Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rural Roadside Halloween

Before posting any more about our waterfall hikes, I thought I'd insert this Halloween special, scenes from a drive along rural Route 11 in northern New York, between Lawrenceville and Malone. A farm stand with plenty of jack-o-lantern materials:

A smaller farm stand, but also with home grown pumpkins:

And the owners of this house appeared to have been good customers of the local pumpkin growers:

Tiny ghosts and a giant pumpkin, with a horse barn out back:

Fake spider webs all over the shrubbery, with lots of other Halloween decorations to mark the holiday. This house also was for sale, I noticed:

Lots of plastic gravestones out front, but the best decoration of all was their flaming red maple. It also appeared that their Christmas lights were in place and all ready to be plugged in when the season arrived:

Pumpkins and scarecrows galore:

A ghost among the pumpkins:

This house was not on Route 11 but on the county road just down from my place. It had a black cat with lighted eyes, a spider and a tower of pumpkins. From that tree on the left hung small ghosts and goblins which fluttered in the breeze (you can see one of the ghosts just above the mailbox). The afternoon fog added to the haunted scene:

And a whole field filled with scarecrows and gravestones. Happy haunted Halloween!:

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lampson Falls, Part 2

I had hiked in to Lampson Falls on the Grasse River with my sister, my niece and five dogs. We knew that it would soon begin raining, so had chosen this series of waterfall hikes because they were relatively short and all in a row. If and when it began to rain, we'd be able to return to the car in without a lengthy hike. And the Grasse River, just downstream from the falls, was wondrous:

We explored the rocks:

My niece took a snapshot of her beloved dog, Madeline:

And my sister did a bit of rock hopping with Madeline while Seamus waded in a secluded pool:

A quiet moment of joy and wonder in a wild, scenic environment:

My sister and my niece took a brief rest downstream from Lampson Falls:

We began walking back toward the car, but this time took a different route:

And got ourselves a bit lost:

We had to backtrack in order to find the trail again:

I know that trail is around here somewhere:

But of course we found the trail and resumed our hike back toward the car:

It was quite early in the morning, but we were trying to beat the rain. Everyone was happy. It had begun to sprinkle off and on. Would we be able to visit another waterfall or two before it really began to rain? Stay tuned:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lampson Falls, Part 1

Tuesday morning had not yet dawned on my sister and niece's visit when I awoke to a weather prediction of rain, rain and more rain. But it wasn't raining yet, so I roused them from bed and we headed out with the dogs to hit a few trails before the rain arrived. I'd intended to hike the Wolf Lake Loop, but changed my mind when it began to sprinkle sporadically. Instead, we drove to Lampson Falls:

We parked and hiked in to the magnificent falls. The water level was quite low, but that had the advantage of allowing us far out onto the rocks. My niece walked right up to the waterfall with her dog, Madeline. Seamus stopped for a drink of water:

This fallen tree had been caught halfway down the falls when the water level dropped. The full spring water volume had been quite impressive:

We walked downstream to explore the ledges and see the views:

And along a sandy beach where, we could tell, many people had gone in swimming and launched canoes:

The dogs led us down the ledges along the Grasse River:

And my niece stopped with Madeline for a bit of quiet contemplation:

My sister, niece and Madeline. One of the purposes of their visit was to leave Madeline with me, so this was in many ways a farewell tour for my family. They loved Madeline very much but my niece's life would no longer enable her to give her beloved dog the care she deserved. And she just happened to have an uncle with a dog pack which included other Papillons and went to fun places in the Adirondacks:

We continued to explore the shores of the Grasse River:

Magnificent, wild scenery:

We walked out onto the rocks downstream from the falls:

Fergus waded into a small pool in the rocks. But we'd barely begun to explore this lovely area. I'll post more tomorrow:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Family Visits A Donkey Family

My sister and niece had driven out to pay me a visit at the farm and we'd already hiked Azure Mountain, Quebec Brook and the St. Regis Canoe Carry. We stopped for lunch and then drove home to the farm apartment for a nap and to let old Winky and Wally outside. The following day was predicted to be rainy, so I determined to make the most of this day. I'd already made arrangements with my neighbor for a visit to his herd of miniature donkeys, so we drove about a mile down the road to see them. They were not out in the pasture when we arrived, but thronging the gate as if they'd been waiting for us:

The friendly farmer took us out into the field and introduced us to his little Sicilian friends:

And the donkeys were every bit as charming and lovable as I remembered them:

A small group watched from the other side of the field and I walked over to greet them:

My sister and niece were understandably cautious at first as rowdy, happy donkeys thronged them:

But moments later they'd relaxed and fallen completely in love with the sweet little critters:

We went back outside the gate and the farmer cut up carrots for us to feed the donkeys:

All the donkeys and his one steer clamored for carrots:

And we gave them carrots, lots of carrots:

My niece was concerned that we were ignoring the steer, so the farmer got her an ear of dried corn to feed him. He downed it in one gulp;

But it was soon time to say goodbye:

Yes, those donkeys were really smiling. How could anyone not fall in love with these gentle, sweet creatures?:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Canoe Carry Trail To The St. Regis River

Yes, indeed, if you thought that hiking up to the summit of Azure Mountain and then hiking along Quebec Brook was enough for one morning, you'd be wrong. There was one more short hike along Blue Mountain Road that I wanted to show my sister and niece. So we drove just a couple of miles from the Quebec Brook trail head to an unmarked canoe carry to the St. Regis River and began down the sandy, level trail:

I confess that I was tired and even this short, level trail felt long to me. But it was beautiful. We passed by this unnamed pond:

My sister searched the pond for ducks or loons but saw none:

We continued on. I reminded my sister how we'd pulled up Bracken Ferns in Oregon as kids and used them as spears as we played in the forest. This trail was lined with them:

We broke into a clearing with the St. Regis River just ahead of us:

And this was why I wanted to take this hike. The payoff was enormous - breathtaking, wild beauty:

Seamus walked right into the water but little Madeline thought that was crazy. She certainly wasn't going in:

Daphne, however, has learned that water can be lots of fun to play in:

No, I was not peeing in the river. I was holding up my pants' legs to keep them dry. I took off my shoes and waded into the river in an effort to convince the dogs to follow. As you can see, it didn't work very well. It felt wonderful, though, to be walking on such a sandy river bottom with cool, clean water washing my tired legs and feet:

The sandy shores were growing lots of Eastern Teaberry, also known as American Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens). Its little red berries had a friendly, inviting, homey look to them:

But all good things must come to an end, and we had to begin our hike back to the car:

We were all tired but had seen much exquisite natural beauty. We schlepped back to the car and went in search of lunch. We had to drive all the way to St. Regis Falls to find a convenience store, but they had great pizza and subs and hot wings. And our hiking for the day was done: