Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mushrooms Galore! White Hill Wild Forest Part 2

I was on my second hike in the White Hill Wild Forest with my four younger dogs and this time we were taking a new trail. It wasn't as scenic as the the trail we took the first time - except, that is, for the huge variety of mushrooms. They were everywhere and in an array of shapes and colors. This one looked to me like something left behind by space aliens:

And onward we hiked through the forest. I was looking for Rock Pond (not Little Rock Pond which was on a different trail - wouldn't you think they could be more creative when naming ponds?) but truly suspected we were on the wrong trail and wouldn't find it. Well, there was nothing to be done at that point but to keep hiking and see what we would find:

The most common mushroom was a kind of ghoulish, cadaverous gray variety, many of which retained bits of the leaf litter through which they'd pushed their way up as they grew. I noted their eerie, ubiquitous presence just as a cool wind began to blow through the trees. Was this a haunted forest?:

Another mushroom, a toasted brown with upturned edges:

We came to a wooden bridge, charming in its way but perhaps a bit extravagant and out of place for a "Wild Forest:"

More mushrooms, some a rich mahogany:

And some a kind of peachy, buttery yellow - or perhaps I should describe it as butterscotch:

The trail was broad and level and easy to walk but felt so neglected and isolated as to be a bit eerie. But it was well marked, so we kept hiking:

And the forest was lovely. The cool breeze ended and the weather became hot and sticky. Mosquitoes and deer flies began to bite me and I spent much time swatting at them:

This odd plant was common. I'd seen it before but didn't know what it was. It was perhaps 6" tall and looked like a giant moss. I've since Googled it and think it was Shining Clubmoss, Lycopodium lucidulum, a relative of the Princess Pines which also grew there in abundance:

In spite of the mosquitoes, deer flies, humidity and hot temperatures, we were on a hike and I was going to make the best of it. We kept hiking onward. I'll post more tomorrow:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lovely Waters, White Hill Wild Forest Part 1

I was spending two nights up at the farm and had one entire day to do with as I pleased. I'd hiked up to The Pinnacle in the morning (see previous posts) and then stopped back at the farm apartment for lunch and to tend to Wally and Winky, both too old to hike with us. But then I decided to return to the White Hill Wild Forest for the afternoon, only a few miles south of my farm:

Once again I signed in at the kiosk. It's important so the land management team has some idea how many people are using the forest. But, more important to me, there's some way for the rangers to find me if I should be hurt along the trail. I especially like this photo because it caught little Clover leaping for joy. I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of the "Toilet" and "If You Carry It In, Carry It Out" signs. The third grader in me found that humorous:

The first stop along the trail was Clear Pond, which really is clear but perhaps too large to be a pond. It's more of a lake:

Clear Pond is a gem, a pure and unspoiled Adirondack lake. To Seamus, it was a nice swimming hole:

Seamus wanted the rest of us to come in and I might have been tempted if I'd brought my rubber slippers. But alas, he had to enjoy the cool waters all by himself:

The trail continues along the shoreline and then deeply into the forest. But first, I had some exploring to do right were I was:

Fergus and Clover explored the shoreline but were careful to keep their feet dry:

Pickerelweed, Pontederia cordata, was blooming beautifully all along the shore:

And the blue Pickerelweed flowers formed a nice frame for the view of the opposite shoreline:

But we'd come to hike the forest trail, so we set off on our afternoon journey:

When I arrived at a trail junction, I opted to bear right onto a trail I hadn't tried before. It bore no foot trail markers but only snowmobile markers, so I was unsure this was were I wanted to go. But we were going there nevertheless. I'll post more tomorrow:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hiking The Pinnacle, Part 3

I'd reached the scenic overlook of The Pinnacle and enjoyed the magnificent view, though I tied the dogs up first to keep them away from the edge:

I didn't know if this was the final overlook or if the trail would lead on to more scenic wonders, so I followed a little trail into the woods only to have it end near a patch of Trilliums already in fruit:

There was nothing to be done at that point except to begin the descent down the same trail which had brought us to the top. But it was a lovely path through the Adirondack forest and I knew it would be a scenic, pleasant walk:

Princess Pines, also known as Ground Pines or Club Mosses, grew in little mini-forests scattered along the trail:

And these rather large mosses holding their spore capsules aloft:

Daphne, true to form, stopped frequently along the way to browse on vegetation:

We hiked down, down, down the magnificent Adirondack forest mountainside. You can see in this photo how the mountain drops off just past the trees:

And little Clover once again gave me her "She-Wolf, Queen Of The Forest" pose:

A happy moment with the camera on self-timer mode:

And onward through some level parts of the forest with Seamus leading the way. He had lots more energy now that he'd lost some weight:

