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

My dog and I pulled into camp and these three turkeys were visiting. They didn’t stay to chat though!!

I love these little tiny mushrooms.

Stop at my camp and all the little vegetation had water droplets glistening on them. It felt fresh.

A little visitor at my camp. I never saw a all white one before.

The beauty of nature’s colors! Such a vibrant red/orange!

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 days of social distancing have given me the opportunity to seek more local and out of the way trails & destinations. Leonard Pond (S. Colton) has been on my “to hike” list for a while. Looking over maps of the area, I noticed a small access road that starts on the west side of RT 56, across from the Jamestown Falls water access site.

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.

While I was out herping on this beautiful Saturday, I flipped a log to find this wonderful creature amongst the leaf litter!

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.

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.

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!

The trailhead for copper rock falls, is 8.9 miles from the DeGrasse end of the Tooley pond road, and is the only one on the left side of the road. It's just a short hike back to the river, and the trail is well marked. It's a lazy series of falls, and was running quite high when we were there, due to heavy rains this past week, and probably some ice jams downstream from use. The name comes from the copper colored spots on the rocks here, most likely from rusted iron ore content.

Rainbow falls trailhead is located 6.1 miles from the Degrasse end of the Tooley pond road. The trailhead is unmarked, it's a line of boulders on the right blocking off a small landing. When you pass the canoe carry signs on your right- you are fairly close. The trail is .71 miles round trip, and moderately easy for most. When you get to the river, there is a small footbridge across a side channel. Follow the herd trail (and your ears) a little further and you will find the falls. We did this in winter, so be cautious of the ice, a fall here could be ugly!

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

Was walking in the woods to take various pictures and this little guy startled me!

Berries are getting close to being ready!

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

Rainbow Falls, on the South Branch of the Grasse River, lived up to its name during a visit there last month.

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!

a few flowers were starting to peek out.

Macro view of Dandelion spores.

This is the last of three images of the Raquette River that runs alongside the Stone Valley trail. This image also depicts movement with the running water in the image. It contains a miniature waterfall formed by the slope of the landscape. Natural History: Like much of the North Country the landscape of Stone Valley Park was formed by the movement of large land glaciers and ice sheets many thousands of years ago. Their movement has shaped the land and are responsible for the presence of large rocks and boulders in the area.

This picture is the first of three pictures taken at Lampson Falls. This is landscape photograph that captures a small waterfall in the Grasse River. Natural History: The Grasse River is a tributary of the St. Lawrence and had formerly served as a power source for nearby towns. The Grasse River used to be littered with mills, but nearly no remnants of theses mills. However, the stone foundations of the mills as well as other aged sturctures can be found along its banks. Lampson Falls is located along the Grasse River, and contains many cuts and gouges in the rockface of the falls.

This picture was taken at Lampson Falls and is the second of three photos taken there. This photo is of a porcupine our class saw there while looking for animal tracks. When we found this porcupine he was making his way up this tree and continued to do so after stumbled upon him. He didn’t seem to be eating the bark of this tree, which is what I believe to be a hemlock, but was simply climbing the tree. As I stated, this photo was taken at Lampson Falls which is located on the Grasse River. Natural History: The Grasse River is a tributary of the St.

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

Perfect for a short little walk and with a little bushwhacking it offers a great view of the falls. Great finds of the day: a very large and intimidating spider, a snake skin, and a geocache box!

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.

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.

My family was walking through a bog near Sevey's Corners, and we found a Northern Damselfly.

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

White tailed deer in a group of four foraging in the road verge. Enjoying a spring day.

While at our camp I looked out our window and someone was peeking back in at me!

It was a snowy evening at camp and my daughter had a handful of corn and a chickadee landed right in her hand to see what she was holding!

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.