Friday, August 31, 2012

Part 1- High Falls On The Big Salmon River

I drove south out of Owls Head, New York and followed the directions toward a trail called the Cooling Ponds Trail. I never found it, but the High Falls Trail seemed to be just where the other should have been. Perhaps they'd changed its name. Besides, it was on the Big Salmon River and apparently led to a waterfall. What more could I ask on a hot summer day?:

The trail did indeed begin along the Salmon River, but it wasn't very big in that hot, dry season:

But the forest was cool and I passed lots of Bunchberries with - um, bunches of berries:

And the dogs were happy:

The woods were attractive and we had them all to ourselves:

The dogs played in the river for a short time, but then I called them and we continued following the trail:

There were butterflies galore flitting about the Joe-Pye Weed. I caught a photo of one when it folded its wings and landed. I sent it in to Butterflies And Moths Of North America for an identification. When I got an answer, they were unable to identify it but knew it was in the genus Haploa. I then used their own website to locate it and discovered that it was Haploa confusa, a species of moth native to the northeast United States with spotted forewings and solid white or cream hindwings which are hidden when at rest. When in flight they look like typical butterflies. Its common name is Confused Haploa. You can learn more by clicking here:

We passed Clintonia berries with their beautiful blue coloration:

And onward through the forest:

An orange and yellow mushroom:

The trail had hewn logs over the wet spots, though in this case, Seamus declined the help and preferred to get his feet wet:

The trail veered away from the river for a while, and then returned. That sunlight you see on the left is from the opening in the forest cover made by the river. I was beginning to hear the roaring of rapids or of falls. But I'll post more tomorrow:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Scenic Vistas At Owl's Head, New York - Part 2

I'd hiked in to Debar Pond with my four youngest dogs and was on my way to another hike, but first I was touring the scenic little town of Owls Head, New York. There were houses which needed painting:

And houses which were all fixed up. This one also looked like it used to be the town's general store:

Owls Head had its own Post Office. This is where I stopped and asked for directions once when I got lost and found myself here:

Comfortable looking homes with screened porches:

Older homes:

And extremely older homes:

And I couldn't begin to tell you what this house was all about. It had statues of horses and dogs and deer and butterflies, all in addition to religious statues and Santa Claus:

This place looked very old:

And this place looked family friendly:

I suspected that this was an old farm house. In fact, most of Owls Head consisted of large, flat farm fields surrounded by mountains. But there was no farming of any kind in evidence any more:

This will give you an idea of the scenery behind the homes - broad fields leading to Adirondack mountains:

And on my way out of town I passed the Trailside Bar and Restaurant, clearly a popular hangout for local folks. It had elk antlers over the front door and I kind of wished I could have stopped in. But I had dogs in the car with me and at least one more hike to take. So I kept driving. But I'll post about that tomorrow:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scenic Vistas At Owl's Head, New York, Part 1

I'd just hiked to Debar Pond with my four youngest dogs but it was still morning and I have several other nearby hikes in mind on that hot Monday. The first was called Cooling Ponds Trail, located just south of the tiny village of Owls Head, New York. So I first drove to Owls Head and took a few photos. It was a lovely, tiny village surrounded by Adirondacks:

I passed by an old, abandoned house:

And a general store, now closed and up for sale. Anyone care to own and run such a business?

I passed the woodsy home of Bob Shelley, comic and magician. There were bright red Bee Balms blooming out front. I've since looked up his website. If you're interested, you can find it here:

And then I entered the village of Owls Head. They had a church:

And some nice homes:

But mostly I was struck by the scenery, which was largely flat fields surrounded by Adirondack mountains. I guessed that this rocky crag was called Owls Head and the source of the village's name. But that was only a guess:

Many homes displayed American flags and chainsaw carved bears:

And Owls Head looked like a pleasant place to live:

This man had laid up river stones all over the lower half of his house and porch. It had surely been a lot of work and the results were impressive:

More homes, more flags:

And apparently children lived here. I'll post more about Owls Head tomorrow:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Chapter Two, Debar Pond

This is the a continuation from yesterday's post. We'd hiked in to Debar Pond, enjoyed the water and taken a brief excursion toward its eastern shore. Then I tried to hike along its western shore but became mired in deep mud and fell several times. That's when I turned back. But as we were preparing to return to the car I spotted another trail heading southward down the western shore of Debar Pond and, of course, I just had to go see where it would take us:

This trail was not covered in my guide book so I really felt as if I was exploring unknown territory. We passed through deep forests and ferns of many species, some of them even taller than Seamus:

The trail seemed well worn at first, giving me the idea that it was commonly hiked. But the farther we went, the more overgrown it became:

I eventually came to believe that we were following an old woods road, used either for logging or for someone's private camp many years ago. There were old barrels used as culverts in places, some of them still functioning as intended, some of them nearly rusted away:

The trail offered no views of Debar Pond and took us higher and higher up the mountainside:

I finally stopped when we arrived at the tall, precipitous side of a mountain. No way was I going up there although there might have been spectacular views. We turned back toward where we'd begun:

When we returned to the access point for Debar Pond, I almost didn't let the dogs go in again. But they'd had so much fun the first time that I relented:

And Daphne went in way over her head and actually swam. Fergus soon followed:

Then Daphne began jumping out of the water in great leaps as she circled, reminding me a salmon making its way upstream. She was having more fun than I think I've ever seen a dog have. I wish I had a video of it, but I did get this photo of her in mid-leap:

But eventually I called them out of the water. Seamus resisted momentarily, but soon we were on our way back to the car:

The trail from the water to our car was less than a mile in length, but the scenery was pure wilderness nonetheless:

And I was considering what our next adventure would be that day as we traversed the boardwalk back to the trail head. But I'll post about that tomorrow:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chapter One, Debar Pond

The dogs and I had driven up to the farm on Sunday. When Monday morning rolled around, I put the four youngest dogs in the car and headed out to a hiking trail shortly after dawn. I wanted to stay cool. I drove down the Port Kent Hopkinton Turnpike as I commonly do on my way home, but then followed the instructions and turned onto an unmarked, tiny dirt lane I'd never even noticed before. About a mile through the forest I saw this sign and parked:

It took me a minute to locate the trail, but it was abundantly clear after I'd found it because it was a series of planks taking us over wetlands. The dogs were thrilled:

We passed over brooks where Joe-Pye Weed grew in abundance:

And continued through wet, boggy forests of White Cedar and other trees, walking about three feet off the ground on the planks:

Clearly there had been a big blow-down in places and I thought how utterly terrifying it would be to find oneself in the woods during such an event:

And on we walked. The planks were covered with chicken wire in places to make them less slippery:

Eventually, though, we left the raised boardwalk behind and continued on the trail as it traversed the forest on solid ground. I passed some of the largest, healthiest patches of Shining Clubmoss I'd ever seen:

And it wasn't long before we arrived at Debar Pond, surrounded by mountains and far, far, far from any roads except that tiny dirt lane. Its beauty was enough to cause me to gasp. The dogs, however, only wanted to play in the water:

And play they did, with even Fergus and Daphne going right in and actually swimming. That was the first time they've ever done that:

I took a side trail off toward the east side of the lake and the dogs came with me. Seamus did also, but at first he was reluctant to leave the water:

We walked just a short way to where someone had a privately owned log cabin. Though there were no signs posted, I didn't want to trespass, so I stopped there and admired the view of the west shore of Debar Pond:

A spectacular, wilderness place to be sure. I thought this was to be the end of our brief hike but it didn't turn out to be so. I'll post more tomorrow: