Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Taconic Crest Trail - Part 3

We were well on our way along the Taconic Crest Trail on the border of New York and Massachusetts as I hiked with Fergus, Seamus and Daphne. We'd done a lot of deep woods hiking and seen plenty of spring flowers on the forest floor, but now we'd emerged into a high clearing where spectacular views of the valley below were spread out before us. This view is looking southeast and that curving road you see on the left is New York Route 2, the road on which we arrived. The parking area is just about where it curves around that mountain hump. That's American Shad, or Shadblow, blooming on the mountainside:

Little Daphne, with her muddy legs, was having a grand time and all excited. But she agreed to hold still for just a moment so that I could photograph her sitting beside some blooming lowbush blueberries:

The air was still and quiet, with not even the usual high peaks winds rushing by. Vultures soared soundlessly in the high spaces between mountains:

More Shadblow blooming on the hillside as I viewed the Taconic Mountains towards the southwest:

This has become one of my favorite photos as it shows all three dogs climbing the mountain up into the sky:

More scenic views, more blooming Shadblow, more Taconic Mountains, more peace and quiet:

The valley below is where I used to live and where New York Route 22 traverses in its long span from north to south. Standing up here all alone with my happy dogs with no other people anywhere was a bit like soaring:

Directly below our mountain where New York Route 2 runs east and west between Massachusetts and New York:

Fergus, Daphne and Seamus took a rest with the high altitude miniaturized trees behind them:

And I discovered some Red Trillium plants in bloom:

When we arrived at the Snow Hole, our destination, I was shocked to see a large group of hikers from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. We'd been totally alone on our mountain trek until then. They were resting and cooking lunch. You may notice Daphne getting chummy with the woman in the white tank top. But her main love affair was the man in black to the left. She was all over him like white on rice:

That's the snow hole on the right and the woman with the black tank top was cooking right on its edge. I warned her to watch carefully lest my goofy dogs topple the propane cookers down into the grotto. Then another couple arrived with a Miniature Poodle who looked much like Fergus. My two Poodles went bananas with excitement and ran over to see her but her owners picked her up quickly, not sure if they were friendly or not. It was just a matter of moments before all the dogs were playing together happily (the Williams College students had a dog also):

You may be wondering what happened to little Daphne in this photo taken down inside the Snow Hole. Well, she glommed onto that young guy resting near the entrance to the Snow Hole and was licking his face like shameless hussy. So I left her to her infatuation and descended down into the grotto with Fergus and Seamus:

There was indeed snow down inside, though less than I'd expected for early May. On the other hand, I suddenly broke through the crust and one leg dropped down several feet through the snow, so it was deeper than it at first appeared. Also, the temperatures above the Snow Hole were in the mid 80s, so the contrast was striking:

And I'll end with a short video clip taken at a scenic overlook just before we reached the Snow Hole:

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