What's Your Nature?

Become a Nature Up North explorer to share your encounters with wild things and wild places in New York's North Country. Post your wildlife sightings, landscape shots, photos from your outings, and even your organization's events!


A great day snowshoeing on the Peavine Swamp Trail. 

To read more about it- https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2022/02/06/peavine-swam…

The lean-to Looking out over the Oswegatchie On the trail To the lean-to Old school showshoes were perfect

Hiked in to Low's Lake Overlook on a warm Sunday in September. The colors were spectacular!

The Moore Trail runes from Wanakena to Inlet, and follows along the Oswegatchie River. This is always a fun 4-mile hike any time of year. For More on this - https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/the-moore-tr…

The good weather earlier in the week made for a nice day of social distancing at Streeter Lake in Aldrich (Fine NY). Though Streeter Lake is a common destination for me, this was my first trek there via the Tamarack Creek Trail. The trailhead starts from the Youngs Road in Star Lake NY.

I spent a snowy Veteran's Day exploring some old camp ruins around the Horseshoe Lake area. These were fairly off the grid, but I found them without "too" much difficulty. I've been to the ruins of the Hitchens camps many times, but I wanted to find these particular ones. The most prominent features of these sites are the fireplaces.

The camps were burned by the DEC when they acquired the property as they were non-conforming structures, a common but unfortunate occurrence when dealing with Adirondack properties.

The trip to High Rock is an annual paddle for me- it is a classic Adirondack paddle that I never tire of. The leaves are past peak, but the spruce & pine still offer vibrant greens to the landscape. The water is very low right now and makes paddling a bit difficult. There are a few beaver dams that are obstacles and there are a few other tight spots that will hopefully be taken care of with the spring high water. Round trip is a little over 7 miles round trip.

Brandy Brook Flow on Cranberry Lake was my latest destination. This is a nice easy hike, a little over 7 miles round-trip. At one time, this was home to the floating camps of lore. There are several very nice campsites along the way. The trail has several intersections to other locations, and the Cranberry Lake 50 follows it for a ways.

Burntbridge Pond is a fairly common destination from the Cranberry Lake direction (NW). I approached from the east on the Massawepie road. Most of it is following old logging roads, but the last half mile is a trailless bushwhack that gets more difficult as you get closer to the pond. If you are not comfortable with map and compass work, take the conventional route from the Cranberry Lake side. It is about five and a half miles round trip.

The crisp, bright morning was perfect for a hike along the Lost Pond nature trail. This is a wonderfully laid out trail that loops around Lost Pond and treks through several different forest systems. I just missed the state stocking trout into Cranberry Lake by a half hour, but there was still plenty of fish hanging around the boat launch. A very nice and easy short hike.

The Moore trail is always a favorite. The trail follows along the Oswegatchie River from Wanakena to Inlet. The trail is starting to break up a bit, so it was rough going even in snowshoes, but microspikes would have been worse. for more on the Moore trail- https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/the-moore-tr…

It was a chilly 9 below zero morning, but the full moon and clear skies made for an amazing sunrise. And now the trail is broke, so check it out for yourself.

A nice but chilly snowshoe trek to the Cathedral Rock fire tower. There was well over a foot of snow so it was tough breaking trail.The storm broke for a little bit and showed some great blue skies and great views of Cat Mountain over 4 miles away.

A nice day trip into the Hitchen's park area, above Horseshoe Lake in Piercefield . We had 3-4" of fresh snow and temps in the mid 20's.Ice was forming in the smaller bodies of water but Hitchen's pond was and the Bog River were still open. This is a great 7.5 miles of the Adirondack's best views. The views from the overlook are some of the finest in this part of the park.

A veterans day hike into Hitchen's park with 2-3 inches of fresh snow showed plenty of tracks along the way. Otter,mink, mice, squirrels, deer and quite a few different birds had left their prints in the trail. It's always interesting to come across these.

This hike was along the long abandoned Grasse River RR bed. This section starts from below the Massawepie area and goes through to RT3 near the Grasse river rest area. It's a little over 8 miles. Although the trail is wide and obvious, there are many branches, so you'll want to be proficient with map and compass (or GPS). There is a movement to open this from Conifer to Cranberry lake.

This is a great trek either by land or water. I kayaked in from Low's lower dam to the upper dam (3 miles). This alone is an amazing experience. From there i took the trail up to the ruins of Hitchen's park and then the trail to the overlook (+/- a mile). The views of the Bog river plains and the high peaks are breathtaking. You can also walk in from the Horseshoe lake road.

What a lovely time we had exploring the several waterfalls along Tooley Pond Road. If you haven't been yet, it's a must go! As a group, we visited Banford Falls, Twin Falls, and Rainbow Falls. Along the three trails we learned about the location's history as an iron mining site and scavenged for wild edible plants.  

An early July trip to Wanakena for a walk on the Dead Creek Flow trail yielded some great encounters! This very mellow trail, with mostly imperceptible elevation change, cuts through deciduous woods and grasses past swamps and beaver ponds. Conifers mix in to some stretches of trail. Accordingly, there was a nice diversity of flora and fauna, including deer, birds, and more dragonflies than I have ever seen in one place.

This trek was on some of the old Grasse River Rail Road bed, south of Massawepie Lake. This crosses the Massawepie mire, an amazing tamarack wetland. At over 3000 acres, this is said to be the largest non coastal wetlands in NY. There is an organization that is trying to open up this entire stretch from Cranberry Lake to Conifer, you can check out what they are doing at http://grasseriverrrtrail.org/ .

Found some beautiful white water lilies on Tooley Pond, bobbing on the wind-rippled water.

Just some of the flora & fauna we came across on a recent trek to Cat mountain, near Cranberry lake. A great long hike, but well worth it.

Just a quick hike up Cranberry Lake's Bear Mountain. Temps were in the 30's, and not another soul around. I always enjoy the first snow hike of the season.

Thought that was awfully big for a beaver:)

We did a "tour" of the waterfalls for my 21st birthday yesterday. Some of the falls had no trails so there was some bushwhacking but it was still really fun! The views were great.

I spent this Sunday afternoon visiting the cascades along Tooley Pond Road before hiking the Tooley Pond Mountain loop. The afternoon was gray, but the brightly colored leaves along the banks of the Grasse River more than made up for it. No surprise that this is a popular place for "leaf peepers"! Seems to be a popular place for wildlife too - a black bear rambled across the road in front of me and another visitor mentioned seeing one in the area the day before.

Very nice paddle around the river. First trip out we did 7.5 miles. Nice scenery with lost of birding opportunities. Plante of waterfowl can be seen including mergansers, ducks and loons. Very enjoyable place to kayak and spend the day.

My first time seeing Pitcher-plants.

I nice day to be on the trails. First up to the fire tower- 2.25 miles round trip.... then the Peavine swamp lean-to, 2.8 round trip. The last pitch up to the tower is sketchy today. I didn't bring crampons (i could have used em). I hate ice!

Driving down the Tooley Pond Rd

A great sunny January day was perfect to hit the big pine trail in Wanakena on snowshoes. The 140'+ pine is pretty impressive, as are several other trees on this trek. Also found a pitcher plant sticking out of the snow at a near by bog. Read more about it here- https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/big-pine-tra…

Students in my Vertebrate Natural History class and I took a trip to Massawepie Mire to check out the world of the bog. This is a truly impressive place to visit - it is part of a conservation easement owned by the DEC and is open from September until June. During a few months of the summer, the area is in use by the Boy Scouts. Great place to visit and see pitcher plants and other bog plants.

It was perfect weather for camping! Sunny and warm we had a great time on the beach and swimming in the water. The sunset was gorgeous and we could not have asked for a better weekend.

Fall at Wanakena, New York

A short hike past the Big Pine in Wanakena led to a floating bog on the left side of the trail. Logs laid out across the peat allowed us to walk out and view pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpureas). Great little spot - I'd love to explore more of the peat bog habitats in this area of the Adirondacks.

This old growth white pine in Wanakena may be the largest tree in St. Lawrence County. Estimated to be 300+ years old, it somehow avoided the loggers' saws when this area was heavily logged in the early 1900s. These photos are my attempt at taking a vertical panorama; photos really can't do this mighty tree justice. Check out more info on how to get there at: http://www.cliftonfineadk.com/#!bigpine/csmy

On a two-day backpacking trip around the High Falls Loop, starting from Wanakena and passing by Cranberry Lake, I came across this beautifully constructed beaver dam. I had crossed several beaver dams over the course of the day but this one stood out right at the edge of the swampy trail. I had to stop to marvel at the work of nature's architects for a few minutes before the sun began to drop below the trees. What an amazing sight to see!

My dog Lida and I skied into High Rock in the Five Ponds Wilderness this morning. There was just enough snow to make it enjoyable, and the temps were low enough this morning, but by the time we returned between noon and 1 pm it had warmed up enough the snow was beginning to stick to the skis. Can anyone identify what manner of creature left the prints in the snow?

I had to ski into an easement to do some work today and I ran into this guy. He was chomping on a tasty white pine and was very content. We chatted for a while, as you know porcupines are not the most talkative creatures, but he was very thoughtful and thought it would be ok if I took his photo.

Mountain biked up to the Burntbridge Pond leanto Saturday. Bushwacked through swamp east of the pond into the Conifer Easement (the Forest Preserve boundary is remarkably well signed in this very remote swamp). Saw some beautiful pitcher plants, heard a barred owl around 2 am. Have encountered loons, bear and bald eagles here in the past.

A small mountain with big views

I found this gal working on a nest next to the parking area at Tooley Pond. About an hour later I helped another, bigger snapper across the road near the turn from Route 3 to Mt. Arab. I guess it is nesting time for snapping turtles! Please watch out on the road.

What a great day for some snowshoeing! It was a little chilly but with the sun and 3' of snow to break trail through, we were sweating in no time. Tooley Pond mtn was a great little hike in SLC and several waterfalls along the road made the trip even better. I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking to try snowshoeing up a mountain for the first time or anyone looking for a quiet, peaceful getaway.

This fungus, possibly a False Tinder Conk, was found in Stone Valley park on an overturned tree by the river. It is known to cause a white trunk rot above and below its conk, or the visible "mushroom". The spores are airborne, so they travel until they find a proper host tree stump or scar (generally Aspen). I thought the shape of this fungus was unique, it wasn't a disk shape like others I had seen in my hometown. The size of this fungus was also impressive, as most fungi I've seen of this size were in the spring or summer time.

Mid Winter thawing creates an inter-racial cascade of flowing springs, and marvelous ice formations.

Beautiful start to the fall foliage

The ebony jewelwing is a damselfly commonly seen in in the vegetation by streams. The males are notable for their totally black wings and bright blue-green iridescent bodies. The female is black, but maintains the black wings and has a small white spot on the very tip of them.

Beautiful spring day. A pair of loons taking off from the pond.

Dead Creek Trail – Wanakena
The Dead Creek Trail is one of my “go-to” trails that I visit every once in a while. I prefer it in the winter. It’s easy to think you’re in Alaska or the wild north of Canada. Of course, you’re not. You are actually a couple of miles from Wanakena on the old railroad grade from the logging days the ended well over a century ago.