Tag Archives: adirondacks

Snow Geese

Each March, our families and a few good friends make a pilgrimage to the Adirondacks. Last Friday, G and I got on the I-90 in the late afternoon. The wind was blowing fiercely across the open landscape, but the sky was blue and the sun was shining.

After two hours, we were north of New York’s Finger Lakes. G was asleep in the passenger seat and I was in a typical highway trance when a small flock of high flying birds caught my eye. Something subtly different in the shape of their silhouettes made me pay attention. As my eyes shifted across the sky, I spotted more birds until suddenly there were hundreds, moving swiftly west and north in loose Vs.

“Wake up! Snow Geese!”

There are few things that lift my heart like seeing snow geese flying overhead on a clear winter day. It feels like something magical and timeless is occurring. How fortunate we were to be in just the right place at just the right time to see their migration.

The rest of the weekend was spent on cold mountains and by warm fireplaces. Of course, knitting was present at all time, and near the summit of Mount Baker, my sister posed for a few project photos. These hat and mittens are for a generous family friend.


On Ravelry here.


Machrie Moor


Two weekends ago, my family hiked Mt. VanHovenberg near Lake Placid, New York. At the peak, I celebrated the completion of a new Memory Piece.


This sweater has been in progress, mentally and then physically, since April 2015, when my sister and I visited the Machrie Moor standing stones on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.


The Machrie Moor standing stones have been in place for ~4000 years. M and I have been to many historic places, but I felt particularly honored to be at Machrie Moor. We spent a beautiful, windy morning touching the rocks, breathing in the wind, and warming our face with the sun. Our experience was intimate, but also shared with an unknown number of other humans. There were settlers who lived on this land before there were stones, there were workers who erected the stones, there were  worshippers who gathered at the stones, there were and are farmers who have maintained the land around the stones, and, now, there are visitors like us, trying to understand our own places in history.DSC_0144

This particular stone especially appealed to me, and I chose the yarn (Tormentil in Alice Starmore’s Hebridean 3-ply) for my sweater based on its tone and texture.DSC_0153 - Copy

The cables in my sweater represent the ridges, and the different front and back reflect the distinct sides of the stone.DSC_0155

On Ravelry here.

Haystack Mountain

DSC_0147Two weeks have gone by already since our slippery trip up Haystack Mountain, near Saranac Lake.DSC_0154DSC_0159Now, the ice is melting in the North Country, and our wool sweaters will soon be packed away. I am missing winter already, despite my excitement for signs of spring – a woodcock calling out from the brush, salamanders swimming smoothly through a dark pond, bloodroot buds pushing up through the soil.

Skylight, Marcy, and a Sweater for the Mountains

This past weekend, my dad and I drove up to the Adirondacks for two days in the High Peaks. The Adirondack High Peaks are our favorite place in the world to be, and we could not have asked for a better visit.

We arrived at South Meadows, off of the ADK Loj Road, well after dark on Friday, and quietly set up camp in a small clearing below the dense spruce trees. In the morning, we stuffed our still-warm sleeping bags into our packs, and heading off toward Marcy Dam via the truck road. The sky was just begin to grow light when we reached our first stream crossing…
…and the sun was striking the  mountains by the time we reached Marcy Dam.

We set up our tent at a nearby campsite, and then began the ascent to Skylight. The air was crisp and the light was soft. We took our time along the way, stopping to tape my toes…
DSC_0006…appreciate the trailwork…   DSC_0013

…and, of course, look at the plants.

We arrived at the peak of Skylight in time for lunch, and for plenty of knit sweater photos (Thanks, Dad).

DSC_0043 DSC_0099e Knitterly details about this sweater- nine months in the making (not counting the sheep’s work)- are here on Ravelry. The body and neckline are knit from undyed, farmspun wool from the Wrinkle in Thyme farm in Maine. I love this yarn! The other colors are also undyed fiber including alpaca, camel, and wool.

