Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

Syracuse Nature Trail

Well, to wrap up our Labor Day weekend with one more day of family fun, we decided to make it to one more nature trail that we heard about in the Syracuse vicinity. When we started getting closer to the trail, we could not believe the amount of traffic on the roads and the number of people who were out and about. They seemed to be expecting a crowd though, as getting parked seemed to go really smoothly. There seemed to be some sort of festival going on around the park.


 We were really glad to see the trail head sign once we got there.


Sean and Nathan lead the way.


“Hey! Lavender!”


After the short but vigorous walk around the trail we decided to forego the trail mix and took advantage of the Doug’s Fish Fry booth that happened to be sitting at the trails end.


As we made our way back to the car, we stumbled across some sort of opening ceremony for an establishment called the Shamrock Bar.  We had the feeling as if we might be related to half the people standing around there but we didn’t stand around long enough to find out. We wanted to beat the rush as it looked as if they were all about to storm the bar.


At this point we just decided that we might just as well enjoy the festival since we were here. “If you can’t beat ‘um, join ‘um.” Above we got an eagle-eye view of the nature trail from a ferris wheel that had been conveniently assembled for the festivities.


As we continued to make our way back to our car we came upon some sort of presentation that had drawn quite a crowd. Asking around, a performance by an artist named Drake Bell was just about to begin. As it turns out he is a character from a popular TV show called Drake and Josh on the Disney Channel that Sean and Nathan just love. Drake_Bell

Judging by the piercing screams of all of the teenaged girls surrounding the stage, he put on a good show.


It ened up being a great day…The End.


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trail to Mt

This year we tried a new mountain climb in the Rollins Pond area. We chose Mt. Arab. We had heard that it was worth the climb as The Friends of Mt. Arab have made a great effort to restore the fire tower and cabin atop the mountain.

Mt Arab summit

Once we got to the top, it certainly was worth the view. The hike was a little more strenuous for the adults than it was the kids. We think they actually climbed the mountain twice as they would run ahead, and then run back as we made our way up the mountain.

Mt Arab cabin-3

At the top of the mountain is a restored cabin that was used by the observer who spent the fire season looking out for fires. The cabin is now occupied for the summer by a guide to greet hikers as they reach the tower.

Mt Arab Fire Tower

Here, Sean is standing at the foot of the fire tower.


We all made it up to the top of the tower.


You are here.

Mt Arab bench

“Hey someone built a bench here!  Sean, take our picture.”

Lake Arab

What a great hike!

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Stephanie spotted and planned a wonderful outing for the family this past Sunday. We went snowshoeing at the Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah, NY. The program was called stories in the Snow and included a brief presentation by a staff person about tracking wildlife, and a guided tour around the area by snowshoe.


Just having had several inches of Snow made for great snowshoeing and animal tracking conditions. Above are some of the numerous rabbit tracks that we encountered on the walk.

As we made our way around the trails an extraordinary story unfolded in the tracks in the snow. The “story in the snow” took an exciting turn when a “perfect stepper’s” tracks joined the “hoppers” tracks.


As we followed the tracks out of the woods into this opening Sean proclaimed to the group, “Its a murder scene!”

Yes the “perfect stepper” tracks that had been accompanying the rabbits tracks were those of at least one coyote. The story that we followed ended with the coyote getting its meal. The person guiding us described our outing as one of the best of the year for the amount of tracks that we encountered.

It has really inspired us to want to get out and enjoy nature and the snow more this time of year.

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After our return from the Mountains a few weeks ago, Steve found a book at the library that was inspired by the trip to the Adirondacks. The book was called “Forest Under My Fingernails: Reflections and Encounters on The Long Trail.” by Walt McLaughlin.

As Steve was reading he found the authors reflections to be a wonderful reminder of the feelings of being in the Adirondacks, even though the author was reflecting on a trip that he made up The Long Trail, which runs the length of Vermont.

We thought that the following passage goes well with the picture above that Sean took of his own dirty feet.

“The forest is under my fingernails. A mountain stream runs through me. My skin smells like the rotting leaves underfoot. I inhabit these woods no less than the fleeting deer or chattering chipmunks. Three weeks on the trail and I belong in this green universe. The wind brushes over my face. I’ve given enough blood to the many biting insects to qualify as part of the grand design. My feet follow an unending path cutting through yellow lilies and bunchberry. My spirit soars high overhead, among the few wispy clouds. My heart sinks deep into the earth, as solid and unmoved there as the dark grey bedrock. My progress northward is deliberately slow, in celebration of the simple earthy pleasure of absolute immediacy. All heady presumptions have been stripped away by the wild. Today, this hour, this moment, I am a woodswalker. Nothing more, nothing less. And that once-and-future life of mine back in the lowlands is only a vague concept, a fading memory.

“The mountains are fountains of men as well as of river, glaciers, of fertile soil,” John Muir once wrote. An unspeakable force flows from these rocky promontories, catching me off guard. I am re-created by it. This mere slipping between forest shadow and light is reason enough to be in the world. I inhale the freedom of the hills, exhale all paltry concerns. My walking stick has the airy strength of a prophets staff. Every pilgrim has his or her wilderness. This one is mine. I count my blessings as I walk-foremost among them just being in such a wonderful place. God is great. God is generous. The forest shouts timeless beauty. Here and now, it is impossible to be anything but fully alive.”

– Walt McLaughlin

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On Monday we took a walk through the Otter Hollow, a trail that originated from Rollins Pond.

It had rained much of the day Sunday, and we were really excited to get out from underneath the shelter of our screen tent.

As we started looking around, we noticed that there were mushrooms growing everywhere.

How many mushrooms can you see in this picture?

There were big mushrooms…

There were little mushrooms…

There were colorful mushrooms…

There were mushrooms on trees…

There were even things that we thought were mushrooms only to find out later that they are actually a plant without chlorophyll that grows in the Adirondacks.

If you know of any online resources for identifying all of the pictures of mushrooms that we took let us know. We have just about every other field guide except for mushrooms.

Here is most of the family as we headed up the trail. Not pictured is Sean who took the picture. He seems to be developing a pretty good knack for photography.

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On Wednesday we hit the trails again. This time we raised the elevation a little bit. We decided to tackle Coney mountain.

Here’s the gang hitting the trail head.

We encountered some interesting trees along the way.

Here is one that has it’s roots growing over and around a glacial erratic.

We can’t imagine how this tree behind Nathan grew a trunk like this.

We were very surprised to see this little critter at the summit of the mountain. We can only imagine what a tough little toad this must be to survive the extreme conditions on top of the mountain.

It was a very satisfying feeling when we reached our first Adirondack Mountain top as a family. We met a really nice couple there that gave us the tour of landmarks on the horizon and took this picture of us.

Here is a picture of the boys with Tupper Lake in the background. Oops…don’t step on the alpine plants.

The long climb sure was worth the view.

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On Thursday, the forecast was calling for showers again. So we took the opportunity to visit The Wild Center in Tupper Lake. We had visited there last year and the kids were eager to return again this year. It was a great rainy day activity as much of the experience is inside.

Here Nathan and Sean peer out the window which is at eye level with the Adirondack pond that comes up to the window sill.

The Wild Centers mascot is the otter. They have a really cool exhibit where their three otters each have a chance to give the observers a close up view of their interesting behaviors.

By the afternoon the clouds broke for a little while which gave us a chance to explore the path that they have at the Center.

The path led to Dawsons Oxbow Overlook where there are binoculars conveniently placed at just the right height for kids to observe an Adirondack bog and pond.

It ended up being a great day!

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