Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Waterfall...the prize at the end of the journey

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Winter Wonderland a the PKR

While this winter seems to be lingering a little too long, still it has offered some stunning days. Today was one of them. I had an opportunity to hike the Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve today and was greeted with an early spring wonderland. The trees and forest floor were covered with a little new snow from the day before and when you add the bright cloudless day to that you are left with a brisk mix of wintry splendor.

There is something wonderful that happens when you enter into a woodland with a fresh layer of snow. Rock formations seem to pop out at you when contrasted against the clean snow. Today I noticed a couple of interesting ones on the last half of the blue trail. Also, you notice the movements of animals as they get through their day. I cut a fox trail and I saw where an owl or hawk captured a small rodent. Some of this would have been missed if I didn’t go hiking because I was sick of the cold and snow.

The trails seem better, but still a little tricky when descending. I caught myself a couple of times with my hiking pole. A one nice thing (of many today), I was able to park in the parking lot. Maybe that can be counted as an official sign of spring. There is enough room for about 4-5 vehicles.

The waterfall was still a big block of ice, but the water is surging underneath…it is just a matter of time.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

LGLC Owl Prowl

This last Saturday the LGLC had a program called the Owl Prowl that they originally scheduled at Pilot Knob Ridge, but due to icy trail conditions decided to hold the program at the Cat and Thomas Preserve on the west side of Lake George in Bolton Landing.

Our leader took us in to the preserve at twilight to a few locations that she had called owls before and had us wait off the trail, quietly, while she tried different owl calls. She was attempting to have them call back and hopefully get them to fly in and investigate. She explained that this time of year owls were beginning to pair up and mate for the season and by using certain calls they are more likely to call back.

We stopped at a few spots along the trial from the kiosk to a point about 0.75 miles in. Now while we didn’t have any luck, it gives you a different perspective being in the woods after dark on a clear night. The stars were beautiful and while the moon had not risen yet, the woods were still illuminated by the bright star lit sky. I camp in the late spring and summer and know what it is like to be in the woods after dark, but I don’t go camping in the winter and this experience just reminds me on how different and beautiful the woods look at different times of the day and year.

If you get a opportunity to go on a program run by the LGLC…go you will learn something

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The 2008 Season has begun

I had a pleasant surprise today. I went up to the Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve to check on the kiosk and to see how much snow was left on the parking lot, and to my surprise the snow banks had melted away from the road enough for me to park off the road on the shoulder. So I took the opportunity and went on my first patrol of the 2008 season. With all of the storms that we had I really wanted to at least cruise the orange trail to make sure that it was reasonably clear for the Owl Prowl next Saturday, March 22, 2008 (To sign up please contact theLGLC’s Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Hoffman, at 518-644-9673 or email Pre-registration is required for this event). Well, not only was I able to walk the orange trail, but I hiked the blue trail also!

With the exception of one tree down across the trail on the blue trail near the waterfall, the trails are all clear!!! You can hike all the trails without snow shoes or creepers, but there are some icy spots and you are going to want to make sure your boots are waterproof. I also would recommend hiking to the Gazebo on the orange trail that goes up to the left at the first trail intersection and come down the old drive from the Gazebo.

The waterfall is beautiful, with some nice ice flows; it really is worth the hike in. Be careful where the trail crosses the stream as the rocks are icy and the water is 3’ deep in spots. There are plenty of stepping stones to get across, just use care.

Next time up I will bring my camera and post some images.

While I didn’t see any wildlife, I did see plenty of sign. There are plenty of deer on the PKR, as well as red fox as evidenced by the fresh trail I cut across on the blue trail. I also spotted an antler rub from this past fall that I had missed on my excursions during this past fall. It just further illustrates that even if you hike the same area time and time again that you will always see something different when you go for a nice hike.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Still Here, but not Hiking yet

The parking lot is under 3 feet of snow at the Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve so I still have not had the opportunity to patrol. I am planning of getting up there as soon as the snow allows to assess the trail conditions and make the repairs that I can so that you can have a nice time enjoying the many surprises that this jewel of a preserve offers.

Will keep updating