Category Archives: hiking

Cole’s Woods Hike

This weekend was the most beautiful weather. Temps in the 70s and lower humidity. We spent a lot of time outdoors!

On Sunday, we went for a short hike. We had already biked 18 miles in the morning, so we didn’t need a long exercise hike, but just out to enjoy the day.  We decided to check out Cole’s Woods, which is about a mile and a half-ish from our house. It’s a little section of woods nestled in between the Northway, the mall and housing.

Cole’s Woods was initially built for cross country skiing and was one of the first trails in the US to be lit at night!  Below is the  squiggly line of paths available. The red line is a 5K loop and that is all lit at night.

Also to be noted –

Lyme disease is endemic here (like rabies), so you do have to be careful. There are a lot of ticks around here. I actually found one on me after working in my garden beds when we first moved into Radiance Manor and I was getting rid of the overgrowth! Ick.  Anyway, we sprayed ourselves with bug spray as a deterrent.

These paths are so nice. Smooth and wide.

There is no way you could really get lost because the trails were all really well marked, although they criss-crossed higgledy piggledy all over the place. The area is small and you bump into “civilization” on all sides. It was a little confusing to follow the path we wanted. We were trying to go on the red line. There were lights along that route in the trees:

It would be really cool to come here and cross country ski in the winter. You aren’t supposed to walk on the groomed trails, so we would need to ski it.

There was a lot of this going on:

It’s like one of those Choose Your Adventure books. Remember those? I loved them.

We crossed over a stream:

That blue color was reflection from the sky. Isn’t it cool? I didn’t color edit this picture at all. It was a cloudless, bright blue sky day.

Mr. ‘Merica Bear:

We reached four corners:

The paths all cross over each other here and make….four corners.

There is a monument to someone who really made the trails happen.

And he was an Olympian in 1952 as well.

That sign close up:

We did see some Phragmites, though:

That stuff is bad. It’s an invasive species and very aggressive. It will choke out a lot of water/marsh plants like cat tails.

Crossing back over the stream:

What a gorgeous day it was. One of those days where you say “This is why I live here”. 😀

The trees along here are incredibly tall as well. It seems they go up for miles:

And check out that sky.

We ended up only doing 2 miles. Somewhere we got off the main 5K path and ended up on some of those secondary ones, but we ended up back at our car just the same.

This is definitely a keeper trail. It’s so close to home and a great spot on a hot day with all the shade.

Pilot Knob Hike

This is Pilot Knob take 2. We did this hike in 2015. It was in the fall and the waterfall was dry so we wanted to go in the spring when it would have water in it.  My sister and BIL joined us for the hike on Sunday.

The trail head is 15-20 minutes from our house. It was pretty crowded on Sunday, too. We were really lucky to get a parking spot as someone was just leaving when we got there.

My hiking boots are working out really well for me.

The trail was a little muddy in spots, which wasn’t surprising since we have had a lot of rain lately. It wasn’t as bad as I was thinking it would be, though.  This is fairly rocky terrain.

One thing that was annoying was loose dogs. I have no problem with dogs on the trails, but they shouldn’t be going free IMHO. That dog in the picture didn’t belong to the people behind it, but way back not even in the picture.  I’d be afraid of losing my dog. Anyway, there was other wildlife to be seen as well.

Does a millipede count as wildlife? 😀  The weather was just about perfect for hiking. It wasn’t hot and clouds were around, but it was still sunny.  I’m glad we went Sunday because Monday would have been a washout.

If you look really hard, you can see the orange trail marker on the trees about halfway up.

I guess they are up that high because of snow in the winter, but when you are looking down a lot to make sure you don’t trip, it’s easy to miss a marker.

There were some challenging bits:

It’s nice to actually see scale in a picture for a change LOL! Usually when I take incline pictures it just looks flat.

Centipede:

Just about at the top:

Then you hit open field and the gazebo:

We sat and relaxed in the gazebo with some snacks.

The gazebo provides a great view of Lake George.

After a rest, we pushed on to the blue waterfall trail.

This year we were finally rewarded with water! It’s so pretty. This goes on for quite a while downwards behind me as well.

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A couple large groups of people got there after us. Definitely many people had the same idea of it being great weather for a hike!  We headed back to the gazebo and went down the other side.

When we did this hike before, we came up this side and down the other. It’s definitely shorter on this  side and greener.

This is that time of year where the green is so fresh and vibrant.

It felt like going through the Emerald Forest.

It makes the crappy winters worth it to have this stuff so accessible for us.

We finally got to the connecting part of the loop:

The hike was 4.2 miles (ish). It took us 1-1/2 hours of hike time not including our snack break. This was a good start to the year. My sister has started doing the High Peaks hikes. She wants to be a 46er (there are 46 high peaks). We might do a few, but I’m not sure I want to do 46 of them LOL!

This is a highly recommended hike. Some challenging spots, but it’s very doable. There were lots of kids on the trail, too. And dogs…

Rush Pond Hike

We decided to go on a hike this weekend. Do you know this is the first hike we have done all year?  Other than hiking all over Ireland. Time just get away from us and we spent a lot of time on the bikes.

Saturday was a gorgeous day, about 60 degrees and sunny. This is a trail that we pass by on one of our regular bike routes, so I wanted to check it out.

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Colors are a poppin’ now.

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This is really a beautiful trail. Much different from our mountain hikes.

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The path is pretty smooth and well marked. A few climbs here and there, but not too hard.

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Not sure why this is off to the side. It kind of seems like something you would see on a mini golf course or a theme park LOL

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The sun was streaming through the leaves of this tree.  It looks like an instragram filter or something.

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Somebody lost a shoe!

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The hike ended up exactly 5 miles. It’s such an enjoyable trail and I could see doing some winter hiking here. We thought about cross country skiing, but some of the hills are too steep for newbie skiers 😀

More Ireland posts coming this week!

Spruce Mountain Fire Tower Hike

We did another official trail hike, but first – the pink picture of the day!  My new biking jacket. It is super bright 😀

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The Breast Cancer Site

On to the hike!  On Monday, my sister and BIL had the day off since they are state employees. I was working, but managed to take off in the afternoon so John and I could join them on the hike.  The trail we went on was Spruce Mountain.  This trail was finally finished after getting some easements to make the trail passable all the way to the fire tower. The firetower was in disrepair for many years, but they just finished the restoration so that you can climb up the 5 (!!!) stories to get to the top.  The trail closes by mid October for hunting season, so there are only a couple weeks left to go.

Apparently,we were not the only ones who wanted to squeeze in a holiday hike.  We were pretty surprised at the number of cars at the trail head.

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It actually wasn’t super crowded on the trail and it seemed most people were on their way down when we started up.

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Since there were easements, instructions were to stay on the paths.  Some property owner put this up by a section:

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Okay, then.  The trail was pretty much all wooded on the way up and mostly just forest floor instead of the rocky climbs we have done before.

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Check out how this tree perfectly fell into the V of two other trees.

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Talk about threading the needle. We had to duck a little bit under this tree.

You could almost make 2 canoes out of this split tree:

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Woodpecker damage on an old stump:

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This trail pretty much kept climbing upwards for the whole 1.2 miles to get to the firetower. It definitely got the heart rate up there!  We did have Gryffon with us again on this hike, so we took breaks for him (and us!).

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He’s so special he has his own collapsible, portable water bowl!

More and more climbing and we started to enter a different landscape:

 

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Yippee!!  We finally saw our destination:

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I have to say the thought of climbing this made me a little nervous. I am not a fan of heights, but I didn’t hike 1.2 miles up a mountain not to get to the top!

Gryffon didn’t get to go up in the tower. He was attached to a tree while we climbed:

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There were only a few people there, thank goodness. It would have been hard to get up and down if we had been there earlier with all the people we saw coming down.  Good thing I was busy at work in the morning and delayed the hike 😉

The fire tower was originally built in 1928 (there I go with my favorite time period). Thank goodness they refurbished it… Colleen and Dave climbing:

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The view was getting better with each floor up:

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Colleen says “Lean out of the tower!”. She wanted our picture from above.  Eek!  Not too far. (This was her picture).

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These actually were out of order as John and I climbed first and she took these when we were on our way down, but I wanted to save the view shots for last.

Higher and it was a loooong way down. Look at the tiny people below:

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It was a little scary, I have to admit, but the view was incredible. This is at the very top.  There is a plexiglass enclosure so you don’t fall out, I guess, although the floors on the way up are wide open.

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You can see for 120 miles from up here and are the colors not amazing?!!?!

We made it!! Top of the world!

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Interesting note. Selfie was done on my phone. You can see the difference how the phone does not pick up the fall colors like the Rebel does. 

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We really picked the perfect day to go to see colors.  I just could not get over this view.  Here is the shadow of the firetower while we were up top:

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This was definitely worth the climb up. Going down was pretty much all downhill and fast (relatively for hiking).  I took a few more pictures, but they just can’t compare to the fire tower shots LOL.  It was about 2.5 miles round trip for this hike.  I do recommend this one for sure.  Several days later and I keep thinking about the view from the fire tower. 

