Of course, wildflowers are everywhere. They grow wild! But if we want to find bunches of them, and enjoy them at our leisure, here are some great spots to find lots of different kinds. Sunny hike When I want lots of wildflowers, I head for one of the sunniest hikes in the area, part of the complex known as Henry's Woods. I park on the side of the round-graveled road, near the trailhead map. I will be heading to the left, the Orchard Loop trail, which is about 1.5 miles round trip. Even the beginning section, which is deep forest, offers some lovely... continue reading
Change is always imminent in the mountains, and that’s never more noticeable than the transition from winter to summer. The brief in between, spring, is a time when color returns to the forest. The cold blues and grays are joined by an expanded palette — greens, yellows, and reds abound in the form of mosses, leaves, and flowers.  The first hint of the colors to come are spring ephemerals, wildflowers that erupt from the forest floor as soon as the snow recedes. By popping up so quickly they’re able to take care of the business of being a flower before the trees leaf... continue reading
A hike to the summit of an Adirondack High Peak is like walking back in time. Algonquin, the Adirondacks' second-highest mountain, is an ideal place to see this living museum first-hand. Starting at the Adirondak Loj, the trail begins with an easy stroll through a beautiful forest of mixed evergreens and hardwoods. Things are pleasant and calm down here, but as the path gains elevation the grade steepens and everything changes. Shortly after bearing right at a trail junction — left goes to Marcy Dam — you'll cross a stream and enter a forest that mostly... continue reading
Some of the best scenic destinations near Lake PlacidLake Placid is loaded with scenic destinations, but not all of them are long hikes or even moderate hikes; the Lake Placid Region can fulfill it all. These destinations I have chosen are perfect for those not wishing to do much hiking at all. In fact these destinations are within a ten minute walk of the parking lot, no special hiking equipment required, you could even do them in your flip flops if you want. I hope you enjoy these selected short ventures and take lots of pictures while you’re out there.  Cascade Lakes and Cascade... continue reading
            Every year during the fall I find myself in a consistent conversation – either with someone else or with myself in my own head.  “Is that peak?”  “Wow, that’s peak.”  “That’s not peak yet, but it’s close.”  After all, the peak of leaf season is something we all want to see.             I was driving across Route 3 from Watertown this past weekend and every bend in the road offered a new stage of the process and a new blend of colors seemingly topping the last.  But there was always that question, “Is it peak here?”  After all, finding the peak leaf season is an inexact science. ... continue reading
            Just yesterday while sitting in my car, I watched a monarch butterfly fly through the parking lot of Price Chopper in Lake Placid.  I was ecstatic.  What was once a commonplace sighting has become anything but commonplace now. A few weeks ago, Dr. Chip Taylor of the University of Kansas and the Director of Monarch Watch came to The Wild Center in Tupper Lake to speak on the status and conservation of monarchs and in particular, the conservation of the eastern population of the species.  The talk was part of the museum’s efforts to promote understanding of monarch biology and... continue reading
            I went for a hike at the Intervale Lowlands Preserve in Lake Placid on the weekend with a couple friends.  We were mostly looking for birds, but Intervale offers the additional benefit of some great views of the Sentinels, the High Peaks, and Whiteface.  The walking at Intervale is relatively flat and easy too, which is great for me since I’ve been dealing with ongoing sickness and fatigue over the past number of months.             And for those of us who enjoy birding, there is always plenty to see.  As we drove in, an osprey flew overhead and American kestrels hunted above the... continue reading
            A few weeks ago, a coworker and I had some vegetation sampling to do along the trail to Copperas Pond in Wilmington Notch, so we grabbed Wren and headed in.  The trail loops, meeting Route 86 in two places about a mile apart, and we hiked in along the northern access.  The trail climbed steeply at first, but then became rolling as we wound through a mixed deciduous – coniferous forest on our way to Copperas Pond.            We passed the trail that heads to Winch Pond, a small, muddy-edged pond which I’ve found is good for birds, but we didn’t have time to head there.  Last year... continue reading
            Over the past month, my time in the field has been marked by stopping along the trail for a quick snack.  It began with wild strawberries hiding under the low, green leaves along the ground.  Soon berries were hanging from every bush and tree and I have been happy to take part in their bounty.             A few weeks ago my coworkers and I descended upon a patch of black raspberries (perhaps my favorite, and not particularly common around here), greedily consuming them as if we hadn’t eaten anything for days.  Red raspberries too have been out and I check out the patch next to my... continue reading
            As summer progresses, one of my favorite things to do in the field is to enjoy the variety of wildflowers.  Many of our common species – both native species and non-native species - do not bloom until late in the season making this time of year full of color along our fields and roads.             I plant native wildflowers in my yard and so right now my brushy garden is awash in the pink (and amazing fragrance) of common milkweed, accented by the whites and purples of asters, and is aglow with late goldenrod.  It is not only something I enjoy, but the birds seem to love it as... continue reading


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