Monday, August 24, 2015

Jenkins Mountain Hike

I had climbed Jenkins Mt. about 25 years ago at a time when the Paul Smiths VIC was run by the state (it is now part of Paul Smiths College) and my memory of the hike was rather foggy. I remembered that the trail started on an old road, but I didn't remember that the road part was as long as it is. I remembered walking along a couple of eskers and I thought I remembered being able to see the lower summit of the two-humped mountain from the higher summit. I was totally wrong on the last memory.

The road part has changed since my hike of yore. The road is no longer in the process of overgrowing as it was when the state ran the VIC. Paul Smiths is a forestry college and they call it "Logger's Loop". It winds gradually uphill and there are several demonstration plots along it showing different methods of forestry management. Not too far up I spotted a patch of Bergamot (Bee Balm) alongside the road. I don't know if it is natural or whether it was 'encouraged' to grow there, but it warranted several photos including the one above. Another subject that presented itself along the roadside near a culvert was this fungus.

Over the years I have collected more than 400 photos of fungi, a large proportion of them at the VIC and this trip was no exception. I spotted several more to add to my collection.

After leaving the road which had narrowed to an AVT trail (motorized use limited to the college's staff) the walking trail follows the ridge of an esker (deposits of glacial till) between two low wet areas. The one on the side toward the mountain contained two beaver lodges and offered a view of the lower peak of the mountain. I was fortunate that the raspberries and blackberries were in season. There were patches near the point where a stream cut through the esker to the opposite side.

There was very little climbing to the trail so far but that was about to change although none of the trail is very steep. After leaving the esker you begin climbing the mountain itself through pleasant woods. I had thought perhaps I was alone because it was mid-week and hadn't seen anyone but nearing the top I met a couple descending and at the summit a young woman, her son and their dog were enjoying the view. They soon left however and I ate a late lunch in solitude. I saw no one else the rest of the day. I made a 5 frame panorama from the summit and photographed some other views including a birch tree that was growing next to the summit ledge. The mountain peak in the panorama is St. Regis Mt.

I left the summit around 3 PM and made some photos along the trail as I went back down.

All the data I could find on the web about this hike indicated that it was 4.5 miles to the summit, but my GPS only came up with 8.2 miles for the whole trip which started at the gate by the beginning of the Logger's Loop road. Perhaps the others were using a starting point near the VIC entrance on Rt. 30.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Climbing Mt Gilligan

Sometimes I *need* a hike. It's a matter of attitude adjustment. I'm bummed out, annoyed with the world, too burdened with concern over things I can't change, whatever. A walk in the woods is the best cure. Yesterday I decided it was time even though it was a weekend and every trailhead seemed to be mobbed. The parking areas were full and overflow lined the roadsides so I chose Mt Gilligan (formerly Sunrise Mt) as a hike I thought would be less likely to be crowded.

Bruce Wadsworth's "Day Hikes For all Seasons" guidebook gave directions for finding the trail along Rt 9. It said there was a Public Fishing sign and a small green sign that said "Gilligan" next to a dirt road. There is, but I missed it at first and drove several miles too far. The guidebook might better have said to look for the road sign, "Scriver Rd", which is larger and easier to spot. When I eventually found the turn I arrived in the parking area adjacent to the Boquet River and was amused to see that it was segregated into parking for hikers on one side and parking for anglers on another. There was no indication of penalties for hikers parking on the anglers side or vice versa, but I wondered. Mine was the only car in the lot, a blessing on a warm (82°) summer weekend when *everybody* seemed to be out hiking..

The guidebook described the trail as having "a few short steep sections" which, while accurate, was also something of an understatement. The very first steep section is so steep that at points that if I stretched my arm out in front of me, my fingertips were within about 6-8" from touching the trail. There were 2-3 other steep sections but none as steep as that first one. The photo above is from an overlook just off the trail on that first section.

Most of the 1.3-mile trail is relatively easy hiking, a flat or gradually ascending walk in the woods. I had gone about halfway when I heard voices behind me. Shortly a group of late teen to early twenty-somthing males caught up to me. One asked which way the trail went and I pointed to the trail marker directly in front of him. He asked "How far to the top" and I replied that I didn't know as this was my first time climbing this mountain. They then charged on ahead. A short time later I met them again going back down and I asked "Going down already?" The first three ignored me and the fourth mumbled something I couldn't understand as he went by.

The trail was sufficiently damp that fresh footprints were evident and where there was leaf cover their passing disturbed the otherwise even layer. I hadn't gone too much further before all evidence of their passing disappeared. For whatever reason they had turned back about two-thirds of the way up and I had the mountain to myself after all. Us old guys may be slower, but we don't quit easily.

There are several points as you ascend where you come to ledges that overlook the High Peaks, specifically Rocky Peak Ridge and Giant. The above panorama is about midway up the trail. Giant's summit is lost in the clouds.  The view below looks off in another direction.

The trail between overlooks is a pleasant walk with interesting views of the woods. The following photos were made while going back down.

Just above the last overlook (where I ate my lunch) is a sign "End of Marked Trail". The summit is only a bit higher than the last overlook but it is wooded over with no views. It appears to have been logged in the not too distant past as there are stumps here and there and remains of a logging road as seen in the photo below.

Unless you feel the need to be able to say you went all the way to the top, there is little point to going past the last open ledge shown in the panorama below. The summit is probably no more than 10-15 feet higher (if that) anyway. The Hare Bell and moss photos were found on the last ledge.

Overall, aside from the short steep sections, Gilligan is an easy hike which offers good views and would be especially nice on a crisp autumn day when the leaves were turned. I may go back then.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Further Impressions

I've been playing with the Topaz Impression software again. These two images were created with a preset I created and saved. I photographed the bed because I liked the folds in the top sheet that had beed pushed in from both sides. I struck me as a good subject for drawing and I knew it wouldn't be around long enough to draw to I took pictures. Then I wondered how it would look rendered with an Impression preset. I found one I sort of liked but ended up modifying substantially and saving for possible future use. I think I like the second one (below) better because it is simpler but the first one may read better for others because it is more obvious what it is.

As always, respect my copyright. If you want to share this post or the photos please link to this page. Don not repost elsewhere without my permission. The photos were made in RAW mode with a Canon G11 on a monopod. Initial processing was done in Lightroom CC 2015 and the drawing effect created in Topaz Impression.