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

The Clarksboro Trail- Claire NY
I have been trying to get to the Clarksboro Trail since early summer. I had someone ask about the trail, and I’d never heard of it. After a little research, I found that it is a fairly new trail on the 51,950-acre Grasse River Easement Tract. The trailhead is on the north side of the Tooley Pond Road, 2.6-miles from Rt 27 in DeGrasse. The trailhead is marked and starts at gate #1 on an old logging road.

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…

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.

Ther is a half-mile trail from the gate to the pond. I did a bushwhack around the pond and ended up with a two-mile round trip hike. It is easy up until the bushwhacking, then it gets tough. Just before the pond is a maple tree that had been struck by lightning and burned out from the inside, but left the outer wood living. It was plenty big enough for me to fit inside with my pack.

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.

At the end of my herping for the day, I flipped one more stump to find not one, but two spotted salamanders! They were my second and third of the day, and overall my favorite amphibian (I mean look at those chubby heads and costal grooves!). This was a great way to end my day outside enjoying nature and its wonders.

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

While flipping logs and stumps, I flipped a stump to find two red-backed salamanders about 5 cm apart.

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.

My family tried to beat the heat on a hot August Sunday with a trip down the Tooley Pond Road to check out the waterfalls. We didn’t make it past Twin Falls because it was such a beautiful and interesting spot, and it was nice and cool in the waterfalls’ floor bottom. Evidence of the area’s past abounds, and the main falls are quite impressive.

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.

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

On my way back from a hike at Carry Falls reservoir, the sun setting against the overcast skies were too good to pass up.

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.

My first time seeing Pitcher-plants.

Located off of the Dean road- 8 miles in from CR27. It took some doing to get here- the sign is misleading, and we hiked three miles in the wrong place. Still it was worth it when we finally got there. Stone dam was used by loggers to hold back the water and logs, and then open the gates to send the logs downstream to the mills at Lampson Falls. If you are interested, I have the whole story here: https://hikingthetrailtoyesterday.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/stone-dam/

Perfect day for a hike to Basford falls. High water always makes it a bit more impressive. Basford falls is located 1.4 miles from the DeGrasse end of the Tooley pond road. It’s a pretty easy .7 (round trip) trail to the falls. Once you start down the hill to the falls, you’ll go through some awesome white pine trees. Well worth the trip, even if you are not going to visit the other falls on the road.

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!

You can see some of the falls right next to the road. The falls are 3.1 miles from the Degrasse end of the Tooley pond road. This is the sight of the former community of Clarksboro, and the location of a iron blast furnace. To get to the main falls, you'll need to get across the small channel, with the ice & high water we didn't try.There are some great views down stream though. For more info on these falls, this link will give you all you need to know to get you started....................................

Basford falls is located 1.4 miles from the DeGrasse end of the Tooley pond road. It's a pretty easy .7 (round trip) trail to the falls. Once you start down the hill to the falls, you'll go through some awesome white pine trees. Well worth the trip, an even better if you are going to visit the other falls on the road. For more info on these falls visit this link- they have everything you need to get you there. ............. http://www.nnywaterfalls.com/index.htm

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…

I took a Sunday drive along Tooley Pond Road and came across these unique tracks leading to the water at Basford Falls. I wasn't sure what they were at first but then noticed the paw prints and tail marks and assumed they must be river otter tracks. I followed the slide from the bottom of the falls to the top of the falls where the otter must have exited and re-entered the water. It was pretty neat to see such distinguishable tracks in the winter!

Tooley Pond Road has become one of my favorite hidden treasures of the North Country. Here are some of the many cool encounters I've had today while exploring the waterfalls.

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.

The Oswegatchie River is as wild as any in the Adirondacks. In the Winter, her looks are often deceiving, almost in an attempt to lure you in.

A female Goldenrod Crab Spider waits patiently amongst the Daisies, for her next meal.

Fall at Wanakena, New York

In most cultures, a Dragonfly is seen as a symbol of change. It spends most of it's life in adolescence, only briefly experiencing life to the fullest before it passes on, Nothing is forever. Never take anything for granted. It can all be gone and over before you realize it. Spread your wings and fly.

Walking into Lampson Falls saw lots of various Mushrooms. This one looked so fragile.

Walking into Lampson Falls and saw this beautiful leaf on the ground...first color seen down. Beautiful but sad to see summer ending at the same time.