And soon we were back at the trail head. There had been not one other person on the mountain. Once again, we'd had that lovely forest and scenery all to ourselves. I signed out at the kiosk and began driving down the 1.7 mile gravel road to the highway:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hiking The Pinnacle, Part 2

I was hiking up the trail to the scenic look-out on "The Pinnacle" in the northern Adirondacks. I had my four hiking dogs with me and they were ecstatic to be outdoors and hiking once again. I snapped a picture of little Daphne on the trail ahead of me as we climbed our way upward:

The trail ziq-zagged back and forth instead of going directly up the side of the mountain as had the Azure Mountain trail. This made the hiking much easier and more pleasant. My two little hiking Papillons, Daphne and Clover, were having a great time. They'd been spayed only 7 days ago and I was not sure if they were ready for hiking. But I needed have worried:

Big ol' giant Seamus had recently lost 10 pounds (though he was still 120 pounds!) and had a haircut. So he was more energetic than I've seen him in a long time. He too was having a grand time:

I tried to photograph some bright red Trillium berries at the base of a cliff, but just before I snapped the picture, Clover raced through and knocked them to the ground. Sigh. Well, such are the "delights" of hiking with rambunctious dogs:

We climbed higher and higher, and I could tell by looking through the forest canopy that we were already above the surrounding hills:

And then I saw a glimpse of the surrounding St. Regis River Valley and Adirondack mountains. It was nice, but I hoped this wasn't the best view which this hike had to offer:

A few more bends in the trail, however, led me to this wondrous overlook:

The north country spread out before me in an amazing display of great beauty:

Incongruously, there was a picnic table at the top of the mountain and I wondered how on earth they got it up there. It kind of spoiled the wilderness feeling but was handy for tying the dogs to keep them away from the steep edge:

Do you see that strip of blue water off in the distance? That's the St. Regis River, where it's been dammed at St. Regis Falls and Santa Clara. I'd hiked along its shoreline the previous day with my dogs:

These are the northern highlands of the Adirondack Park and only a few miles south of my farm. Who could ask for a more scenic, wonderful place to spend one's retirement? Notice the little bog at the base of the cliff just below where I was standing. This was most likely an old beaver pond beginning to fill in as the cycle of forest/pond/bog/forest continues. Well, I assumed that this was the end of the trail but wasn't yet ready to hike back down to the car. I'll post more tomorrow:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hiking The Pinnacle, Part 1

I was spending a two night visit up at the farm and had all day Monday to do what I wanted. Well, what I wanted was to go hiking in the surrounding wilderness. The neighbor told me about a hike called The Pinnacle, and gave me directions to get to the trail head. It was not where she said, so I began to drive back home again. Then I saw this sign alongside the road and noticed that it said "The Pinnacle, 1.7 Miles" (even if they did spell Pinnacle wrong). I turned onto a tiny gravel road which began snaking through the forest:

The road went on and on with no parking area and no signs. I'd assumed that the hike was 1.7 miles long, but was beginning to realize that they meant it was 1.7 miles to get to the trail head. I kept driving up and up and up, snaking through the forest on a one lane gravel road. I wondered what I'd do if I met another car coming down (I didn't). Then I came to an empty space for about 5 cars and saw, almost hidden in the trees, the trail sign-in:

Once again, the dogs and I had the whole forest to ourselves. So I left them off leash and we began hiking through the forest:

And what a scenic forest it was!:

Glacial erratics were scattered everywhere, and I could easily imagine the glaciers pushing piles of rocks along and then dropping them as they melted. But for Fergus, this was just a fun time in the forest:

Clover knows what rocks are for. They're put there for her to pose on:

The trail turned steeply upward. I'd been told that this hike had a nice view but was much, much easier hiking than Azure Mountain. I liked the sound of both:

The mountainside, I decided, was just as steep as Azure Mountain, but instead of going straight up its side, the trail to The Pinnacle zig-zagged its way up, so it was never too difficult. The length of this trail was longer than Azure Mountain's but it surely seemed shorter:

I kept passing by the trunks of large trees with gray-brown fissured bark and wondered what they might be. I couldn't yet see the leaves overhead and they had no low branches. I guessed White Oak, Ash, - No, these were different:

And then I got a chance to see the younger bark overhead as well as the leaves. These were Aspens, though I'm not sure which one. Or, as they used to call them when I worked on a logging crew, "Mountain Popple." Most Aspens don't grow that tall or get that old. There must have been more sunlight available for seedlings back when these giants began their lives, because there were no saplings growing anywhere that I could find:

I stopped along the trail for a photo shoot holding the two squirming young Papillons. Those glacial erratics were handy both as a back drop and to set my camera on when I used the self-timer. We were on our way. I'll post more tomorrow: