Breeding Bird Surveys (2013) – Day 4 – June 6, 2013
Today’s route was a two-part route with the approximate half-way point being the small town of White River, Ontario (Winnie-the-Pooh town). The first half of the route was new to us so we had scouted out the route the night before and found that the gravel road was in good condition with no washouts, a great improvement over the gravel road conditions of the survey route of the day before. As we arrived at the starting point for today’s survey, the mist hung heavy over the silent waters of the lakes, ponds and valleys along the route. Soon after our survey began, the rising sun began to paint the sky in a broad assortment of colours and, with each turn in the road, the sky changed the show for the beginning of a new day. Continue reading →
Sarsaparilla Trail and the Chickadees (again :-))
It was a perfect Fall day with temperatures above freezing, a beautiful blue sky overhead and little or no wind so I took a few minutes away from the computer to go out on the Sarsaparilla Trail in Ottawa’s National Capital Commission Greenbelt. The parking lot was full. That is always a good indication that the birds will be well fed as families and individuals stop at various locations along the trail to offer up a handful of seeds for the accommodating Chickadees. Continue reading →
We started off the morning X/C skiing at the groomed trails of the Trapp Family Lodge located on a mountainside above Stove, Vermont. There was still lots of snow in the woods but since the weather has been warm during the day and then freezing overnight, the trails, although groomed, were rather hard and granular in the morning when we first started out. As the temperature increased, the snows softened and skiis became more manageable. Continue reading →
We woke up this morning with frost on the picnic table but with a nice blue sky overhead so we decided that cycling to Flamingo to see the crocodiles would be a good way to spend the day. We decided that peddling the 65 mile round-trip distance might be a bit too optimistic so drove part way by truck.
One nice thing about cycling in the Everglades is that there are no hills to climb although we did have to navigate through one ‘pass’ where the elevation above sea level was 4 feet and through another location where the elevation was five feet. Continue reading →
Snowshoeing up to Mt. Marcy, High Peaks Region, Adirondack Mountains
Joined up with Tom Bissegger of Brampton, Ontario for a weekend winter camping and snowshoeing trip to Mt. Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The goal was to camp out at Marcy Dam on Friday evening and then the next morning don snowshoes again and hike to the summit of Mt. Marcy.
Despite the -15C temperatures and forecast breezes, I made the mistake of overdressing by a layer or two and overheated early on. I had to reduce my speed substantially to keep my body temperature down. That meant that I had more time for photography but ended up making much slower progress along the trail. As seen in the photos, most of the trail was well wooded and I had anticipated a bit more of the trail to be open to the breezes. Oh well, will know better for next time. Had a good time anyway and the scenery was fantastic with all of that fresh snow.
There were a few side trails that would have been open in the summer but during the winter the snow quickly blocked all but the well traveled trails. Lots of tree markers too so unlikely to get ‘lost’ but some do every year in the High Peaks Region and require rescuing.
As the heavy snow causes the spruce boughs to bend in over the trail, it is important to keep your head and neck covered or else a gust of wind will drop a load of snow on the unprepared hiker.
The initial few miles of the trail is through fairly thick bush so tough to see the sun but once we reached this spot on the trail, at the Indian Falls cut-off, it was nice to get out in the open for a bit to see the blue sky and the surrounding terrain. A biting wind made for a very short break and getting back onto the sheltered trail was soon the goal.
With about 1.5 miles to go to the summit we began to encounter shorter and shorter trees as we got closer to the tree line. There would be a few ups and downs before we actually got above the tree line but by this point we were beginning to notice that there was a decent breeze blowing to further cool us off.
Tom had gone on ahead when I had decided to slow down due ot overheating. WHen I reached this spot and could finally see the summit, I knew that with my energy fading and time beginning to become a factor, I wouldn’t likely make it to the top on this trip. When, a short distance later I came upon another sign indicating that I still had 1.2 miles to go and a good climb as well, I knew that I knew for sure that I wouldn’t make it to the top this time around.
From this point on I just followed the trail upward so expecting to meet Tom on his way back down. The snow caked on the trees and the bright blue skies made for a beautiful time and I was on a section of the trail that, although open, was relatively sheltered from the biting wind.
It wasn’t too much further along on the trail, when I met Tom on his way back. Although he had made pretty good progress, he found that the wind right into the face, once he got above the tree line, was making things just a bit too dangerous to continue.
As we headed back down toward Marcy Dam, a look out over the scenic landscape confirmed that we had come quite a way and climbed quite a bit but the peak would have to wait for another day.
Trail info (from ADK High Peaks Region guidebook):
Van Hoevenberg Trail to Mt. Marcy
Distance from Trailhead (one-way):
To Marcy Dam – 2.3 miles
To Indian Falls – 4.4 miles
To Summit of Mt. Marcy – 7.4 miles
Ascent: 3166 ft (965 m)
Elevation: 5344 ft. (1629 m)
How far did I travel on snowshoes?
On the Friday – 3 trips between parking lot and Marcy dam = 6.9 miles
On the Saturday – just short of the tree-line from Marcy Dam and then back to the parking lot = approximately 10 miles.
A couple of Tom’s photos to show what it looked like a bit higher up.
Edit: I went back a few weeks later. Weather wasn’t quite as nice but I got closer to the peak before turning back.
October 13, 2006 I was staying at the campground maintained by ADK at the base of the trail and overnight the winds howled as the storm front which ‘surprised’ Buffalo, NY with a few feet of snow and knocked out power for 250,000 people passed rapidly through the Adirondacks. After a night of howling winds I awoke early (I didn’t sleep too much that night), shook the ice off the tent and climbed to the summit again. Only a bit of freezing rain and some granular snow had fallen where I was, so the climb in daylight, although slippery, was quite pleasant. This series of photos reflects the blue sky conditions and the beautiful views from the summit of Mt. Jo. Well worth the second climb.
The overnight high winds and rain certainly cleared the trees of their autumn leaves.
A light coating of ice in a few spots required a bit of extra caution through some sections of the trail
Spruce boughs and some of the light granular snow. Pretty insignificant compared to the 2 feet of snow that the passing cold front dropped on Buffalo before reaching the Adirondacks.
A bit tricky but lots of easy handholds .
Only the last short part of the trail required any tricky manoeuvring and even that would have been simple were it not for the photo equipment that I was carrying with me.
What a difference a blue sky makes. The puddle was well frozen but the rising sun would soon change that.
With all of this climbing and worry about howling winds toppling trees onto my tent, I was now just a shadow of my former self (grin).
More Adirondack mountains beckon in the distance. Something to think about over the winter.
Heart Lake under a blue sky.
It was certainly cool at the summit and the puddles from the overnight rain were well frozen.
In the limited visibility of the rain, fog and drizzle of the night before,I had hiked past this outcropping without even realizing it was there. In the fresh morning air everything looked different so although I was hiking the same trail twice in a 12 hour period, it felt like I was hiking two completely different trails.
A granite slab along the trail.
Adirondack Loj – Located on the North Shore of Heart Lake, this lodge is owned by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). The original builder was Melvil Dewey who was a champion of ‘simplified spelling’ thus the spelling “Loj” rather than the more familiar “lodge”. (Info: ADK Adirondack LOJ at Heart Lake)
Located just north of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Stony Mountain Penitentiary is one of Canada’s medium security prisons/institutions. When I was much younger, the limestone outcrops to the east of the Penitentiary grounds were an excellent location for finding fossils from prehistoric times. (location)
In many areas of the country the prisons and penitentiaries, such as this one, are located a bit away from the major urban centers whereas in some parts of the country such as Kingston, Ontario the gaols are part of the character of the urban surroundings.