Hiking

Hiking

Extraordinary Leaves and LayersAs you are cruising along the Adirondack Coast this fall, peeping at the magnificent colors, you are bound to admire the awesome scenery this historic valley displays. Man has been admiring and coveting this valley for centuries. From early European exploration, through conflict, and settlement, this fertile valley and its resources have been sought after and fought over. There are layers upon layers of American...
Submitted by Guest Blogger: Kathleen McLoud The day was basically clear, with beautiful blue skies and puffy white clouds here and there. The temperatures where in the high 70s — the perfect day for a few short to moderate and basically easy hikes in our immediate area of Lake Champlain Region. My friend and co-hiker decided we should take a light lunch and plenty of water, which made our backpacks light and easy to carry. Next we put...
Annually on a weekend in early August, this year on the 12th and 13th, the Crown Point State Historic Site hosts the French and Indian War Encampment. It’s an exciting weekend for the site, as hundreds of participants and close to a thousand spectators gather to commemorate the significant history of this location. Authentically clad French, British, and Native American regiments and groups camp amongst the ruins of two 18th ...
Let's assume you enjoy spending time in the woods, after all, that’s one of the draws of the mountains, right? One thing we need to be mindful of is the immense size of the Adirondacks and the remoteness of the situations in which we will place ourselves. No trip onto the trails should be seen as a quick jaunt in the woods, and a basic level of preparedness should be the foundation of every outing. If you are headed out to explore nature’s...
It's National Trail Day Folks!Head to the Lake Champlain Region for a ChallengeBy Guest Blogger: Michael MartineauHiking in the Adirondacks is not merely an activity for many, it's a lifestyle. Those who embrace this lifestyle are out on the trails as much as possible. They will repeat trails and mountains so many times they know if a certain tree has lost a branch, or a rock was washed away, or if a trail blaze has fallen.They become an...
 Recently my wife and I took a little spring outing. The morning sky was clear and the sun shown warm as we started out. Opening the car door, our two enthusiastic companions and intrepid explorers, Cappy and Waggs, excitedly jumped in and we embarked. We have been exploring our local CATS (Champlain Area Trails), starting with a lovely hike up Coot Hill/Big Hollow last fall. We decided Crowfoot Pond would be a more challenging follow-up -...
Spring is a great time to hike. For everything there is a season, and spring hiking is about the contradictions.There are brisk winds, but we never get too hot. The weather can turn on a dime, but that means indirect lighting for stunning photos. It might rain, but it is also peak waterfall season.Here's some suggestions for enjoyable spring hikes.Quick & easyIf you are thrilled by roaring waters, the Lee Park Trail is a fine pick for even...
Learning to AdaptDeja vu? Blogger's note:As I was out hiking along the Adirondack Coast this week, I was reminded of this old blog I wrote that seems to describe a January very similar to the one we’re experiencing now. There’s little snow on the ground here, and temperature fluctuations have rendered our trails pretty darn icy.No worries; we Adirondackers have learned how to adapt to the unpredictable patterns and extreme weather events...
It’s that time of year againHard as it is to believe, we have once again cycled through the birding year to the time when Christmas Bird Counts fill our calendars. A few local CBCs were held on Sunday, 12/18/16, including Elizabethtown, Plattsburgh, and also the Vermont Islands count which overlaps across the lake to include the area surrounding Point Au Roche. I was planning to help with this latter count, but I was unable to do it on the count...
Guest Blogger: Chris Maron, CATSFeature photo of Split Rock Wildway by Jill Piper  Champlain Area Trails Creates Trails All Can EnjoyThe BeginningImagine being in a part of the Adirondacks where there are fabulous views of sparkling blue water, lush forests, rolling farm fields, and mountains — but hardly any hiking trails. Pretty sad, right?  Well, welcome to the Champlain Valley ten years ago, just before Champlain Area Trails...
One of the most common phobias is fear of heights, or acrophobia. Research speculates that 3-5% of our population is affected by this fear. So much so that their anxiety limits many of their activities and they bypass opportunities for some spectacular experiences. The Lake Champlain Region offers phenomenal scenic vistas; some of which are best achieved in elevated areas. If you are a member of this 3-5% let me share three ideas where you may...
After Labor Day, our summer may begin to wane along the Adirondack Coast, but this means we can start getting excited about autumn. Soon the colors will be arriving and dressing our landscape in vivid oranges, yellows, and reds. We have some exciting fall events planned that will be showcased against that colorful scenic backdrop. Here are a few highlights!Adirondack Harvest FestivalYou definitely will want to plan on attending the Adirondack...
Top Three Quick HikesGuest blogger: Gail TestaBlueberry Hill, Elizabethtown, NYMy children grew up in the Adirondack Mountains and my youngest son was only about four or five years old when he began walking with us as we hiked. As he grew he joined us on more difficult hikes, and as he got even older, he enjoyed climbing the larger mountains on his own. He no longer lives in the area, but he still loves the mountains and returns often to hike....
Heads up, campers — particularly those with RVs looking for full hook-ups! Within the Town of Moriah there is now an additional campground option for you to choose from. This one privately owned and boasts a distinctive personality of its own. After 10 years in development Petro’s Millbrook RV Park recently held their ribbon cutting and opening. This is a family-run operation, with three Bills at the helm. I refer to them as Bill 1, 2, and 3....
She said/she saidKIM: A few years ago, we adopted a doberman/shepherd mix from a rescue in Vermont. The rescue agency told us we could take her home and if it didn’t work out, we could return her to be adopted by someone else. We got home, named her Katie, and 4 years later we can’t imagine having taken them up on their offer. She’s smart, loving, loyal, and action-packed. She's also an integral part of our family and our home on New York’s...
Birding between the raindropsAfter our successful trip to the Four Brothers Islands the other day I looked at the sky, and at the time, and debated the possibilities. Rain was already starting and it was forecast to get worse throughout the day, but it was currently light and intermittent and I had already made the trip to the valley, so I decided to bird until the rain sent me home. Since I was in Willsboro I headed north and drove along...
After a couple long weeks on the job it’s inevitable that we would get out and enjoy nature, the best prescription for whatever ails you. On this ridiculously hot and humid day in May, Corenne and I set out for a most attractive hike, one which we'd wandered on before. Rattlesnake Mountain was where we ended up with the post-hike plan of visiting a new brewery in Keeseville called Ausable Brewing Co. Needless to say, we were excited about both....
A season filled with events is upon us, and so are activities and gatherings of all varieties including weddings, graduation celebrations, and class and family reunions.Anyone organizing a celebration should do some advanced planning. A primary concern is location. The setting needs to be easily accessible for all attendees and should provide shelter if the weather decides not to cooperate. The location also needs to have adequate space for the...
It’s coming fast. Summer is an action packed season filled with events, tours, parades, concerts, performances, and festivals, and it all starts Memorial Day weekend on the Adirondack Coast. There certainly will be something going on to entertain you. Let me give you a few brief highlights of what's happening this summer, but by no means will this list be all inclusive. Check the events calendar for more options and opportunities. Where...
Reminiscing about the Inaugural EventContributed by Chris Maron, executive director, Champlain Area TrailsMay 2014 - At dawn for the first year’s Grand Hike, the dark sky loomed ominously overhead with a faint drizzle that soon cleared for a fabulous day of hiking. That year, it was a gentle, orange sun rising up over Lake Champlain—a perfect day to hike thirteen miles from Westport to Essex.  I snapped a quick photo at the...
If you've ever hiked in the Adirondack wilderness and experienced a pop-up storm along the way, I suspect you were happy to stumble across a remote rustic shelter welcoming you in from the rain. That may have been your first appreciation of an Adirondack lean-to. The three-sided cabin with a floor and an overhead roof might have seemed like a luxurious accommodation miles from civilization. Even if your pack had included a tent, the solid roof...
Coupled up? If so, you've probably given some thought to the second Sunday in February. If you are looking for ideas to make that day unique, I’ve put together some options for couples to experience a very special weekend indeed. Perhaps you need to unwind, take a break from the routine, or simply spend some one-on-one time together. Pack your bags for the Adirondack Coast and a perfect Valentine's getaway.Two Romantic Lodging OptionsIf you are...
Wilderness Survival 201It’s amazing what you can learn in just 2 hours, even with the smooth sounds of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” running in the background of your mind.I signed up about 1.2 seconds after receiving a notice that Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center (PMOEC) and Champlain Area Trails (CATS) were partnering up to host a Survival Skills Workshop at the Blueberry Hills Trail system in Elizabethtown. There was a family-...
The Champlain Area Trails System (CATS)Hiking for me isn’t always about trying to outdo the difficulty of my last adventure. Sometimes I like to just take it easy and visit places I don’t get to go very often. That’s what I had planned for this crisp morning in the Champlain Valley. It was late morning, and as we were wiping the cobwebs out of our eyes we decided to go for a bit of a drive and check out a place we hadn’t visited in a long time....
Stompin’ around the Champlain Valley is a good time in my mind, but on this trip I found myself reach out just a bit further. While doing a bit of historical research online the other day I happened across this preserve, set up by the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC), called the Pole Hill Pond Preserve. I've never heard of this spot before but I have heard of Pole Hill, and although I knew its general vicinity I remembered it was on private...
Local residents are buzzing with their winter predictions - all the “whens” and the “ifs": Will we get much snow? Will it last? Will the big lake freeze? In recent years we have seen milder winters. This fall has been unseasonably mild which leads some to believe we are in for it “big-time.” No matter, we are prepared to give you some ideas for a few adventures to enjoy the magic of winter along the Adirondack Coast, regardless of the snow or...
Heading North to SouthI had a few stops to make in the Plattsburgh area this weekend, and after I was finished I took advantage of the trip by birding my way south along Lake Champlain. I started at AuSable Marsh Wildlife Management Area and the marsh was quiet, so I walked out to the beach where I could scan the lapping waves. Common loons were scattered here and there across the lake, joined by about the same number of horned grebes....
Stick SeasonThe dog knew where we were headed the moment I made my shoe selection. At least - she knew which activity to anticipate, if not our precise destination.I’m going to refrain from calling a 60-degree day in November “unseasonable.” These climate-change-days, you never know what the Adirondack weather will bring - better to just smile and take advantage. So on this warm, sunny weekday in November, I told folks at my office that I was...
Predictions are for better than average amounts of snowfall this season which should make for some great winter trail activity. We are part of the Adirondack Park; 6-million-acres of winter wonderland playground, but let's keep in mind, that land is both public and private. If we simply want to venture out, not necessarily hitting a formalized ski center, where do we go? Whether we seek outdoor winter solitude, an opportunity to view wildlife...
At first I was a little stymied when I started thinking about today's blog in which I'm focusing on “funky towns, things, places.” No surprise to readers that I tend to see the Lake Champlain Region more as world-class, not really “funky," but after I looked up the word “funky” and read one definition: fashionable in a way that is unusual and shows a lot of imagination, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about and headed toward Wadhams. ...
In my opinion, autumn is actually the best time to visit the Lake Champlain Region. The Adirondack Coast sparkles during this season with some crystal-clear sunny days and cool, crisp, great sleeping weather, nights. It’s the perfect season for hiking one of the many CATS trails. The views from atop one of our mountains along the lake go on forever. Often winds subside and boaters enjoy skimming across, or paddling, the flatwater which like a...
The Lake Champlain Region is vast, extending approximately 75 miles north to south and 30 miles east to west. Obviously first time visitors, or even repeat visitors, never see it all. I don’t think I have. It’s easy to get caught up in the scenic beauty or focus on one unique feature and pass right by many other opportunities without knowing. Therefore, though not exactly “secrets,” here are a handful of tips regarding some lesser-known facts,...
Hiking in the Eastern Pharaoh Mountain WIldernessIt sure has been hot and humid the last few weeks and on those particular days when it seems to be the worst I have been available to get out and explore. The only remedy for that is to stay home and stay cool, but quite honestly I don’t see that as a plausible option. So, I packed extra water and planned for a bit of an earlier start, which are two very important steps. First off you have to stay...
Adirondack PioneersImagine it is the late 1970s and you have moved your family, including six children, into a Civil War-era farmhouse in the middle of the Adirondack wilderness. Let’s add to the challenge. The farmhouse has neither running water, nor electricity! Situated on its own 200 acres there were no neighbors very close and no market, or other community amenities, for miles. The thought of raising six children is scary enough, but pull...
Flower Show AlertGet ready for the Grand Opening of the Adirondack's Annual Flower Show. It is a little early yet, but time to make plans and preparation. As the temperatures warm and the snow melts our forests and woodlands begin to display their finery. For me this is the best time to get out on a hike, connect with nature, and get a peek at some of the gifts it has to offer. I love the Adirondack's earliest blooms, perhaps because it has been...
No ProblemEvery family with a tail wagging member faces the big dilemma when planning the annual vacation. What will we do with the dog? The wagging tail droops as all eyes focus on the subject. Then the head lowers and those sad, pitiful eyes begin to make contact with everyone around the room landing on the pack leader with a sorrowful, questioning, expression. Yes, it can rip your heart out. Making any attempt to justify kenneling such...
Abundance of Recreation and NatureSituated directly on the Adirondack Coast, on Lake Shore Road about half way between the hamlets of Westport and Essex, is an unusual site - a remarkable playground for any outdoor enthusiast. There is a plethora of outdoor experiences and recreational opportunities to be had all in one place, rather a one-stop “shopping mall” for nature lovers. This site has everything: history, water, views, cliffs, forest,...
Planning the perfect wedding can be a daunting task particularly if you are opting for an outdoor setting or something a bit non-traditional. The big decision may have been made, but that decision is immediately followed by a myriad of others. Ranking high at the top of the “what to choose” list, right along with the ideal dress or gown, is the “where” will this all take place. Picking the appropriate dress may be easy in comparison. The bride...
What's the one thing you need to hike safely on icy terrain?The snow and ice is here, sorta, and while the snow might not stick around for too long, the cold weather will come back around and produce some pretty darn good ice. No matter the course of the future, the current conditions are what you should think about. And in most areas, especially below 3000 feet, there is more ice than true snow coverage – this last warm spell didn’t help...
One ThingWhen asked to make a recommendation of one thing that was not to be missed when visiting our Lake Champlain Region I had a very difficult time. After all we are rich with unique features: historic forts, quaint villages, world class art and music, 100+ year old attractions, and an abundance of recreational opportunities. And, all of these features are set against a back drop of awe-inspiring scenic beauty - some of the best in the world...
A Holiday TraditionChristmas Bird Counts (CBCs) have now started across the country and on Sunday I was out with a friend helping count birds in the area surrounding Point Au Roche north of Plattsburgh. This one is actually part of a count of the islands of northern Lake Champlain in Vermont, but the count circle overlaps the state boundary. After a week filled with snowy, windy, and overcast weather, we had lucked out with a good day. Cloudy...
A circumnavigation of Goose PondI spend quite a lot of time out on the trails but over the years I have found a unique love for the mountains in the Adirondack Park that don’t have trails. There is so much lightly explored and unexplored land out there just calling my name, and I answer the summons to see what I can discover with enthusiasm and excitement. New and exciting features, landscape, views, dense forest, tall cliffs, hidden wetlands,...
100+ MilesWhen out enjoying the public recreation land along the Adirondack Coast it’s easy to become enamored with the undeveloped natural landscape and captivated by the scenic beauty of the mountains, streams and forests. But, are we sufficiently appreciative of all the components that make this possible? Do we ever consider who maintains the trails that permit us access, or wonder who built the convenient lean-to for our shelter and how it...
Staying Fit for the HolidaysThe Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a rather large network of trails for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, birding, and picnicking in the Champlain Valley that stretches as far west as Elizabethtown. Many of the trails are built and maintained by a not-for-profit organization that was started back in 2009 to link communities, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality. Along with these ever so important...
Keeping active when the snow hasn’t arrived While not all trails in the Lake Champlain Region area are perfect for trail running, many you will find do fit the bill. Trail conditions and topography play a huge role in what’s good, OK, and not-so-OK. Trail running has hit the scene in a big way with running clubs, races, endurance races, and just plain old keeping in shape; what better place than the Lake Champlain Region to get started. Are...
Something new around every cornerThe Split Rock Wild Forest is made up of 3,700 acres which lies on the Shores of Lake Champlain in the Eastern Foothills of the Adirondack Park. The wild forest is made up of nine different trails, all of which intersect at least one other, making for nearly countless loops and adventures at your fingertips. Want vistas, mountain views, wildlife, water access, wild flowers, birding, trail running, snowshoeing,...
NCNST InfoThe North Country National Scenic Trail winds 4,600 miles through 7 of our northern-most states and ends (or begins, depending upon your perspective) practically at the door step of the Lake Champlain Visitors Center. This trail began as a brainstorm of the US Forest Service in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1980 that Congress passed the necessary legislation and created the North Country National Scenic Trail. My understanding is...
Coot Hill and Big HollowSome time ago Chris Maron, CATS' Executive Director, told me that this spot has a great view--one that's different from the vantage points I'm used to. He was absolutely right. Located in Crown Point, Coot Hill is a new trail on the Champlain Area Trails map. With a name like Coot Hill I had to check out this destination.Getting to Coot HillFrom Port Henry I traveled south on Rte 22 to Edgemont...
Looking for a great hike to fit into a busy vacation?  Last weekend I hiked one of the nicest peaks in the area. Joined by Sophie Gagnon and her companion from Dunham, Quebec I set out to show my visitors as much as I could of the Ticonderoga area. The easiest way to do that is to get up high and see the lay of the land from above.B & B Breakfast I started the morning by picking Sophie and Denis up at Sugar Hill Manor Bed and...
Favorite hike on a favorite day - National Trails DayEach year the first Saturday in June is designated as National Trails Day. There were lots of local celebrations underway last weekend but I decided to do a quick hike on my own to a favorite destination I have frequently done with children--Mount Gilligan. The name itself sounds fun.The Trail for Gilligan BeginsThe trail begins 2.6 miles south of New Russia from a parking area on Scriver Road...
Spring Brings Wildflowers on The Grand HikeYesterday I hiked fourteen miles, beginning just up the hill from home. Thanks to the Champlain Area Trails I was able to hike from the Westport Hotel and Tavern to the Essex Inn on a series of connected sections of easy roadways and very, very pretty trails. For the Champlain Valley this is a new feat and the successful completion of a goal set several years ago by local trailbuilders.I was joined on...
In my youth the mention of history would make me wrinkle my nose. That was during the school years of course, when I related history to a classroom setting with nothing but a boring memorization of strange names and odd dates. On Lake Champlain, I was living in the birthplace of America and enjoying history on a daily basis, but did not connect the dots. Textbooks aside out of the classroom, the historic sites of our Lake Champlain Region were...
Lake Champlain is a big attraction in the Adirondacks through every season. The lake dictates weather, moods, activities and gear. This winter has been a wild one. Each week Lake Champlain has had a completely different character. I walk my dog to the boat launch in Westport most days so I have a chance to get up close and watch as the season progresses.  Natures mood swingsIn January, temperatures were too warm to cool the water but...
            Wren and I visited AuSable Marsh and AuSable Point the other day to look for birds and take a walk.  Even though our goal was to look for waterfowl, our first bird was a Merlin flying fast and low along the road as we were arriving.  The small falcon turned toward the road and came directly over our car!  Merlins tend to make beelines between their destinations and...
            I did a little birding and hiking with Wren in Point AuRoche earlier this week.  We started around Cumberland Head just north of Plattsburgh, checking out the mouth of the Saranac River and the Ferry Terminal.  There was a mixture of open water and ice at the river mouth, but there were very few birds besides a handful of Mallards and a lone American Black Duck. ...
Family Fun along the Adirondack CoastHere's a little chronicle of my family's recent picks of outdoor fun.  When you have ice you have to go with it.Most of what we love is free and local, making for easy, family vacation time. Despite cold temperatures we needed to get outside and exercise to justify our caloric intake (!).  You all know what I mean.The day before Christmas was super icy so we opted for a hike on--what else--a nearby...
Snowshoeing the Black Kettle TrailLast week before the ice came I had a great hike with my daughters who are both home for a few weeks.  They love to get outside after months in urban places so we take every chance we can to check out the woods. The snow last week was fluffy and light and every little crystal was twinkling because the temperature was so low (16 degrees when we left the car) and the sun was out.Getting ThereWe parked near...
This morning the wind was blowing like fury and the temperature was 16 degrees but I needed to go outside.  After spending a day at my desk yesterday I was ready for some fresh air. I'm spoiled and have my pick of the entire Champlain Valley and Eastern Adirondacks right out the door but today I headed for a favorite overlook with an easy retreat if the wind proved too hostile.I bundled up and donned my blaze orange head band (it's still...
            Over the past couple years I’ve occasionally seen a Red Fox in my neighborhood.  I first noted fox scats on the rocks which border my steps – something which caught Wren’s attention as well.  Sometimes when something out of the ordinary has visited the yard I can tell by how excited Wren is when I let her out first thing in the morning.  I finally had my first...
            While I was out birding a couple weeks ago with friends, we found good numbers of rusty blackbirds.  The first birds we noted were in some state land north of Westport in Webb Royce Swamp.  Rusty’s spend most of their time in such wetlands – both breeding in the north, and during the winter months in the southeast.  The birds we found were migrating on their way...
            This past weekend I went birding in the Champlain Valley with some friends and one of our stops was at Noblewood Park in Willsboro.  Noblewood’s sandy spit may be best known for attracting shorebirds during the late summer, but we were interested in anything that might be stopping through on a fall day, beginning our time with a pileated woodpecker at the parking area....
The fall colors keep tempting me to fit little hikes in between appointments and events.  I love going back to see what's new on a trail I haven't seen for a few months. This week I hiked the Homestead Trail.  It's a CATS trail in Whallonsburgh that starts .75 mile from the Leaning Road, just west of Black Kettle Farm.The trailhead begins heading south from a very inconspicous break in the woods through an area of spindly pole timber....
            Last week I checked out Noblewood Park in Willsboro for late summer birds.  Noblewood’s sandy spit attracts a variety of species such as gulls and shorebirds at this time of year, and I wanted to see if anything of note was there.  There had also been a report of an immature little gull at Noblewood and I wanted to see if it was still around.    ...
This week I hiked the Rocky Ledges Trail of the CATS system. It starts at an inconspicous trailhead on the Leaning Road in Essex, just south of the Jersey Street bridge over the Boquet River.  The trail begins in what was once a meadow and I quickly came to an apple tree that had probably belonged to a former farm.  You don't usually see apples under pine trees but there were pretty yellow apples all over the ground beneath the white...
            I was again birding with friends this past weekend in the Champlain Valley, and one of the places we stopped was at Noblewood Park in Willsboro.  Noblewood has a nice forest of mixed deciduous trees and eastern hemlock and we found a few woodland birds such as tufted titmouse and red-eyed vireo on our walk there.  But we weren’t particularly interested in woodland birds...
            A friend and I went birding in the Champlain Valley this past weekend looking for late summer birds.  All told we found better than 70 species and started our day at the Westport boat launch.  There we found a horned grebe in splendid breeding plumage – its yellow tufts and rufous neck looking great in the sunlight.  We generally only find horned grebes during the...
The trail up to the top of Treadway Mountain passes through several habitats but my favorite sections are the sloping, rocky, ledges with shallow pockets of soil that have a beautiful array of mosses.  Around the edges there are flowering shrubs and pine trees that give the scenery the feeling of Japanese rock gardens. The quickest way to the trailhead of Treadway is paddling across Putnam Pond from the boat launch. The sky began to drip...
Ah!…. A chance to learn about Adirondack Fire Towers!  These mountain-top sentries have a particular fascination; and, of course, incredible views! The Adirondack History Center Museum received an Education and Outreach Grant from the Champlain Valley National Historical Partnership to sponsor a series of classes and hikes focused on the historic role of Adirondack fire towers in forest stewardship. There are three choices of dates to...
No, bastard toadflax isn't profanity from a peak bagger with road-rage. It's a wildflower. Comandra umbellata to be exact. Actually the USDA plant data base calls it a "subshrub."  It's starting to bloom right now on many of the Champlain Hills.  Catchy name if you ask me. Yesterday I got out of a meeting in Essex early so on the way home I decided to check out the Wildway Overlook trail on South Boquet Mountain. With the weather being...
The other week while I was out hiking and birding with friends, we saw a great horned owl fly silently through a clearing and disappear back into the woods. I was screened by trees in the forest, but could see the owl's big head (my friend calls them jughead as a result) and broad wings, leaving no doubt what it was. My friends and I quickly turned around and tried to find it in the trees. We didn't need to do so.As we walked a few paces back in...
