Monday, May 26, 2008

Time for Pilot Knob Ridge

I made it up to Pilot Knob Ridge today and was very happy to see from the trail logs that a lot of people came and visited this lovely place. Today I was not only checking the trail conditions, but I also added and replaced some trail markers. The post at the intersection of the blue and orange trails is marked correctly for as long as the trail marker poachers stay away.
The weather was warm, but comfortable, and all and all I had a very slow and enjoyable hike.
One sad note: As it has been a little dry, the waterfall has slowed to a trickle, but even so, walking up and viewing the rock formation at the falls is worth the trip.
For you birders out there. Any place along the blue trail would be an excellent spot to sit with binoculars and watch birds. I am not up on my bird song identification, but I can tell that there are a lot of different birds out there. I did see a pair of scarlet tanagers; the male was a gorgeous, brilliant red.

This is an example of some of the diverse habitat on the blue trail. This kind of open woods coupled with some of the fringe areas around this habitat provide a huge variety of food sources that supports a high diversity of plants and animals. This photo does not do it justice.

A view of Sandy Bay from the Gazebo. Summer is here as indicated by the boats moored there. You know the water temperature in 54 degrees Fahrenheit, so I bet that nobody is swimming...except a few brave souls.

This is my trail partner. His job is to keep me company, greet fellow hikers and watch over me. He preforms all his jobs flawlessly every time. By the way he really is not a bear, he just looks like one.

I know it is a spider with and egg sac, but it was big and interesting so I decided to photograph it.

This is grass growing out of the pavement of the drive that is part of the orange trail . Why oh why would I take such a boring picture? This ties into my essay on the positive points of the drive entailed A different look at the Driveway trail. This patch of grass demonstrats nature's resilience and strength, as simple as it is, this patch of grass will soon break up this section of pavement allowing larger plants to take root.

Had a great time today and it was nice to run into people along the trails.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trail Work in Progress

I went up onto Cat Mountain very early this moring and cut blow down for nine hours. I was able to clear the yellow trails and only 1 mile into the blue trail. There still is about 1.25 mi left on the blue trail. I am not used to swinging an axe, so at 2:00 when I just finished cutting a large pine this dozer ran out of diesl. My legs got heavy and I started to get a headach in my forhead. With 3 miles to the van I decided enough was enough and finished for the day.

To some up the day...I had a blast!!!

Here are some pics from the top of Cat.

Don't forget to touch the disk when you climb the mountain

Friday, May 23, 2008

Tough Choice Tonight.

I would like to cruse Pilot Knob Ridge and work a little on the shrubby honey suckle infestation in the gazebo clearing, but I have an opportunity to work on the blue trail at Cat Mt. I have a rare entire day to do trail work and I think that given the state of that trail and that fact that we are at the start of the hiking season, that I will go there tomorrow. Before I go though I am going to stop at the PKR Kiosk and drop of a stack of trail maps.

We have had wet weather, but no bad weather since I last hiked the trails so I am confident that the trails are in good shape. I only have couple of trail markers to replace and the post at the gazebo clearing needs a couple of new markers, but these are minor fixes that can wait a week. I also would say that the waterfall is flowing well and will be worth a hike up to the falls.

Have fun

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spent a Day on Cat and Thomas Mt in Bolton

With Pilot Knob Ridge in fairly good shape I was looking for something different so I decided to visit the Lake George Land Conservancy's Cat and Thomas Preserve this past Sunday. I am so glad I did on many levels. First, the views from the top of Cat Mountain are nothing short of stunning. Start early in the morning and get up there before 8:00 on a clear morning and you will be rewarded with a new and spectacular view of Lake George. This Sunday there was not one boat or wake of a boat to be seen and the water was like a blue placid crystal the way the sun had shone on it. The hike up is easy and only takes about an hour. Most of the distance is flat with a little up hill at the end.

I said that I was glad that I went up on many levels, well one of the other levels is that I ran into a large amount of blow down concentrated on the ridge trail (blue) that leads from Cat to Thomas. It was passable, but a little difficult to follow at times. I have contacted the LGLC and they are right now putting out a call for help and will shortly be organizing a work gang. I will attempt to clear some of the blow down within the next couple of weeks as my schedule allows. I was a little concerned that this may have happened as I have been hiking a lot in the Lake George Basin and there as been a lot of ice damage above 1500 feet. Some of the stories I have been reading are saying the same for the High Peaks. Even with the blow down, the blue trail is fun to hike. It is a true woods trail that are a bit of a rarity with all the hiking that is going on. It is marked with blue disks and cairns in spots and offers some interesting views from time to time.

I didn't bring my camera as I was afraid of a rain shower, but I want to bring it to show some of these interesting aspects of the blue ridge trail

Hike Cat and Thomas, just use care, keep an eye on your back trail and hike with a buddy.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A little brushing today

I went up to the Pilot Knob Ridge Preserve today to brush out the trail. Brushing the trail for the most part is taking a pair of limb loppers and cutting anything that falls with a 4x8 window with the center line of the trail. Like if you were carrying a door in front of you and cut anything that hits the door. Also, I had to cut away any new growth that blocked some of our trail markers. I did not have too cut much and the trails are for the most part dry and all clear waiting for hikers to enjoy it's winding spender!

Took a couple of pictures today something to show the kids to help motivate them to join you. I always find and see something every time I go out to visit the PKR.

This rock feature is located on the blue trail loop just up from the intersection at the falls. With a little imagination and story telling it could become a wood elf house. Okay I'm reaching, but I used to have to get creative with my kids.

This is one of many open wood areas that offer the birders a chance to see birds they are watching a little more upobstructed. I am not great at bird identification, but I heard a bunch of different calls today and saw a lot of movement as I worked up the trail. I think that if you are a bird watcher this would be a great place to sit and quietly watch the birds flit around in there quest to survive and thrive.

Saw this little nest right next to the trail. Looks like last years.

All in all it was another great day at the PKR. One sour note. At the beginning of the blue trail there is a 4x4 post with trail markers on it, well someone decided to take a couple of trail markers as souvenirs and the post my be a little confusing, so when you are at it just look around for the blue and orange markers to pick up the trails. You will spot them easily. I will fix it when I go up again within two weeks.

Oh, to leave on a positive note. My first waterbar that I put in on the blue trail above the falls worked great and held up to all the rain we had. I learned a lot for making that one and feel confident that I can construct more to help keep the PKR trails in good shape.