June 22, 2013

Beaver Lake: Hemlock Hollow and Bog Trails

I started Frankie out in a hat for this hike, for protection against mosquitoes.  However, it quickly became clear that the heat would be a bigger challenge to our comfort, so we ended up ditching the hat.  It got close to 90 degrees today, and my little sweat-head definitely lived up to his moniker.  Frankie loves boardwalks, so we made a figure-eight shaped loop using the Hemlock Hollow Trail and the Bog Trail.  Even when combined, these trails are only 1.0 mile, and are easy and level-surfaced.  This meant Frankie could manage the hike on his own, which is a bonus for me in the heat.  I'm a sweat-head, too!

the Hemlock Hollow Trail

green frog (Rana clamitans)

carpenter bee (Xylocopa virginica)
water break at the observation tower

view of Beaver Lake from the observation tower
painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) among the spatterdock (Nuphar variegata)

watch out for Auntie tickles!

running down the boardwalk on the Bog Trail

back in the shade on the Hemlock Hollow Trail



Download trail map here or here.

June 5, 2013

Lower Dixes

Macomb
4,405 feet  |  ranked 21/46 in height  |  17th peak climbed
South Dix
4,060 feet  |  ranked 37/46 in height  |  18th peak climbed 
East Dix
4,012 feet  |  ranked 42/46 in height  |  19th peak climbed

Erin and I met at a Thruway park-n-ride at 4:15 am on a Wednesday morning, and by the time we returned to pick up my car it was 11 pm.  This was a very long day for us (especially considering we both worked the next day, and I leave for work at 6:15 am).  However, we were desperate to get in a hike and this strategy made it happen.  I had been worried about the limited parking at Elk Lake and our late arrival due to the long drive, but luckily there was only one other car in the lot when we arrived around 8 am.  The bugs were horrendous, and we were bit all to hell as we put on our boots and made last minute pack adjustments.  Luckily once we started moving, the bugs dissipated.

The herd paths were straightforward and easy to navigate, and climbing the slide was so much fun!  We were very slow on that section, as neither of us had been on a slide before, and the wide open views were super distracting.  We also saw the only other hikers of the days there, in a bit of unfortunate timing, as they came up behind us, making us excessively paranoid about knocking debris into their paths (the slide is not slabby, but loose gravel and stones -- Erin and I had been deliberately climbing on parallel tracks, rather than single file).  But these two women were flying!  I later checked the trail register and recognized a familiar name, someone well known for her extreme speed.  Anyway, it was a relief once they'd passed us.

All in all, this was an extremely satisfying hike, with incredible views all around.  It was the first time either of us had done a three peak hike, and the first time we'd been on a slide.  I definitely want to check out some more of those!  Unfortunately I neglected to get photos from the rocky approach to the South Dix-Carson summit, but that is a manageable problem: I'll just have to go back.

The first views of Elk Lake emerge on the Macomb slide
Near the bottom of the slide
Higher up the slide
Benchmark on Macomb
The summit disk
View of Elk Lake from Macomb summit
View from the Macomb summit
Erin at the Macomb summit disk
On the Macomb summit ledge
View from Macomb summit
Summit marker for Carson (South Dix) -- look up... WAY up
View from the summit of Grace (East Dix)
View from Grace back toward Carson (center) and Macomb (left)


Grace was Erin's 12th high peak
We had the summit entirely to ourselves -- all three of them
At the Grace summit marker
Loving life on Grace