Thursday, April 7, 2011

Grafton's Fire Tower Trail - Part 3

I was hiking the Fire Tower Trail at Grafton Lakes State Park up on the Rensselaer Plateau of upstate New York with four of my dogs. The snow had pretty much all melted down in the city, so I was surprised to learn that it lingered in such great quantities up here in the forest. I was following the trail uphill over ice and snow when my left foot slid out from under me right here:

I was quick enough to prevent being injured, though not quick enough to prevent the fall. I went down on the ice but then carefully got back up and continued on my way. This was the third cause for concern of the day. First I'd discovered that I forgot to bring my cell phone, then I'd found lots of bear tracks. I again reminded myself to be alert and cautious and kept climbing upward, now being more careful to stay off the ice:

We eventually arrived at a level spot in the trail and I could see a dirt road ahead. I realized we'd somehow missed the fire tower but had no idea where we went wrong. But to chronicle the hike, I reached into my pocket for my camera so I could photograph the dirt road. But my pockets were empty. I could only assume that my camera had flown out of my coat pocket when I slipped on the ice so we began backtracking, looking for the spot where I'd gone down:

This ice was so slick that even the dogs, with their low centers of gravity and claws, were slipping and sliding. But I had to search for my lost camera, so I carefully picked my way around the edges of the ice. I had just decided to give up, that I'd never find it, when I saw my camera on the ice near near where I'd fallen. It still worked just fine, so we continued on our way back toward the trail head and our parked car. None of the things which had worried me were of any concern to the dogs. This was a great fun experience for them from start to finish and, I must admit, their joy was a great blessing to me:

We hiked downhill at a more leisurely pace than we'd climbed uphill, and I was happy to allow the dogs lots of time to go off the trail and explore:

Seamus' new haircut was only one day old but it clearly was still woolly enough to keep him warm:

Fergus is only half Poodle but has the same woolly coat. He was likewise comfortable in the winter conditions there, even with his new haircut:

Daphne and Clover, the Papillon pups, have no undercoat and one would think they'd get cold. But it never seems to bother them and their love of the outdoors superseded all else:

Clover played "The Great She-Wolf, hunting for game:"

Seamus appeared more thoughtful and contemplative:

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