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

Walking through the woods and came across the site sign of Spring...pussywillows!

It’s that time of year when it sounds like machine guns going off at my sisters camp. She has a metal roof and when these fall it sounds like Gun shots going off.

While walking in the woods this little chipmunk ran up the tree . It’s hard to see him because when you look up you notice all the leaves starting to pop open with the beautiful sunshine!

Walking through the woods and there was a beautiful little patch of these the sun was shining down on.

Took another hike at Lampson Falls to enjoy fall colors. The chewed beech was new since being there 2 days earlier. The porcupine on the walk out was a bonus - ran into 2 of my advisees right when we saw it. Amazing given my Twitter name is @porcupinedoc. Without diligent Tulip the Labrador there to notice I don’t think any of us would have noticed it. 

Beautiful fall day along the Lampson loop!

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.

While enjoying a peaceful gorgeous day at Lampsons Falls I saw this little guy sitting beside me in a shallow pool of water. It was like he was my side kick taking in all the beauty around us and the sounds of the falls. He sat there as long as I did. He was still there when I left a few hours later.

Saw these two beautiful butterflies hanging out in Lampson Falls! Not sure what kind they are though. 

Second post of flowers from my lovely hike at Harper's falls this morning.

Enjoyed a nice walk to Harper's Falls this morning.  Lots of wildflowers!  Too many for one encounter, so I'm posting a second one as well!

Although this old farmhouse has long been uninhabited by people, it has been home to several litters of red fox over the past few years.

This is a great short hike that is usually pretty secluded. With a dozen cars at Lampson falls that day, this was perfect.

Perfect timing for Hepatica! Thousands of flowers in white, pink and blue.

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 Christmas trek along Plum Brook in Russell (Whippoorwill State Forest). Combined with the Lariat trail, it makes a nice 2.8 loop.

A nice relaxing hike to Lampson Falls is a great way to get away from college stress.

A late evening paddle on the Oswegatchie river in South Edwards. This is always a favorite short paddle of around 3 miles. The trip ended with a pretty great sunset.

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.

Amelia loves to catch frogs and this one was a prize! From nose to toes it was about 2 feet. We studied it and took lots of pictures of this big boy, the released it back into Boyd Pond.

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.  

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

Took a quick morning jaunt at Harper's falls to see what is blooming.  Nice hike, nice day.

White Trillium are quite spectacular this year! Usually by the time they start turning pink they are pretty beat.

While passing through the area on Sunday, I went for a lovely afternoon hike to Harper Falls with a couple of friends, including Emlyn from Nature Up North. As we made our way toward the falls, we admired an abundance of spring ephemerals, including trout lilies, ramps, red trilliums, and some others that I couldn't identify. It's hard to believe that I never knew about this beautiful trail in the four years I went to school at SLU!

This icy trip to Lampson Falls turned into a memorable first snowshoeing experience for these two young women in the international student program at St. Lawrence - one from Sweden and the other from Finland. Both did an incredible job staying on their feet. Snowshoes or crampons highly recommended to anyone looking to visit the falls, the recent thaw/freeze cycle has made for slippery conditions!

We had a wonderful afternoon hike at Lampson Falls today with our spring crew of Nature Up North interns and research students. The weather was overcast and misty, but temps were in the high 20's and the falls were beautiful. It looks like quite a few people have made it out since last week's snowfall, but snowshoes and crampons helped with wet and slippery conditions, especially around the falls. For a few students, it was their first experience on snowshoes!

Driving into the Buckhorn Club after a snowy night. It was picture perfect!

Had a great time exploring the Downerville State Forest trails with a friend (and a few pups) this past weekend. The weather continues to be unseasonably warm, but we weren't complaining and the dogs enjoyed splashing around in Harper's Falls. The beech leaves are still hanging on, but most of the others have fallen by now and the open forest was a beautiful sight.

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.

We went here to see the fall foliage. The leaves were beautiful and really added to the views on the lake. There were a lot of frogs and quite a few snakes. Most of the snakes were less than a foot (including a green snake!) but they were all too fast to take pictures of. At one point you literally have to climb over a beaver dam so be careful. Very nice day hike.

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.

We were greeted by a shower of bright reds and golds at Lampson Falls today on a Nature Up North hike with St. Lawrence families for Family Weekend. The group also spotted a few downy woodpeckers above the falls. Despite overcast weather, it was a beautiful afternoon!

The launch point for this lake is about 12 miles from the nearest paved road. This means that for the most part the lake is undisturbed. This is a great place to paddle along in a kayak when you have no where to be and plenty of time to get there. The water was very calm and quite clear. You can see the bottom in most places. One thing we did notice was the lack of large fish and waterfowl. After exploring around more we discovered that there was not a lot of aquatic vegetation so this is likely the reason. After a quick lunch we went to the stone dam farther up the road.

My first time seeing Pitcher-plants.

First swim out at Lampson Falls this weekend. Temps were in the high 80's, and the rocks were cooking - glad we brought towels to sit on! Highly recommend taking a walk down the trail past the falls.

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.

Harper's Falls is on the Downerville road, about a half mile off of C.R.27. This is the North branch of the Grasse river. The hike is 6/10th of a mile from the yellow gate at the parking spot on the left. It's a nice hike through the scrubby hardwoods common to the area. Where the trail meets the river,there were not a lot of views, as the falls is pretty well frozen over. Walking upstream a hundred yards gives you much better views. You can see the stone walls from the sawmills flume still. Very nice hike on a February day.

Most people have been to Lampson falls, and if not you should go. Easily the most popular and one of the easily accessed waterfalls in the region, and it's on the main branch of the Grasse river.. It's an easy 6/10th mile (each way) trip, and there is wheelchair access to a very nice overlook of the falls. The last part of that section is cribbed in and filled with stone for a easy grade. You can also go to the bottom of the falls, and up onto a stone outcropped facing the falls head-on. I don't know how many times i have been here, but it never get's old.

. Mother nature is quite an artist with only water & temperature as the medium.

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!

This is the part of town referred to as the "island" in Edwards. It was the first part to be settled around 1812, and was on the Russell turnpike .The Russell turnpike was built for use by the military to move troops and supplies between Sackets Harbor and Plattsburgh. The Oswegatchie river splits and made the small island, with a gristmill on the side branch, and a sawmill on the main flow, both powered by water. The gristmill was last used as a private residence until sometime in the early 80s, when it burned.

Driving down the Tooley Pond Rd

On a mission to collect drone footage of Lampson and fall colors from above, but we took a few from the ground as well.

The foliage was at its peak for this flight! Jake Malcomb and I headed out to shoot the falls and here are some of the best stills we came away with!

Edwards-Knox Central School Trail Camera (On Loan From Nature Up North)

Edwards-Knox Central School Trail Camera (On Loan From Nature Up North)

One of my fondest memories as a kid was competing in frog jumping contests. My brother and I would spend hours catching frogs and training them to jump by gently squirting or poking them. We would secretly strategize our frogs of choice, based on size and athleticism, each convinced we knew the formula for a winning frog. I always chose the smallest ones; so much more agile. This past weekend, a few friends and I spent the day at Harper Falls which was hopping with small frogs.

After a swim at Lampson Falls my sister-in-law went to put on her sandals, when to her surprise a young Northern ringneck snake was sunning itself on top of it. It quickly slithered off and hid in some leaf litter at the base of a rock. Northern ringnecks are not poisonous, and their diets consist of earthworms, insects, salamanders, and frogs.

While out collecting minerals off of Selleck Road in West Pierrepont, I spotted my first Milk Snake! As a young boy, I grew up chasing snakes all over my home state of Maine- but I never once saw a Milk Snake! The non-venomous Eastern Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum) was sitting peacefully on a log as a strolled past. He did not flee or strike, but merely watched me as I watched him! I'm so happy that I was able to spot this species in the wild!

It was breathtaking, God's work for sure!

This frog has had better days...

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.

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!

With temperatures fluctuating above and below freezing through the past month of December, Lampson Falls hasn't seen a lot of ice so far this winter! The temperature finally dipped below zero yesterday in Russell and I decided to stop at the falls to check out what they looked like. Here are some of the ice formations starting to grow around Lampson.

It was a beautiful day at Lampson Falls to go for a swim with friends. There was blue skies and was about 85F

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.

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

Enjoying the beautiful walk into Lampson and Nature!

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.

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

Everyone seemed to be out enjoying the warm summer sun this afternoon, including some unique wildlife. The Nature Up North team ventured out on a scavenger hunt for wildlife with the Massena Boys and Girls Club this afternoon, which yielded some interesting discoveries, such as flowering jewelweed, vibrant damselflies and an unidentified caterpillar.

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

Walked into Lampson Falls and their were about 40 Lady Slippers along the trail.

I was happy to see these hepatica flowers sprouting from the forest floor near the Downerville State Forest trailhead. There was significant variation in color within a single patch. A true sign of spring!

As I stated in another post, we trekked around Lampson Falls one day and I stopped to take this picture of the frozen falls in the winter. I think it gives a neat perspective, from a diagonal view. The Lampson Falls trail provides a nice, relatively easy nature walk along in a soft-wooded habitat. Once arriving at the falls, one can swim, canoe, fish, and even white-water kayak. Located in the Grass River Forest, in the St. Lawrence Country, in a town called Clare, Lampson is a .6 mile walk until arrival at the falls.

Type: Animal Sign
Habitat Description: Forested Waterfalls/River

Natural History Info: While not conclusively a trail of porcupine tracks, the depressions in the snow surrounding the footprints would suggest some low-rising mammal. Given that we saw porcupines in the surrounding area, it would make sense for these tracks to belong to a porcupine.

What drew my attention: We were trying to track a porcupine, so this was a really neat find.

Lampson Falls in an officially named waterfall on the USGS GNIS data base. The falls about about 40 ft high and 100 ft wide. The area is a genuine, natural beauty. I chose this photo because it's a great example of a porcupine track. Porcupines often use the same trail to move in the same direction, so the tracks look like tunnels. Because they travel on the same path it is common to see urine and pieces of hemlock branches (the porcupine's favorite food!) scattered along the trail.

While snowshoeing near one of the most popular waterfalls in St. Lawrence County, I took a close up shot of this cottontail rabbit hopping through the snow. I thought that this rabbit left a pretty noticeable imprint. But I remember that the track were spread out far apart and it seemed a little rushed, so it could have been avoiding a predator. Most likely it was a coyote because I do recall seeing coyote tracks that day as well. Hope this little bunny got away safely!

Type: Animal sign. Habitat description: mixed hardwood forest. Natural history information: Snowshoe Hares have a very large surface are on their hind feet, which allows them to stay on top of the snow without sinking in. As a camouflage adaptation, their fur turns white in the winter and a brownish color during the summer. As they move, they plant their smaller front feet and bring their large pack feet in front of them in order to propel their movement. I like this photo because they are very distinctive snowshoe hare tracks based on the size ratio of the front and back feet.

During our adventure in Lampson Falls for our lab on February 18th, we saw many animal tracks. Deep within the softwood forest, I saw white-tailed deer tracks scattered around. This pair of animal tracks stuck out to me in particular because it was crisp and seemed to be relatively fresh tracks in the snow. I wondered if the deer had just passed through before us five minutes earlier. White-tailed deer are a medium-sized deer located in the United States, Canada, and in Central and South America.

Type: Landscape
Habitat Description: Snowy Woodland

Natural History Info: This thawed, flowing body of water is still moving despite the rest of its surroundings being completely frozen. This is possible because a larger body of water will take more time and require colder temperatures to freeze completely. This contrasts to the surrounding snow that fell from the atmosphere above, as the water/snow particles are quite small as they fall and thus can more easily freeze.

This was a fun trip to Lampson Falls. As part of our nature walk we spent a good amount of time looking for porcupines and their dens. We spotted a lone porcupine up about 35 feet in a hemlock tree, their favorite snack. Hemlock branches were scattered everywhere along the ground as well, good sign that porcupines were in the area. As I was looking for more I came across what appears to be an old den. There was nothing inside, but it was full of droppings from its previous occupant. A really nice shot of a winter hideout!

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.

It was a brisk but beautiful morning to explore Lampson Falls in early winter. The falls had not frozen over fully yet and to my surprise, the conditions were just right to form "pancake ice," which are small patches of floating ice that look a lot like round pancakes!

I was amazed when I view my card to find this magnificent creature. This picture was taken in the Adirondacks in the town of Degrasse, NY

I was shocked to fine this beautiful racked buck. This is a rare find in the Adirondacks. This picture was taken in the town of Degrasse, NY

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.

Just a beautiful autumn scene

Harper's Falls Trail was a terrific hike for children with a waterfall that was easy to get to. A wonderful day hike for any skill level.

Very foggy summer morning with promise of a sunny and warm day.

I was walking down to the barn when I ran across this snake. We have lots of garter snakes that enjoy our wood pile, and they slither off pretty quickly if I stomp my foot--and they usually lie coiled in some form. This snake was lying straight out. I stomped my foot at it, and it was completely motionless, so I assume the dogs had killed it. I looked it up and down (it was pretty big), took this picture, and then went down to the barn. A few minutes later, Dan came out, and I told him to go look at the snake.

As I was biking around at Downerville State Forest I heard a loud rustling sound only to be met at eye level with this guy. Must've scared him a bit since he scurried all the way up the tree, about 50 ft. or so.

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.

Phoebes have nested just outside our front door ever since these beams went up. The first fledgling from the first brood of the season flew today. The first landing pad was my car, about 15 feet away, but nearby shrubs soon proved more attractive. Even with one of the five gone, it is a crowded nest, and my guess is that these siblings won't be far behind. (6/8/14 The other four have all left the nest.)

Porcupine season starts for me when I spot this distinctive profile against the sky. I've seen porcupines, at dawn and dusk, in various -always slender branched - trees - in this area, but never two in a tree.

This picture of a Spruce tree was taken while I was hiking towards the Lampson Falls area. The Spruce tree is from the genus Picea; when mature they can range from 66-195 feet. As you can see in this image the needles are connected individually to the branches in a spiral fashion. Each needle is on a peg like structure called a pulvinus. I like this image because after my lab with an arborist I learned a lot of interesting things about Spruce trees and I was happy that I could identify the pulvinus on my own.

This a picture of the water moving in Lampson Falls; I liked this picture because you can really see how flooded the river is right now; when I took the picture I was standing as close to the falls as possible. Lampson Falls is one of the most frequently visited falls in the North Country. These falls are an estimated 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. These falls can be described as shallow and broad faced; during the spring there is a high volume of water caused by melting snow.

The dogs found it first. When we caught up to them, we saw two distinct beds of fur strewn across the ground. There were no blood or bones we could see. It simply appeared an animal stood in one spot, was shaved, and left behind the extra fur. It was quite awesome.

I found this porcupine up on a tree branch as I was walking towards the Lampson Falls. I was a little scared as I was just under the tree trying to capture the best shot of this animal.

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.

A build up of ice and snow at Lampson Falls has created the potential for flooding, but also quality recreation. As temperatures begin to rise, the Grasse River does as well; bringing numerous kayaking and rafting fanatics to the area. These individuals will bring their business to the surrounding area making this now frozen falls a beneficial attraction. This ice buildup, therefore, is advantageous for the recreation that it will bring in the spring.

This is a plant picture, which I took at Lampson Falls on February 26th. This tree is a deciduous tree as it keeps its leaves during the winter season. The advantage of keeping its leaves is that it does not have to use energy to grow new ones after the winter season however the disadvantage is that the weight of the snow on top of it may break branches. This tree could also be used for shelter and cover for little animals, as they could hide under it to avoid the risk of predators.

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.

This photo depicts movement of water as it descends in a waterfall from higher to lower elevation. These falls are 40 ft tall and 100 ft wide. In this specific photo, taken in mid-February, much of the water was still frozen, but there was still large amounts of water flowing. These falls were most likely formed as a result of water flowing over different layers of rocks which have different erosion patterns. Over time the earth underneath the water gets steeper and steeper until, eventually, a falling out may occur (which causes the drop).

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.

This is a photo of I took on February 22nd, 2014 while hiking at Lampson Falls of the waterfall itself.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken at the top of Lampson Falls during the winter months. The Falls was frozen over, but there were some parts of the waterfall that were unfrozen. The waterfall was very rocky, and it flowed into a deep pool below that was frozen over.

This is a wintery image taken during a hike at Lampson Falls in St. Lawrence county. Porcupines, otters and other small animals are found in the area surrounding the falls, making it a rich environment. The falls are part of the Adirondak park, surrounded by forest, so much of the trees found in the area are of the coniferous and hardword variety. The falls drop is an impressive 100 feet that roars even throughout the coldest of winters. Beaches along the bottom of the falls has created lots of recreation possibilities for its visitors.

We walked the wooded trail that leads directly to the falls and then we followed the trail by the banks of the river in search of porcupines and hopefully even some otters. The half frozen falls were very cool. Even though much of the river was still frozen the waterfall still had a very strong flow.

This is a photo of I took on February 24th, 2014 while hiking at Lampson Falls of a Beech tree.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken while hiking on a trail near Lampson Falls. There was adequate snow coverage on the ground (aprox. 3 feet) and the temperature was around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. I found this tree just off the path of the trail and any other trees did not surround this beech tree.

This is a photo I took on February 24th, 2014 while hiking a trail near Lampson Falls of a dog print I found in the snow.

Habitat Description: This photo was taken on a hiking trail that followed the Grasse River. The weather was approximately 20 degrees Fahrenheit. There was substantial snow coverage and I estimated that the snow coverage of the trail was somewhere around 3 feet.

CLOSE UP 2: This was another picture of the perfect, wet, snowball snow at Lampson Falls. This was taken in the wooded area on the path to the actual falls. I liked how precariously this snowball was balancing on this tall stump. It reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy's work creating beautiful, impossible sculptures out of natural materials.

CLOSE UP: This picture was taken on our class trip to Lampson Falls. We went there to do some tracking, but there wasn't any fresh snow so it was a little bit difficult. There were a lot of signs of porcupines - though we didn't see one. We learned that the primary (land) predator of a porcupine is a fisher which goes for the part of the porcupine without quills (its face). Because there was no fresh snow and it had rained earlier in the week, this mini snowman was still in perfect form though it looks like the rain took away part of it.

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.

Deciduous Forrest/ River environment

River habitat

Deciduous Forrest
The forest area near Lampson Falls has been created over many years of of the bank area that has been shaped by the winding Grass river. The forests haven’t changed much in the area for hundreds of years. The landscape was most influenced by glacial recession from the last ice age. This photo is neat because I have never seen a wood pecker or its markings all my life, and I still want to see one. Seeing its handiwork and the effect it has on a tree is quite neat.

8-10 inches of fluffy powder transformed the landscape last weekend, creating true winter hiking conditions. Along the way to Harper Falls we encountered a porcupine in a small beech tree. It had stripped nearly all of the bark off the upper third of the tree. I'm always impressed by the resiliency of winter wildlife. The tree, on the other hand, will not be long for this world.

A hollow, fallen tree provides a den for a small porcupine.

Harper's Falls is on the North Branch of the Grasse River, and it may be my favorite spot in the North Country (though to be honest, my favorite spot changes all the time). The falls cascade through a narrow chute, and empty into a lovely stretch of the river, which you can walk parallel to on the River Trail. It was an ideal fall afternoon, with comfortable temps, blue skies, and some great foliage.

Fast with twists,
I quickly float over puss-covered ground.
The woods dormant silence
is broken.
Tires hard, temps low, screeching loudly across frigid snow.
Like a class room and squeaky chalk
I stop.

Breathing gets harder,
escaping the drops, trying to flee
to the forest. The leaves, splayed like a fan, begin beating
like a pulsating drum.
I flow, shattering puddles, letting tires role
like paralyzed symbols.
I stop.

A Path Down to the Grasse

The prodding sun
Seeps between the trees
Concurrently with the crunching of the leaves

This yellow caterpillar was found in our yard. It is identifiable by its pure yellow coloration and black face and tufts.

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 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.

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.

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.

Habitat Description: Freshwater river, eddy below waterfall (40 foot drop), shore of a hardwood forest.

This landscape is a photo of Lampson Falls. The falls are a popular trail and recreational spot as well as a important water source for the surrounding ecosystem. The Grasse River runs through the falls and into the St. Lawrence River. The falls are home to lots of bio-diversity and is a classic example of the forests of the North Country. These powerful falls have a vertical drop of approximately 100ft. The area is surrounded by glacial rocks and is lined by a small beach.

Habitat: Lowland, young mixed-wood forest.

These patterns in this softwood tree were almost definitely caused by a hungry porcupine, which we discovered nesting in its lair a few feet away. Rodents like porcupine and beaver love softwood trees like hemlock for their delicious wood below the bark. What is being nibbled at in this picture is the cambium layer of the tree, which is the area of new growth that is packed with nutrients, in order to make more vascular xylem and phloem every year. Porcupine have large incisors so they can effectively get at and remove the cambium.

Lampson Falls is located in St. Lawrence County near Clare NY. While many people believe that Lampson Falls is situated on the south branch of the Grasse River, in actuality the falls are located on the main section of the Grasse River, downstream from the south branch and upstream from the north branch. The Grasse River was named after Francois Joseph Pau de Grasse, who was a French admiral greatly admired for his role in the battle of Yorktown during the Revolutionary War.

This tree shows signs of porcupine activity, this can be seen by how the bark of the tree has been nawed at and eaten. Porcupines are nocturnal creatures and the North Country is the perfect habitat for them to reside, as there are many trees and vegetation that are conducive to their lifestyle. Porcupines are herbivores, as seen in the picture they eat plant matter and tree bark. The Porcupines here might have eaten a large part of the bark as they did not have anything else to eat durring the long winters in the North Country.

Habitat: Frozen River - Near lowland mixed-wood forest.

I took this picture of Lampson Falls during a hike with my class in early February. Lampson Falls is a shallow and broad-faced falls that is estimated to be roughly 40 feet tall and 100 feet wide. What really struck me was the complete beauty of the falls mixed with the incredible force that must have been behind the water flow due to snow melt. Most people only see Lampson in the summer when conditions are favorable for swimming, but I encourage everyone to take a look at it in the winter to get a different perspective!

This photo was taken on a class trip to Lampson Falls. I found this to be a very interesting ice formation because it seemed to flow from within the rock face, making it look like a frozen waterfall. This is a close-up of the water flow which in actuality was only about six inches across. You can see that the geologic rock formation is riddled with cracks which makes a flow like this easy to observe in the winter.

On a class hike to Lampson Falls I found this ice formation quite intriguing. As the ice melted and refroze it formed these icicles that became attached to the ground. This was on the river bank above some rocks which allowed me to capture the picture. The way the sun was hitting the icicles and the river in the background made for a unique photo.

river/ forest habitat

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