Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Night In The Farm Apartment

I'd just finished the hike up to The Ledges with my four youngest dogs and then driven back to the farm by way of Malone. I needed to fill my car's gas tank and buy something for lunch. I arrived back at the farm and let the oldsters, Wally and Winky, out to do their business. I'd intended to then leave for a second hike but it was by then too late due to all the sightseeing I'd done, not to mention the erroneous mini-hike I'd taken on a trail which turned out to be the entrance to someone's camp. So I decided to settle in for the night. The dogs were delighted to get their dog food:

And Wally had missed me, so I picked him up for a bit of special treatment:

My dogs are remarkably non-aggressive about their dog food (and rawhide chewies). I'd enforce the peace if I had to, but they've always been well behaved. It helps that their dinners are abundant and boring. I also keep lots of rawhide chewies on the floor, usually 30 or so of them, so they never become high value possessions:

It was still quite early in the day by most people's standards, but we'd been up since well before dawn and I was quite tired. It appeared to me that the dogs were happy to rest also:

Clover, Daphne and Fergus jumped up on my bed for a snooze:

Winky doesn't sleep on the bed, but he was happy to settle himself as close to it as possible. The dogs were fed and comfortable, so I cooked myself some dinner and we all had an early bedtime:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Ledges Hike Finished And A Return To The Salmon River

The dogs and I were just finishing up our hike to The Ledges, an Adirondack overlook just south of Malone, New York. We were almost back to the trail head, moving slowly and carefully down an unrelentingly steep and treacherous grade. We stopped often to rest:

Colorful Red Maple and Bigtooth Aspen leaves were collecting on the forest floor, making an especially nice display when contrasted against a patch of bright emerald moss:

I stopped to admire a family of mushrooms which were an unusually beefy color:

And had another look at the snow white shelf fungus I'd passed on the way up. I tried to search out an identity for these beauties but never found it:

And there was our car. The dogs broke into a run. They're always excited to leave the car and excited to find it again. They're excited to hike and most happy to rest. What better companions could there be?:

I exited the forest via the incredibly rough Lee Road (a better name would be "Lee Deer Path") and then headed south on Studley Hill Road along the Salmon River:

The hills along the Salmon River were gloriously arrayed in autumn colors and I thought about what an absolutely perfect day it had been. One of the great benefits of writing this blog is that it constantly reminds me of how blessed I am. It's hard to get depressed in the presence of such natural splendor and happy dogs:

There was a tiny town on the riverbank consisting of perhaps ten houses and named Chasm Falls. There were several houses for sale, including one with this view. I looked it up later and found a listing with photos. It was a magnificent house and garage on 1.7 acres for $128.500. If I'd been in the market for a home (and had money) I might have bought it on the spot. If you'd like to see the Realtor's listing, click here. Or click here to see the photos of the place:

My car was low on gas and we were so far out in the country that I didn't think I'd find a gas station without driving into the town of Malone. But I kept stopping along the banks of the Salmon River to enjoy the scenery and autumn air:

One last stop before I headed into Malone to fill my gas tank. That's the county road, Studley Hill Road, behind us, by the way. You can see what a tiny dirt road it is. It's also the same road on which I visited a herd of Scottish Highland Cattle several years ago. A young couple had cleared a patch of forest and were raising a herd of those magnificent beasts. But our hike was over and I knew we had to get going. I'll post more tomorrow:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Going Down! The Descent From The Ledges

We'd reached the scenic destination of our hike up to The Ledges, the dogs and I, and were resting at the top. The giant rock upon which we were located provided a nice view of the Adirondack Mountains toward the east of Route 30 and the whole area was clothed in autumn color. And yes, that is the trail below us, showing by Seamus' head. It really was that steep:

I was hesitant to begin the descent because I knew it would be steep, slippery and treacherous. So I waited until the dogs became impatient before I hit the downhill trail:

"C'mon, Dad. What's the hold up?":

I got one last glimpse of the mountains through the tree tops as we began our descent:

And then down we went. Daphne, being young, lightweight, four legged and athletic, had no trouble. But I, being old, chubby and two legged with a high center of gravity had to be more careful:

The trail downhill was quite steep and the fallen leaves over muddy soil made for treacherous footing. I moved downward slowly and carefully, trying to keep one hand on a tree in case I needed to catch myself to prevent a fall:

The sparsely marked trail was, however, much easier to locate on our way down because I could see where we'd traipsed through the fallen leaves on our way up:

It was unrelentingly steep but I didn't let that prevent me from stopping to admire the natural beauty all around me as we moved downward:

The dogs weren't tired, but they had burned off that wild energy which accompanies the beginning of most every hike. They were by this point calm and willing to walk at my pace:

I followed Daphne down this steep, moss covered rock, being careful not to slip or fall. There were many places such as this. We were making nice progress and would soon finish this beautiful autumn hike. But I'll post more about it tomorrow:

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Steep Climb Up To The Ledges

If you've read the last several posts, you know that getting started on the trail up to The Ledges had been an ordeal. But here we were, the four dogs and I, just beginning to scale the steep, rocky part of the trail. And I do mean steep! The rocks and sharp incline didn't bother lightweight, athletic, young Clover, however:

But Fergus, in spite of his youth and conditioning, was beginning to pant:

As for me, I was finding excuses to stop and photograph interesting things such as this small, yellow and gold mushroom. And, heaven knows, the trail was often steep enough that I got to see at eye level where I would be stepping next:

Colorful autumn leaves were beginning to collect all over the ground. At the time I called the Maple leaves Mountain Maples, but have since taken another look and decided that they were from Red Maples. As for the colorful Aspen leaves, they give the lie to the idea that Aspens only turn yellow. These, by the way, were Bigtooth Aspens:

The leafy canopy caught the sun and filtered it, infusing the understory with a greenish aura. It was all very pleasant. The morning had been quite chilly and I'd worn long pants and a jacket. But it had become considerably warmer and I'd left my jacket back in the car. I was beginning to wish I'd brought short pants:

Seamus and I were taking frequent breaks from the steep climb. Even the young Papillons, Daphne and Clover, were by that point slowing down. Apparently the trail was seldom hiked, and it was covered with newly fallen leaves and sparsely marked. I lost the trail several times and had to backtrack:

But we eventually walked out onto a huge rocky slope which provided a magnificent view of the Adirondack peaks to the east:

I could see glimpses of the clearing in the valley below where we parked, but I could not see our car. I sat down on the ledge and enjoyed the view:

Autumn color framed the view and the nearby mountains glowed in places like fiery embers:

I followed what appeared to be more trail along the ledge hoping for more spectacular views. But I finally concluded that the original ledge was the primary destination and the best scenic overlook. So we all returned for another look. I wanted to rest before making our descent, but I'll post about that tomorrow:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Discovering The Trail To "The Ledges"

I'd been looking for a hike called The Ledges, and had already spent most of the morning searching for the trail head and then mistakenly hiking what, in the end, turned out not to be a trail at all (see yesterday's post). I returned to Studley Hill Road and was driving slowly back toward the farm when I saw a tiny dirt road off to my left and turned onto it. It was indeed marked Lee Road which is where the trail head to The Ledges was to be found. So I began driving up it, carefully maneuvering around giant potholes and washouts. I emerged into a broad field in a valley surrounded by hills clothed in autumn colors:

I saw no trail head but a couple of wooden posts marked the parking spot. I got out and walked back down the "road" on which I'd arrived. It was really just a sandy track through an old field which was in the process of reverting to forest. There must have been a farm here many years ago:

And that former farm surely had spectacular views all around. Those rocky ledges to the left of that ridge were, I guessed, the destination of the hike I was about to take:

I walked back to the trail head and began hiking through the forest. The trail was moss covered and soft. There were no trail markers on the trees, but an occasional post had been sunk into the ground to assure me I was still on the trail:

This was a beautiful northern forest and I was thrilled with what I was seeing. I was also happy that it was so far rather level:

I saw these snow white fungi on a moss covered stump:

But then the trail began climbing steeply up a rocky ledge:

The trail was sparsely marked and apparently so seldom hiked that it was difficult to find in many places. This was all the more difficult because of the fallen leaves and I did, indeed, lose the trail several times and have to backtrack:

The ascent became, as you can see here, quite steep. Seamus needed to stop and rest:

Daphne led the way. We were just getting started and there's more to share. I'll post additional photos of our hike up to The Ledges tomorrow:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oops - Wrong Hike!

The dogs and I were on our way to hike The Ledges, just off Route 30 south of Malone, New York. We turned onto a narrow county road and then south on Studley Hill Road in the scenic but very tiny town of Chasm Falls which is situated on the banks of the Salmon River:

We had to drive quite a way down Studley Hill Road and then, according to the directions, turn right onto Lee Road. I felt sure that Lee Road would be so minuscule and unmarked as to be almost unrecognizable, but on we went - after I took one more photo of the lovely Salmon River:

I found a small, unmarked one lane dirt road bearing off to the right at just about the right distance from the previous intersection and turned onto it. I didn't get far, however, before it became too rough to proceed. I parked on a flat spot beside the road and we began hiking through the Adirondack forest, using the "road" as our trail:

There were very deep pools of water all along the road, no problem for hikers but a hazard to my little red car. I once again was not sure if I was on the trail or the access road to the trail head. Or did I not even have the right road? I didn't know, so we just kept hiking uphill:

In spite of (or because of?) my confusion about whether we were on the trail, I decided to just stop worrying and enjoy the autumn scenery:

It was a pleasant path through the forest, and easy walking:

The dogs stopped to lap up water from the muddy pools in the road. I didn't think this was probably a good idea, but how could I stop them? I'm happy to say that no one got sick:

I'd tied a red and white pillow case around Seamus' neck so he wouldn't look too much like a bear. A hunter had warned me that bear season for bow hunters was open:

It was a lovely wild forest but I'd still had no indication that I was on the right trail - or, for that matter, on a trail at all:

We eventually came to a gate with many large signs forbidding trespassing of any kind. Apparently this road was just an access road for someone's private cabin. There was nothing else to be done but to head back down to the car:

I found the car where I'd parked it and we began carefully and slowly back down that rough lane toward Studley Hill Road. I'd seen no other turns which might have been Lee Road, so I was trying to think of where else I might hike in the area. I'll post more tomorrow: