Seeking Refuge at Thanksgiving: The Red-headed Stranger

As Thanksgiving weekend drew to a close, my friends and I paid a second visit to Blackwater NWR. The morning started with an adventurous walk along a woodland trail. The frequent, obvious blazes were no match for our talent for getting thoroughly lost. We certainly did not end up where we were supposed to end up! Continue reading

Seeking Refuge at Thanksgiving: Blackwater NWR

Still in a thankful mood, my friends and I took an overnight trip on Thanksgiving weekend to explore someplace new. We piled into the car and headed two hours south, to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. 28,000 acres of mixed hardwood and pine forests, tidal marsh and freshwater wetlands awaited us at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Continue reading

Adirondacks Carefree: Whiteface Mountain

Wherever my friends and I go, we try to get to the top of the highest mountain around. So on our Adirondack adventure, we were keen to get to the very top of the High Peaks. That would be Mt. Marcy, 5,344’ high. “How do we get there?” we wondered. Hike 7.4 miles through wilderness to the summit, then hike 7.4 miles back. Ok, maybe not.

Still, we were determined to get to the top of one of “The 46”, as the 46 High Peaks above 4,000’ are called. Folks who have successfully climbed all 46 are called “Adirondack 46ers.” We only had one day to get to the summit of a High Peak, and our experience on the relatively puny Pitchoff Mountain taught us not to take these mountains lightly. What to do?

Enter Whiteface Mountain, 4,867’ tall, the fifth highest in the state of New York. There’s a road that does 4,600’ of the work for you, with an elevator that takes tourists the rest of the way. How hard could it be?

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Adirondacks Carefree: Mission Moose

WANTED: Eastern Moose, Alces alces americana

Place: Adirondack Mountains, New York

Time: Early July

Dossier: Standing 5 to 6 ½ feet tall at the shoulder and weighing 600 to 1500 pounds, the Eastern Moose can be identified by its large, bulbous nose, heavy body, long spindly legs, and the enormously broad, flat antlers worn by the male of the species.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it: Join an elite team of Expeditionary Agents to track down this ungainly critter, isolate it, and shoot it. With a camera.

This will be no walk in the park. Despite its size, the Moose is not easily seen. Previous searches at Upper Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, Bog River Falls, Simon Pond and Pitchoff Mountain have failed to produce moose. Where to next? The fate of the expedition lies in your hands.

Choose wisely.

Keep reading!

Adirondacks Carefree: Wild Tupper Lake

My friends and I all had things we wanted to see and do in the Adirondacks. I wanted to kayak at sunset, and capture images of waterfalls and Common Loons in summer plumage. Don wanted to see a moose. Robb just wanted to take a walk on the wild side.

The Wild Walk at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, that is. The Wild Center is a natural history education center with trails and a large exhibit space.

The highlight is the Wild Walk, a trail across the treetops, designed to show visitors the Adirondacks from the perspectives of different animals. There’s a spider web, an eagle’s nest, and an old hollow tree with a staircase inside, all connected at various heights off the forest floor. Just Robb’s cup of tea.

The views over the top of the forest to the mountains beyond were amazing.

We took a walk on the forest floor, too, and found tiny mushrooms sheltered in the base of an old tree.

 

 

 

 

Sensitive fern – my favorite fern. Yes, I have a favorite fern. Robb is partial to maidenhair.  The forest understory in the Adirondacks was carpeted by ferns, ferns and more ferns.

After lunch, we explored Bog River Falls. Bog River flows through the Horseshoe Wild Forest before tumbling over a set of waterfalls into Tupper Lake. The upper and lower falls can be accessed on both sides of the river. I dug out my tripod and tried my hand at some long-exposure photography.

The upper falls split around a tree-filled island.

Nearby, small feeder streams cascaded into the Bog River.

Below the upper falls.

My compadres on a rocky slab extending out into the lower falls. The panorama of Tupper Lake at the top of this post was taken from this same spot.

Simon Pond. From the tallest treetops to expansive blue lakes, raging waterfalls to peaceful ponds – what a pleasure to be wild and carefree in the Adirondack Mountains.