A quickly passing cloudburst left behind a perfect moment of rainbow and moon in the Adirondacks this evening. Click on the image for a larger version of the photograph.
“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
For some of us who live in the mountains the first day of summer is bittersweet. The arrival of the day of the year we in the Northern Hemisphere see and feel the most hours of sunshine means a few things. More hours of sunshine warm the clear Adirondack lakes and a short, but sweet, swim season begins. Now is the time for outdoor living, for bonfires and dining al fresco. Sometimes, it gets hot enough in Lake Placid to feel like real summer to a Jersey Girl like me, and we get to complain about the heat.
But summer goes quickly in the Adirondack mountains and we know the warm moments of sunshine will now slowly diminish until we reach the Winter Solstice on December 21st. So, outside we go, grabbing every warm ray of sunshine we can. Yes, the cold and dark of winter will come. But right now, it is sunny and warm. Seasons change in the mountains, and for this we should be grateful.
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
Just a few days before the summer solstice in Lake Placid and I’m already tired of it. I will mark the holiday with a bonfire and a smile, and dream of long ski days.
I am just kidding, but only a little bit. Who doesn’t enjoy the warm sun on their shoulders on a bike ride, especially in the Adirondacks? And certainly, swimming in a crisp mountain lake after one of these bike rides is downright delectable. But the bugs, oh the bugs. Persistent biting black flies make gardening a challenge and the deer flies are large enough to lift a toddler.
The no-see-ums however, are my nemesis; they ruin nighttime reading. What kind of horrible creature bothers people when they are trying to read? An Adirondack no-see-um.
Attracted to light, this little speck of a bug is so small it is barely visible (hence the name) and can fly through regular screening. One could install no-see-um netting, as fine and dense as its name implies, but you may just as well build a wall. I wouldn’t mind if they just liked to come in and fly around, but no, they have to be nasty and bite. These flying torture devices go by several aliases: punkies, midges, or my favorite, all-jaws. So you have something barely visible biting you so hard that it feels like this fiend’s entire being is one big, razor sharp, tooth-filled jaw, while trying to relax with a little reading.
Yes, I turned a nice Telemark Tuesday post into an anti-insect rant. I know they are important so spare me the bat food discussion and enjoy the photo. I just want to go skiing.
June 7 is National Trails Day – Celebrate with a Hike and 30% Off Gear at EMS!
Although considered one of the easiest hikes of the 46 Adirondack high peaks, a hike up Cascade Mountain is no walk in the park. At 4,098 feet, the bald summit of Cascade Mountain is a popular destination for intermediate hikers.
The 2.35 mile moderate climb includes a few steep pitches and number of muddy spots when the weather is damp, so rock hopping skills and good balance prove valuable. Hikers with less than half a day’s time are treated to magnificent views of the surrounding high peaks and the entire Champlain Valley.
Located minutes from the Village of Lake Placid, the trailhead for this peak is found just off of New York State Route 73, east of Lake Placid about 4.5 miles past the Adirondack Loj Road and 6.8 miles from Keene.
We Have Good Moose News and Bad Moose News
It is true, moose are making a comeback in the Adirondacks. You can read all about it here or click on the word “Moose” in the tag cloud in the right column here on Adirondack Lifestyle.
The good moose news leads us to the alert: moose have been spotted running around the Adirondacks lately and that includes running across roads. The results can be fatal when moose and cars meet on a road. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation notes:
Moose have been seen recently on the Fox Farm Road in Wilmington, crossing Route 73 near North Country School outside of Lake Placid, on River Road in Lake Placid, and someplace near Vermontville. Additional sightings are certain, so please be cautious.
The moose featured in this story is a young bull who got himself into trouble wandering around in Halfmoon, New York, last fall 2013. Halfmoon is a residential community close to Albany, New York, and residential rush hour traffic can be difficult to navigate for a youngster, even one with those long legs. The DEC Moose Busters from the Adirondacks where called in and gave the lucky bull a ride to his new home in the Adirondacks. Here’s some local television coverage of the Halfmoon Moose story.
The resident biologist tells me this bull moose is alive and likes to take long walks around the Adirondacks. His transponder beep has been heard across hundreds of miles in the Adirondack High Peak Region as recently as last month. Yay!
Now for the bad moose news. Ed was called to the scene of a deceased bull moose in Long Lake earlier this week. He said the moose was in very bad shape; malnourished and so skinny he was all bones. The moose team gathered organ and tissue samples to be sent for pathology studies in Albany. The fear is the moose was killed by brain worm, a parasitic nematode (round worm), Parelaphostrongylus tenuis (P. tenuis), which is found frequently in white-tail deer in the Adirondacks. White-tail deer are unaffected by the nematode but it is often fatal to moose.
We may never know for sure what killed this moose, but it is always sad when we lose one from an already small population of these magnificent creatures. Please be careful on the roads. . . you might see and save a moose, or yourself!
Outdoor Recreation Starts Early in the Adirondacks
As you can see in this morning’s outdoor yoga view, there more shades of green on display in the Adirondacks than I can describe. This is noteworthy since I am not usually at a loss for words.
If you compare the photograph in my last post to today’s photo, you will note the leaves have made huge strides and it finally looks like late spring in Lake Placid. Despite the chilly (39 degrees) overnight temperatures, the warm morning sun reminds us it is the first day of June and summer is less than three weeks away.
A day of outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks ahead of me, I take advantage of the still cold slowness of the black flies and complete my morning practice before they catch on. I’ll be on my bike before they can say, “I’m an annoying biting insect.”
As usual, click on the photograph for a larger vision of Adirondack Green.
In typical Adirondack weather fashion, the climate went from cold, to hot and dry, to rainy and warm in one week. As you can see, hardwood leaves are sprouting green and opening before our eyes. Like a rain forest, it is a colorful, sensory extravaganza in the Adirondacks these days. Last evening’s rainbow was accompanied by raucous spring peepers. Wildflowers are in full bloom, instantly verdant moss and ferns prove they love the rain, and defying human logic but perhaps teaching us a lesson, birds sing through the spring showers.
Mother Nature took her time getting to spring in the Adirondacks this year. Miraculously, the damp, snowy, and cold spring of last weekend is a mere memory, supplanted by yesterday’s surprise 70-degree heat. Slowly but surely, the spring sun cannot be denied; it is getting warmer and greener in the Adirondacks.
Hardwood buds, delicate Spring Beauties, and Yellow Wood Violets are barely discernible, but a sharp eye is rewarded.
The sweet, flowery fragrance of Spring Beauties is a treat for the perceptive hiker with a good nose.
A dance requires a melody. The Adirondack Spring Mosey chugs along to the sound track of the Chickadee mating call, “Hey Zigggeeeee, hey Zigggeeee, hey Zigggeeee,” honking Geese, shrieking Blue Jays and Saw-Whet Owls, quacking Mallards, peeping Spring Peepers, yelping and gobbling Turkeys, and melodious Thrushes.
Drumming Grouse and the rat-a-tat-tat of Woodpeckers provide a solid percussion track for this slow dance, and the lost Sea Gulls’ screams seem right at home alongside Adirondack Raven and Crow caws.
It may mosey, but spring does not come quietly to the Adirondacks.
The morning’s soft, wet snow in the Adirondacks was pretty but there wasn’t enough to drag the cross-country skis out of their temporary retirement. Although it is not easy for me to give up trying to ski, I have. Trail running and hikes suffice until the roads are ready for cycling. It won’t be long before downhill fast is again an option.
Spring is coming on slowly in the Adirondacks this year. The maple sap was partially frozen this morning when we collected morning tea water. Evergreens, lichen, and moss provide what little green we see. The nights have been cold but many clear Adirondack blue skies and the warm spring sun have made this an early spring to remember. And mud season is nearly over!
Happy early spring to fellow fans of the Adirondack lifestyle from all of us, including the lifestyle hound.
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