Ever heard of Indian Head?

After so many years hiking in the High Peaks, it seems we’ve exhausted all of our options for new trails towards great destinations. But, looking at our High Peaks map this morning, I spotted a trail we’d never tested before. So, we decided to test the Indian Head trail as our first Spring hike.

Indian Head is a rocky peak, directly above Lower Ausable Lake, that offers excellent views of both Ausable lakes, Nippletop, Mt Colvin, Sawteeth, and much of the Great Range. That was our destination for the day. After all, it’s only Spring and we needed to prepare ourselves for much harder hikes.

IMG_1920

Beaver Meadows Fall

Hiking along the Ausable River, on the West trail going in, was easy except for the snow, sometimes waist deep, that required putting on our snowshoes. We hiked to the famous (and frozen) Beaver Meadows Falls. What a scenery! Then we crossed over the river towards our destination.

As soon as on the East trail, we realized nobody (I really mean NOBODY!) had opened the trail towards Indian Head for quite a while. Snow was as immaculate as it would be when it fell. We ended up opening a 2-mile trail with thigh-deep snow under a very shy sun. Many times, we wondered about continuing on this uncertain path… Well, needless to say, it was an unforgettable experience, especially for us getting back to hiking after a lengthy and cold winter.

We finally made it, enjoyed the views and the overall experience. But, Spring hiking in the Adirondacks? Be ready for many surprises…

Crossing the Ausable River

Crossing the Ausable River

Uncharted territory

Uncharted territory

From John Brown Farm

The good thing about our townhouse is that it’s a short walk away from the John Brown Farm State Historic Site, where you can see the home and grave of abolitionist John Brown.

Walking there from our home is a delight, especially like yesterday evening, with the sunset over a cloud-less sky. You are surrounded by the McKenzie mountains on the West, the High Peaks on the South, the Sentinel Range on the East… and Whiteface on the North. Incredible, isn’t it?

IMG_0949

Marcy, Colden and Algonquin at sunset

IMG_0950

Whiteface at sunset

Maple Weekend: What a (sugary) blast!

wildcentertappersFor two weekends (March 21 & 22, and March 28 & 29), join the fun and celebrate all things maple. The goal of these state-wide Maple Weekends is to give the public a firsthand opportunity to see how maple products are produced from farm to table, along with a chance to taste and purchase maple products.

Almost 160 maple producers across New York State open their facilities to show people how maple syrup and related maple products are made from the tree to their table. This fantastic, family-oriented event takes visitors back to their agricultural roots as they learn how a clear, water-like sap becomes a golden brown nectar. Each producer has something different to teach and entertain the guests. Whether it’s horse and wagon rides into the woods, farm animal petting areas or pancake breakfasts, there is something for everyone at┬áMaple Weekend.

In Essex County alone, there are four participating sugar houses: Black Rooster Maple, Cornell University Uihlein Forest, Maple Brook Farm and Maple Knoll Farm.

We went to visit the Cornell University Uihlein Forest. There, we met with a group of local volunteers, who guided us through the entire syrup production process, beginning in the sugarbush where the sap is collected and ending in the sugarhouse where we could see, smell, and taste fresh maple syrup being made. We met Mike Farrell Ph.D, who told us about ongoing research projects and explained the four grades of syrup (common to all states and Canada). We were also lucky to taste eight varieties of syrup, ranging from birch, walnut to maple. At that stage, we could not resist buying a variety of maple products from the gift shop.

What a great time!

IMG_1898

Sap Lines in the Forest

IMG_1899

Sap Lines converging into filters

IMG_1900

Receiving Sap Tanks

IMG_1902

Boiling sap into Syrup

IMG_1905

Wood fire boiling sap (the old way!)

IMG_1907

Boiling Sap

IMG_1909

With Mike, looking at real-time production

IMG_1910

Warm syrup (We tasted it, what a blast!)

IMG_1913

Off the Curve

We usually take the Thruway to Lake Placid, whether from the North or South. Driving South from Plattsburgh, we take exit 34 towards our beloved Olympic village. This morning was no different. Except for the weather, cloudless blue sky and beautiful morning sun.

While driving on Route 86, there is this large curve just before Ausable Forks, with an incredible view of the Ausable River and Whiteface Mountain. Every time we reach this place, we anticipate the view. Unfortunately, more often than not, the sky is too cloudy, the sun is in front of us, totally blinding us from the mountain. Lots, and lots of disappointments! Today was the exception. The perfect spot, and everything else in place: morning sun, blue sky, a deep blue and icy river and a big snowy mountain in the background. Enjoy.

IMG_1895 IMG_1896