This week when thunderstorms were threatening just about every hour I cancelled two trips and it never stormed. By Thursday I decided to brave the forecast.  I had planned to bike or paddle but in light of the thunder that was predicted I opted for low elevation and good canopy at the Blueberry Trails in Elizabethtown.  I've been working with two young hikers on completing the entire circuit of the trail system and we hadn't covered...
This is it--the big week of the year for ephemeral wildflowers.  The show has been building and it's full-on flowers right now. Every color and every size and shape. These flowers show themselves for such a short time you have to take advantage of every chance you get to see them. The forest seems like a deliberately designed garden in places.  I guess that shouldn't seem surprising. Mother Nature does that sort of thing. Each year the...
Who would think a former landfill site could be a hiking destination? Last Saturday I hiked Cheney Mountain from the lower parking area on the Pelfershire Road, about 1mile from NYS Rte 9N between Westport and Moriah. The leaves still hadn't opened so it was a bumper day for views.Cheney has been described as being the shape of a breadloaf. You climb up one end and hike around on the top. On the way up you get views through the low oaks that...
The LaChute River lies within the confines of the Town of Ticonderoga. It's a pretty significant body of water though it may not be very long; about 4 miles or so. It connects the northern tip of Lake George to Lake Champlain. The river is incredibly steep dropping over 200 feet from the time it leaves Lake George to where it dumps downstream over the final falls in the town's Bicentennial Park, about 3miles. This drop is comparable to...
In the days after the bombings at the Boston Marathon I needed the woods. Walking in the forest relaxes and quiets me. The spring is starting late this year but the hope of finding wildflowers made me lace my boots faster than usual. On Sunday I walked the Woods and Swale Trail, one of the CATS trails that will eventually link Westport to Coon Mountain, Split Rock Wild Forest and Essex. The inconspicuous trailhead is at the corner of the...
Winter Waterfall Walk at AuSable ChasmEarly March on a 40-some degree day makes you itch to get outside and capture some of winter's last enchantments before they fade to memories. Ausable Chasm's Winter Waterfall Walk had been on my to-do list for quite a while. Here we were into March and I'd yet to get there, but sheer luck handed me a greater opportunity; an opening on the afternoon's 2 hour guided tour with the Chasm's Recreation Manager...
This winter keeps coming and going. This morning there was sunshine all over wet, spring snow but a week ago it was still blustery, dry and truly winter. I spent the duration of the last storm at my desk and finally came up for fresh air and exercise. Having an errand at Full and By Farm, the CSA where I have a share, I decided to try the trail nearest the farm. The trail is really an abandoned road, the McAuliffe Road, which connects Jersey...
I shy away from politics generally, but I wear proudly my Mayor of Coon Mountain badge.I know every step of this hiking trail, and now, with the advent of social networking, the world of Foursquare knows that I know what I know, too.I'm not one of those who "checks in" to this popular geolocation application every time they get coffee, or arrive at their office, but I do try to remember to "check in" when I'm in a cool place (often with a good...
On Christmas Day I had a spectacular hike up Coon Mountain in Westport. This is one of the destinations closest to my home and to my heart. I was joined by one brother, one sister, one daughter, one niece and two dogs. The day was as perfect as you could ask for—frosty, sunny and clear. The half hour immediately prior to the hike was a blur of transition from flannel pajamas accessorized with new scarves, ear muffs, earrings and slippers, to...
In under ten minutes from every guest lodging you can be on trails that have all the features of much more remote places.The Blueberry Hill Trails are a network of fun, short sections, most of which have a gentle grade. The few steep sections raise your heart rate as every community recreation and fitness trail system should but they are short enough not to discourage anyone. There's a recently updated map and trail guide that is a must for...
Learning to AdaptGet out and hike!Now, I'm not going to pretend that the Adirondack Coast of Lake Champlain is covered in a blanket of white fluffy snow. Right now, it's not. Mother Nature has handed us a smorgasbord of weather so far this winter, with wildly fluctuating temperatures and at least 14 types of precipitation. This week? Sleet, rain, snow, sun. We haven't got a contract with her; and I am confident that the usual blanket of snow...