Saturday, May 23, 2020

Bear Mtn., Salisbury, CT

Spring is finally upon us and yesterday the temperature rose above 80 degrees. Last week, when I took this hike from the Northwest Cabin in Mt. Washington, MA/Salisbury, CT, to the AT, up Bear Mountain, then continuing south on the AT to Bear Mountain Road and back to East Road/Mt. Washington Rd., the temperature was around 70. So perfect for hiking!

This was a wonderful hike. It gave me a good workout climbing up to Bear Mountain; the view from Bear Mountain is outstanding; the view as I was going down the south side was glorious; beautiful spring flowers everywhere; and, I saw a great blue heron walking up the brook as I walked in near the Northwest Cabin! It's a circular hike and about 3.5 miles so easy to do on a beautiful afternoon. It was nice to have a break from our current coronavirus situation.

I watched this great blue heron walk slowly up the river for about 10 minutes.
Such deliberation in every step!

A few Spring Beauties were in flower still.

Always a beautiful view from the rock structure on Bear Mountain.
Not sure who built it but I thank them for their handiwork!

Twin Lakes, Salisbury, CT, in the distance.

Shadbush or Serviceberry was blooming hear and there.

The beauty of the southern descent was breath taking!

Painted Trillium, always a treat to see.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bidwell House, Monterey

Spring is the best time of year to enjoy the trails at the Bidwell House in Monterey. Some of the trails were a little wet here and there, but the lack of leaves allows for views of the stone walls and old wood roads and other remnants from the over 250 years of farming on this property. The trails in the deciduous forest are bright and sunny, you can glimpse the surrounding hills and see the "bones" of the trees. 

As I walked out behind the house, the young trees are growing up tall but the older even taller oaks stand out. I walked down to the hillside to Shaker Pond on Jerusalem Road with it's beautiful stonework. My hike, according to Map My Hike app, was 5.5 miles. I met no other hikers/walkers on the trails except at the house where volunteers were doing some spring cleanup. Social distancing was observed!

Here are some of the notable things I found.

The website says:  The Bidwell House Museum, set in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts, is an elegant Georgian saltbox originally built circa 1760 as a parsonage. Authentically restored, filled with antiques and surrounded by 192 acres of beautiful grounds and hiking trails, the museum tells the story of the early settlement of the Berkshires. The museum is open Thursday through Monday between 11 am and 4 pm from Memorial Day to October, with tours on the hour.

One of the reasons that I love to visit the Bidwell House in the spring is to check out the Butterbur with its early spring flowers. These flowers and the rosette of leaves at the base are so different from the rhubarb-sized leaves that emerge later.
I have read that it can be invasive and was used as for medicinal purposes.

This hornet's nest was in the middle of the trail on the ground. This time of year it was, of course, abandoned. I'm glas that I didn't walk this trail in the summer when stepping on it would have garnered me some nasty stings!
This small brook beside the old road on the hill down Jerusalem Road is actually the abandoned older lane. Many years ago when the road got too deeply eroded, and impassable with the mud, they simply relocated the road parallel and alongside it. Simple, and did not require heavy equipment!

Here you can see the od road that I was walking on the right which is dry and navigable, and the older road on the left which is now very wet and not suitable for vehicle (neither wagon nor motorized) travel.

It's been many years since wagons or vehicles used the old road but here was a stone town marker from 1915 reminding me that at one time it indeed was a thoroughfare.
It was inscribed with T (Tyringham) on one side and M (Monterey) on the other.

Shaker Pond Dam, a reminder of the Shaker settlement once here. The amazing rockwork used no cement.

Another view of the outflow from the pond.

The pond had a pair of mallard ducks and eight geese swimming peacefully around, although the geese began squawking loudly as I approached and the ducks flew off to the other end of the pond. 
I think what these signs are saying is that the Berkshire Natural Resources Council owns the property here and MassWildlife maintains the conservation easement on it. This is the reason these trails are open for walking.

Here is a stone with evidence of a red squirrel who ate the seeds from the pine cones. So s/he finds a favorite spot, in this case on this rock, brings the cone here and pulls it apart to get to the seeds which it eats, leaving the inedible parts.

Close up of the middens.

This year I have seen more middens than I can remember. Probably because last fall was a mast year--a huge crop of cones.

Stump sprouts--I love this! I often see much older trees, in this case a beech, with three or more trunks. This is how that configuration occurred. The mature tree was cut down and the sprouts began growing from between the bark and the wood. Only the strongest two, three or four sprouts will survive to become strong trunks.

View from the front of the Bidwell House.

Another view from the front of the Bidwell House.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Mt. Van Hoevenberg from Adirondak Loj, Lake Placid

Photos from a fall hike up Mt. Van Hoevenberg:

The trail began with a lovely flat section through a spruce forest. 
The berries of the Hobble Bush were turning from red to black
and the leaves were beginning to change color. 
Hobble Bush. 
A few bright maple leaves were sprinkled on the trail.
And it was only August 31! 

I love this mixture of different lichen types and moss. Gorgeous!

The summit was cooler and very windy.
These tenacious trees persisted and were able to make a life for themselves!

I happened to see a few fronds of this beautiful fern
that I at first thought was Maidenhair Fern but now see that it is not.
It's paired with a forest goldenrod, maybe Blue-stemmed?

Lush polypody ferns cover the rocks.
I loved this aster on the woodland floor.

The mountains were speckled with sunshine.
It was amazingly windy at the summit.
I can't imagine how strong the wind must be in the winter.
No wonder the trees were so stunted.
The Bunch Berrys were turning red
and the leaves were changing to a deep maroon.

A large wetland at the beginning of the trail
with Mt. Van Hoevenberg in the background.

Despite Gray Skies, A Beautiful Hike on Mt. Alander

My friend Janice and I climbed Mt. Alander recently starting at the Mt. Washington State Forest Headquarters in Mt. Washington. We had an interesting conversation with the ranger Adam, who was clearing some brush near the buildings. Janice asked if any moose had been sighted lately. The answer was no, although earlier this winter, a young moose carcus had been seen on the other side of the mountain, not near the trail. Adam surmised that the animal had been killed by coyotes who had the advantage in the deep snow.

We saw lots of deer tracks; also squirrel, coyote and small rodent. We were most excited to see very fresh and clear bear tracks crossing the trail and going down into a shallow revine with a small brook. The temperature was in the mid 30s allowing the bear to "wake up" and go for a walk, looking for water and food. Who knows, we might have just missed the animal by minutes!

How wonderful it was to enjoy the mountain!

Looking south into New York State to Rte 22 below.
A great view of the agricultural land and the hills beyond.

I love the open summit of Mt. Alander! (Photo by Janice Tassinari)

Hard to beat Mt. Alander! (Photo by Janice Tassinari)