskills than the Adirondacks:

And here's a quick video of Seamus and Fergus enjoying a chilly drink of water and some very cold feet. The shallow bedrock shows up well on this video:

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