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!

Encounters

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

Mt Arab is always a favorite in winter, but I decided to do a summer hike for the sunrise. As you can see, it didn't disappoint. The low fog really made it great.

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.

This butterfly was scoping out lots of things in the area and not really caring the the others were doing them he landed as if to show off his beautiful wings for me!

Out and about and saw a whole pond covered with these happy Water Lilies!

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

Lots of butterflies at Jamestown Falls! This one was very interested in the clover.

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

I always feel like I am stepping into another world when I get to my camp!

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.

Cold but bright days still make for great social distancing adventures. Earlier this week I did some hiking around Horseshoe Pond in Gale (Piercefield) NY.

This pond and several others have a nice network of trails and waterways open for public use at certain times thanks to a conservation easement between the Boy Scouts of America and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The Massawepie Easement is closed for public recreation from June 15th to August 31st each year.

This trek was along the Rail Road grade from Horseshoe south, to "the big rock". The views of the former Low's holding a great along here, especially the overlook above Hitchen's Pond. I parked at the end of the plowed road (RT 421) and snowshoed in from there. I did a short bushwhack just north of the Horseshoe Lake outlet and then followed the tracks south. Round-trip was 6 miles total.

Sunday was a dark and dreary day, but not cold or stormy- so we visited Mt Arab in Piercefield. The trail is hard-packed and microspikes are perfect right now. The visibility was only about 100 feet, so the normally great views were absent. The now-retired fire tower usually offers even greater views, but not today.

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 October sunset as viewed from the watchtower at Mt. Arab summit. It is a fairly easy and family-friendly hike that clocks in at just under 2 miles round trip. The views on a clear day are spectacular, and the watchtower has maps to help identify the foothills as well as Arab and Tupper Lake. The foliage peaks around mid-October as captured here!

The lake is now open for the rest of the season. This is a very nice paddle, I loosely followed the shoreline, and racked up about 6 miles. The western end has some great bays and channels to explore, one of which is the beginning of the south branch of the Grasse River. Pay attention to the public use dates if you decide to visit- 9/1 thru 7/15.

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.

Thought we'd stick close to car, so chose Jamestown Falls for Sunday venture. Always a pleasure to hear a warbler, great to actually get an identifiable picture!

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.

Nature Up North celebrated the new year with a snowshoe hike to the summit of Mount Arab in Piercefield. We had great weather for the trip, and were joined by 20 hikers of all ages from all across the North Country. Several people experienced their first winter hike in the Adirondacks while others had a chance to try snowshoes for the first time. The group enjoyed sharing snacks at the summit cabin, searching for wildlife tracks, and learning some common tree species. Thanks to all who joined us! 

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 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.

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.

The breathtaking autumnal view from Mt Arab's Fire Tower

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.

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.

As the fog cleared from the lower elevations, it left behind a layer of frost on the trees. I like to imagine it was snow. 

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:)

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.

Took a recreational field trip to Lake Massawepie with my Adirondack Literature class! We had fun paddling the lake, exploring Arcadia, the yurt village where the Adirondack Semester from St. Lawrence University is, and checking out the Massawepie Mire. We spent the whole day in the sunshine, learning about and experiencing first hand a piece of this beautiful region we've been reading about all semester

Mt Arab is always a fun hike. The trail was broken with modern style snowshoes, that made going with traditional wooden frame ones pretty brutal, just wasn't wide enough. Other than that- an awesome hike! For more on this trip, you can visit my blog page at https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/mt-arab-coni…

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!

Beautiful day to drive through the Adirondacks. Most of the leaves are down, but larches, our only deciduous conifer, were in full golden glory.

Just love seeing the colors of fall with red and orange being my personal favorite.

Came upon a large garter sunning on a rock at the summit. Upon further examination we discovered two more, presumed mother and baby. Kids and I watched them up close for quite awhile. Fun encounter!

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…

A year ago, I was living in the yurt village of the Adirondack Semester on Lake Massawepie, outside of Tupper Lake. There was two feet of snow on the ground, and we had to break the inches of ice that covered the lake in order to canoe across. Today, it is nice enough for me to sit outside and eat my soup wearing only a sweater; it is unseasonably warm for a North Country November.

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

Nothing like a nice sunrise hike in the Adirondacks!

Every time I do a sunrise hike, I'm reminded of why I need to do more sunrise hikes. Despite being only 2 miles round-trip, I think Mt. Arab has some of the best views to be had in the North Country. Looking down on cedar waxwings from the top of the summit fire tower was icing on the cake.

Watching the stars from the fire tower on top of Arab Mountain is a nice way to cool down after a hot summer day. I set my camera up on a rock at the summit to capture this view while I climbed to the top of the fire tower with my flashlight.

a few flowers were starting to peek out.

This is last of three pictures captured at Lampson Falls. It is of an animal sign that I believe to be the imprint in the snow of a cotton tail rabbit. I think it is a cotton tail and not a snowshoe hare because of the size and spread of the prints. The feet of a snowshoe hare would I think be larger than this, especially the hind-feet. This photo was taken off to the side of the trail away from 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.

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.

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.

I stopped while driving along Rte. 3 west of Tupper Lake to take this photo of Mount Mutumbla, the highest point in St. Lawrence County at 2,688 ft. I'd love to explore its long ridgeline, but Mutumbla and the surrounding forests are privately owned by timber companies and leased to hunting clubs.

These images are from almost exactly a year ago at Mount Arab... Looks a little different this year, huh? When will the snow arrive?

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

paddled Dead Creek Primitive Area last weekend. There were 2 bald eagles, 2 Great Blue Herons, a muskrat and multiple tracks from otter, beaver, deer, mink and some I could not identify. I highly reccomend this paddle. In 5 hours I did not see 1 person.

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.

A beautiful summer day on Massawepie before going for a paddle.

(landscape) Lampson Falls – This landscape at Lampson falls in Clare, NY gives a sense of the river and the forested background. This picture does a nice job of allowing you to see what Lampson falls is all about, with the river, but also gives you an idea of what the rest of the area is like with a glimpse of the elevation change in the background. Lampson falls is one of the more popular falls in the area, and there are a few different options of trails to take while there. The falls are about 100 feet in width and 40 feet high.

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.

Went on a beautiful snowy hike up Mount Arab which is a fairly simple hike. Simple hike with a rewarding view.

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

I could hardly dream of better late September weather than we had over the weekend. Nature Up North lead a hike up Mount Arab Sunday, enjoying the sun, perfect temperatures, and of course the fall color display. We caught a garter snake enjoying the sunshine on the hike down as well.

I encountered these grasshoppers a number of times and at several different locations (all in the Adirondack park) between August and October 2013. They caught my attention because they were entirely wingless (apterous); although I knew that wingless grasshoppers existed, I had never seen one before, and did not know that there were any wingless grasshoppers in the northeastern U.S.

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!

Sunset driving home from camp.