Pilot’s Knob Hike

We had company this weekend and one of the requests for things to do was go on a hike.  We looked for easier trails and settled on Pilot’s Knob, although it might have been a bit more challenging that we expected. 🙂

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The trail head is about 10 miles from home, so not very far at all!

It started out somewhat more uphill that we were anticipating, but it was shaded and pretty.

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The trail was quite well marked and well traveled. It wasn’t quite as rocky as Sleeping Beauty, but still a little challenging with tree roots.

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We hit a fork in the trail, both of which led to the gazebo.

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We weren’t sure which to take, but then someone coming down said the trail was a little easier and more interesting to look at, so we went to the right.

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My love:

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Finally up to the clearing and the gazebo 1 mile up.

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We had some protein bars and fruit here and enjoyed the view!

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That’s Lake George.

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I finally got my first butterfly shot of the year up here. This was taken with the 300 zoom.

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After a rest, our friend wanted to continue on, so we headed on the blue trail to the waterfall, which was supposed to be dry at this time of year:

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We haven’t had a ton of rain lately and even the normally muddy areas were dry:

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We didn’t have to walk on that to stay dry.  This is my favorite shot of the guys right here:

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We made it to the waterfall (at a total of 2.5 miles from the start), which was pretty dry – obviously or I wouldn’t be standing in it!:

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Itty bitty trickle of water.

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This is mostly full in the spring. I would like to come back and see that.  We decided to turn around and hike back at this point.  Back to the gazebo and back down the orange path:

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I found a little toad friend.  I actually almost stepped on him!

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It was a bit of a steep descent, so I packed the camera away after that so I wouldn’t drop it or if I slipped it wouldn’t get damaged.  Didn’t care about me, just save the camera!

We did about 5 miles of hiking.  It was a good hike and I would do this one again as well.  Although, there are so many great trails yet to explore.

We had a post hike treat!

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It’s not a cupcake, but still pretty darn good 😀

Sleeping Beauty Hike

We finally did our first official Adirondack hike.  We took the Sleeping Beauty trail in Adirondack National Park. The trail head was about 40 minutes from our house, so not bad – although we were up early 😀

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We knew the hike would be around 6 miles, but it turned out closer to 7 miles since we took a loop around Bump’s pond instead of straight up and down.

Partners in crime for the day:

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This is my new hiking stick I got at the art festival a couple months ago.

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We actually had to walk 1.5 miles just to get to the trail head from this parking lot.  That was the easy part, then it got pretty rocky and hilly.

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It was humid, but we were in the shade of trees for the majority of the climb, which was really nice.  I was sweating like the dickens, though.  That humidity thing.

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The trail was really well marked and a fair number of people on it as well. Lots of people had the same idea of an early hike to beat the heat!

Lots of neat pictures to take. I won’t post too many since I don’t want to flood your reader 😀

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Finally we saw a happy sign!

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And what a view it was:

 

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That’s Lake George down there where we bike to all the time.

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Here is a little movie of the view from the summit:

We ate some lunch at the top and then headed back down taking a loop around Bump’s Pond.

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If we had known it was going to add that extra mile, we wouldn’t have done it because we were pretty darn tired when we got to the bottom.  Although Gryffon was really happy to take a swim.

I think we should have brought more food, but otherwise it was suited pretty well for us since we bike a lot.  It was a little bit long of a hike – and next time we do this one, we will skip the pond.  It would be such a gorgeous view from the summit during fall colors!

 

Hiking in Vermont

Finally – a trip away! It was a short one. My birthday was Friday and I managed to get in my 47 miles of riding. That was a bit tiring, but very good to get it done!

Saturday morning, we left for an overnight trip to Vermont.  We stopped first in Rutland to do shopping. Poor John, I dragged him to all the Vintage shops I could find 😀

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I did manage to score a couple chairs at a sale from an auction house. 

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The one on the left is going to get painted a color and go into the garden with a flower pot where the missing seat is. The one on the right will get reupholstered for the inside.  Grand total for both chairs was $4.  Can you believe that?  One was $3 and and one was $2, but then the lady said it was $4 for both.  Who can pass up a deal like that?  Not me  🙂

We booked a place in Killington at Mountain Valley Resort, which is a B&B.  What a gem this place is!

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Our room was lovely looking out the back:

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Our hosts were very nice.  They also told us about a hiking trail just down the road, so we headed down to check it out.  It started in the marshy area with a nice bridge:

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Then we got to the climbing area. You could head 2 different ways and we took the shorter one to the falls since it was in the evening.

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So beautiful and what a nice treat to find!

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We decided the next morning to go back up there and hike the other side. After a wonderful breakfast from our hosts, we headed back.

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This climbed up quite a bit.

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Turns out it is part of the Appalachian trail!

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It went on for quite a while going up.

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It’s a very well marked trail as well.  Our new hiking shoes did great, too!

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We could have gone on for a long, long time, but we weren’t really set up for a whole morning of hiking. We ended up doing about 3 miles.

I would for sure come back here to hike these trails again.  I love my biking first and foremost, but we are enjoying the hiking 😀

It was also great to get away and relax for the weekend!

 

Meadowbrook Nature Preserve

So, a nonbiking outing, can you believe it?  Time to break in the hiking shoes.  On Sunday, my sister came over so we could go birdwatching at the nature preserve we stumbled on  that is near our house.

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It was kinda early – around 7 am.  Eeek!  That is a good time to go out to see birds, though.  Actually earlier probably would have been better, but I have my limits.  John actually came along as well. At first he said “I am going to stay and sleep”, but then after I was up he ended up changing his mind 😀

This preserve is only 1.5 miles from our house.  

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It’s much bigger than we expected. I thought it was mostly the grassy area, but it went into the woods as well with clearly marked trails. 

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We passed by this stand of trees and could hear a ton of different birds.  My sister is quite good at identifying birds by song and sight, so really helpful to have her along to tell us what something is 🙂

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Then we armed up with bug spray before heading into the woods. Mosquitos were out!

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There was a map showing the trails. This was what suprised me about this place.

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It really sits right next to a golf course and a housing development. But this is a nice slice of nature that will remain forever wild.

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I saw my first Jack in the pulpit in real life!

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My wildflower ID skills aren’t very good.  I need to get a guidebook or something.

Anyway, we went around to the perimeter. The problem with birding at this time of year is that you can hear the birds in the trees, but the leaves block the view 😀 My sister is staring up into the tops of the trees trying to find the birds.

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It was really a beautiful day. It started cool, but then got really nice.

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We stopped at a river’s edge and there we saw birds that could be identified. 

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We saw the Common Yellowthroat. A pair of them flitting around.

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That was a new bird for me!  We also saw the usual suspects of cardinals, red wing blackbirds, blue jay, etc.

This is defintely a place we will come to again to explore.  It will be nice on a hot summer day to escape into the wooded area and explore more.

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Well marked paths and some signs around with information. Just a cute place.  We probably did a couple miles of walking.  After this, we went out for bagels and coffee, which I forgot to take a picture of.  Oopsie.  It was good to have sister time and to do something different than the usual ride!  I guess this counts as a hike, right?

 

BOW – birding and hiking!

More of the activities at the Becoming an Outdoorswoman weekend!  Saturday was a day for 2 classes.  Another gorgeous morning:

There is not actually much down time during the weekend.  You are kept going and busy!  Breakfast starts at 7 am.  Important to fuel up with a good breakfast.

One morning I had oats and I was putting peanut butter on top and other ladies at the table were going “ooo… peanut butter on oats!”  LOL.  The nice thing about meal times is you just sit with whomever and talk about the class you took (or are about to take).  My sister and I tried to make a point to not sit at an empty table to get to meet other people.  Some women really kept to themselves, but most are eager to talk to others.  About half of the 126 people were return BOW attendees (like me!).

Off to 8 am class.

I was tired LOL! Kayaking was actually quite a workout.  I am glad I do a lot of lifting because it helped my back and shoulders from being too sore.

Saturday morning was my bird identification class.  Most of you know I love the birdies out my window, but I also want to learn more how to recognize them when they are not just sitting at my feeder.

 

I loved this class.  We learned how to use a field guide and how  to approach identifying a bird (and got to keep this pocket guide). We also paid a lot of attention to the bird songs, because it’s not just ‘tweet, tweet, tweet,” but you can identify birds by their songs even if you don’t see them.  Good thing, because we didn’t see a lot of birds on our walk, but we heard a bunch!

When we went out for the walk, I asked the instructor what camera she was using for her pictures.  She handed me her camera and told me to use it during the walk. Yay!

This is the bird we heard the most.  The red eyed Vireo.

Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/puttefin/

Here is a link to the song.  Once you know it, you hear it a lot (or at least I did).  In fact, I heard it when I got home in a tree across the street!

Here is a list of the birds we identified during our walk, which was about 30 minutes of the class:  Great Blue Heron (saw), Ring-necked gull (saw), Downey Woodpecker, Wood – Pewee, red-eyed vireo, crow, raven, nuthatch, American Redstart, Blackburnian Warbler, Chipping Sparrow.   How cool.  All those sounds around us that you really only notice in the background when you are outside.  John and I are going to get more into birding.

We came back for lunch.  This is chicken.  They had also a nacho bar, and you know I don’t confine my toppings to just what they are designed for.  I topped my chicken with salsa and cheese!

Funny how people thought that was so creative.  It’s good to think outside of the food box, you know?

The afternoon class was Adirondack Ecology.  This was a very interesting class.  The Adirondacks are really special.  Very old and they hold so many diverse types of landscapes and forest types.  After a presentation on what an ecologist would be looking for and what makes up a healthy forest, we went off site to view these in person.  The cool thing about the Adirondacks is that you don’t have to go far to see all kinds of different ecosystems right next to each other.   The plan was to be dropped off at the site and then have the option to walk back (we were told about 2 miles) if we chose.  More on that later.  We visited Jabe Pond and Little Jabe Pond.

Hiking on the path – here is an example of what is called a Maplewood-Beech forest.

I was glad to be in the woods because it was another hot day – in the mid 80s at least.  Lots of maple and beech (duh), plus a leafy forest floor.  Lots of cool vegetation.  Check out this flower:

This is an Indian Pipe flower.  I about squealed when the instructor pointed it  out.  She was really knowledgeable.  We don’t do much hiking or going into the woods, so I got to see lots of new-to-me plants.

Then we walked a bit more into a Hemlock forest.  This used to be part of a logging area in the 1950s and they deforested it, but it has come back pretty healthy.

This forest floor has more bedrock sticking out of it and is covered in needles.  Much different than the Maplewood-Beech.

Then we hiked a bit further and found a swamp area.  Now, we were dry because we just skirted the edges and were not going around in the muck.  This used to be a beaver dam area and the dam came down and created this swamp.

Lots of cool wetland flowers here.  This is something called Sun Dew – and it is a carnivorous plant!  It eats bugs gnat size and smaller.

These are small and very low to the ground.  On this same log were little tiny red fungus type of flowers called British Soldiers.

They are called British soldiers because they stand up tall and wear red hats.

So neat to see all of these things!  Nature is pretty amazing when you think about it (and we should more often). At this point, we had a choice.  We could go back to the drop off point and ride down by van, or we could hike the 2 miles back on the trails.  About half of the group decided to hike back (which I was in).   The leftover group continued to Jabe Little Pond, where we were lucky enough to see a loon!

He was hard to get a picture of because he kept diving.  After a nice rest here, we then headed back around the Jabe Pond (the big one).  Could you not see yourself in a chair with a nice cold drink?

I could!

I love how the angle of the sun really highlights my forehead ‘divot’  🙄  The one real sign of aging on my face from a lifetime of squinting.

A couple of canoe-ers came with their dogs and set out for some fishing.

Very well-behaved dogs that didn’t jump out of the boat.  Obviously very used to canoeing.

Funny that this is a pond, but it really looks more like a lake, doesn’t it?

We dawdled here too much, so then we had to pick up the pace on the way back.  The instructor led us to some rarely used trails and this is where it started to get tricky and hairy.

I felt bad because there were a few people that would not have done this hike back if they knew how difficult it would be.  There was a bit of steep uphill, but most of it was steep downhill, which is really hard on the knees.  And instead of 2 miles, it was more like 4!  Phew!  I thanked all my biking and lifting.  At 250 pounds, I would have been completely miserable doing this hike.

The trail was very hard to see.  It was hardly used.

At this point, I put the camera away because I didn’t want to drop it.  Footing was hard and with a lot of forest litter on the floor, you couldn’t always be sure you wouldn’t step into a hole.

The 40 minute hike back ended up being about an hour and a half!  We were so tired and also very late for dinner.  My sister was wondering where the heck I was LOL!  She had been teaching her class while we were out there.  The thing is, without cell service, you couldn’t let anyone know where you were or how long you would be gone.  This is why you shouldn’t hike alone unless you tell someone where you will be and how long you expect to be gone.  Our ‘extended’ hike was the talk of the dinner!

I’ll stick with biking, thank you.  It was enjoyable, though, other than being a bit worried about being so late.  I certainly burned a lot of calories!  Glad to see the lake again.

Sorry for the long post!  The day wasn’t over yet, but I’ll save that and the last class for tomorrow.