Multicolored sunset looking towards Blue Mountain in the Hamlet of Oswegatchie, in the Foothills of the Adirondacks.

Northern NY is famous for it's spectacular sunsets. This flaming August sunset certainly lived up to, and surpassed expectations.

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.

Early morning sun light over the Oswegatchie River in early July.

Macro view of Dandelion spores.

The warm April Sun,rejuvenates and with it, brings life back to the frozen harsh Winter landscape. Photo: Freshly opening buds on a Lilac bush graciously welcome the warming sun.

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.

I skied into the Stone Dam Parcel from the Dean Road in Clare today. It was cold but sunny and no wind, so pretty much a perfect day. It is about a 6 mile round trip. I parked about 1/2 mile from the Stone Dam Trail as the road isn't plowed and parts of it are a snowmobile trail. The ski is very nice, it goes through the Grass River Easement, and while there has been some timber management, several mature trees remain and give the area an open forest feeling.

Although difficult to work in, sub zero mornings in the dead of Winter in Northern NY, can lead to breath taking landscapes. This is the Icy Little River in the Hamlet of Oswegatchie in the foothills of the Adirondacks,

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.

This Picture was taken in the Adirondacks near Degrasse, NY. This nice looking bear looks like he was posing for the camera. These animals are always on the move so I was excited to see he stood long enough to get a decent picture of him.

Mushrooms of all shapes, sizes and variety are bountiful and beautiful in the Autumn in the Adirondacks.

A road less traveled, holds more beauty.

A small mountain with big views

Just a beautiful autumn scene

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.

This photo was taken during my lab; for this lab we hiked along the Red Sand Stone trail until we reached the Grasse River. The Grasse river is 73 miles long and it is named after Francois Joseph Paul de Grasse, a French admiral who assisted American forces during the Battle of Yorktown in the Revolutionary War. The river was made up by a series of small lakes and ponds in the towns of Russel, Clifton and Clare. The Grasse river is part of what is known as the Greater St. Lawrence River Drainage Basin.

Movement Photo: This picture was taken on February 26th, 2014 on a field trip in Lampsons Falls. This waterfall is the most popular in the St. Lawrence County because of how big it is. On my field trip we walked right along side to the waterfall, which was a very cool experience. Lampsons Falls is about 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. Grass River Wild Forest is a trail that leads you to this wonderful waterfall. The thing I found most interesting about this photo is the large amount of water rushing over the Falls. This photo really captures the movement of this beautiful waterfall.

Type: Animal Track
Habitat Description: Forest / River
Natural History: Lampson Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in St. Lawrence county. The falls are an impressive 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. At the bottom of the falls a small beach has formed. The photo of the animal tracks were taken down the trail towards the falls after a fresh snow.
Interest: I was drawn to this image because the clarity of the tracks in the light versus other animals tracks spotted on the walk down to the falls.

(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.

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

Serene wilderness in a hiker's paradise

Beautiful start to the fall foliage


It is a magical sight when we see a large tree such as this one latching on firmly for its life onto a seemingly deserted, hopeless rock. Sometimes these committed survivors can even be seen on rocky islands in the middle of a river where there seems to be no access to nutrients. Moss and lichen have a separate root mechanism that allow for them to latch onto rocks and obtain nutrients directly from the rocks. While trees do not have the same mechanism, small amounts of soil could be sufficient for the plant to germinate.

Plant death and decay are integral parts of our ecological cycle. Many complex and unexpected factors can lead to the death of a plant, such as disease, insects, animals (including humans), natural disasters, and natural conditions (such as drought). As the water flow through the plant slows, the leaves will shrivel and lose the capacity to capture adequate sunlight. Meanwhile, the gas exchanges through the stomata will slow down, decreasing the plant’s capability to undergo photosynthesis. This results in dehydration, which begins the process of land-plant decomposition.

It was windy, below freezing, and overcast. There was a foot of snow on the ground and this fern was located about 40 yards from a waterfall called Twin Falls.

I took this photo about 30 yards from a waterfall (twin falls) in the woods off of Tooley Pond Road. It was below freezing and overcast, there was about a foot of snowpack. The woods where we were seemed pretty humid, there were icicles everywhere and low growth was plentiful.

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.

Exploring the fall woods, I stumbled upon a treasure... chaga (Inonotus obliquus) on yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) !