Dad pointed out each of the high peaks…DSC_0058and I looked at the plants…DSC_0059 DSC_0076 DSC_0077 DSC_0085DSC_0057DSC_0101DSC_0080

I could have spent all day looking at the minature leaves, the shades of green, and the fading flowers, but there is only so much daylight in late September, and we had to continue. Leaving Skylight, we hiked over to Marcy for another hour above treeline, and then down, down, down to our camp and hot meal by the dam. We are already thinking about our next visit…DSC_0088

Summer Wildflowers

Here in Western New York, summer has only a few precious weeks left. It has been a season full of wildflowers.

In early July, I found these Canada lily (Lilium canadense) underneath an electric right-of-way line in Schoharie County, NY. They are not a flower you can walk by without stopping to admire the color. So bright!DSCN6194 DSCN6199

And these milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) were growing in a farmer’s old field, left to go wild for a few seasons.DSCN6224 DSCN6233 DSCN6236DSCN6243

In the middle of the month, my family spent a weekend in the Adirondacks, as we do every year. On Friday, my mom and I summited Noonmark- a wonderful mountain with views of the high peaks…
…and we found one of my favorite plants growing there- crowberry (Empetrum nigrum).

On Saturday, my dad, sister, and I climbed Esther and Whiteface Mountains. C and my mom met us at the top of Whiteface via the road. This was M’s 46th Adirondack High Peak! DSC_0286

On the way down, we passed by this wee alpine goldenrod (Solidago leiocarpa)…DSC_0277…and then almost missed the rattlesnake root (Prenanthes boottii)!

In late July, there were more milkweeds to be found, along with this Eastern Swallowtail slurping his lunch.DSCN6308DSCN6322      DSCN6315

Now the goldenrods are yellow across the fields, milkweeds are in seed, and I am greedily gathering their seeds to scatter in our wildflower garden and the unmowed space across the street. Next summer I hope to see one of these beautiful butterflies in our own backyard!

The Saranac Six – St. Regis Mountain

Snowshoeing Day Two!

Sunday morning, I woke up SORE. The large area on my thigh, where I had scraped by a rock while sliding down Mt. McKenzie, had turned from its typical ghostly winter white to a deep purpley red bruise.

I needed a good cup of tea and four pieces of french toast with maple syrup…



…in order to get out the door and on the way to the St. Regis trailhead.


St. Regis Mountain is another of the Saranac Six. It is almost 1000 feet shorter than Mt. McKenzie, but it makes up for this with incredible views.


Photo by R.S.


Photo by R.S.

(OK, our views on Sunday were a bit white, but use your imagination. There are thirty lakes out there!)

St. Regis Mountain is home to the St. Regis Firetower. According to the Friends of the St. Regis Mt. Firetower, this tower was built in 1918, and has been closed since 1990.


Photo by R.S.

We gathered underneath it for a few minutes, but the wind and blowing snow made the experience unpleasant, and we were on our way back into the trees and down within a few minutes.


Overall, it was a wonderful hike, though more difficult for me than I would have liked! I am already thinking of when we will be able to return to the mountains this spring.

Lastly I will say it here- Having climbed one of the Mountains on the Fire Tower Challenge list, I feel that there is no choice but to hike the rest of them.


The Saranac Six – Mt. McKenzie

Last weekend was our fourth annual snowshoeing weekend in the Adirondacks!

This year, nine of us rented an ADK-by-owner cabin near Saranac Lake, and spent two days hiking Mt. McKenzie and St. Regis Mountain – two of the Saranac Six peaks. (My dad and I are fans of lists and patches, and plan to be 6ers by 2016. We’ll drag my sister along with us!)

Mt. McKenzie is the tallest of the Saranac Six. It’s elevation is higher than the “4000-footer” Couchsagraga, but McKenzie is much easier to get to. Unfortunately, I do not know much else about the peak. Internet searching has not revealed to me just who [Mr.] McKenzie was or why there is a mountain names after him.

The trail started off gradually…

IMG_1060…and there was plenty of time to stop and appreciate the forest.


Then, after the trails to Haystack and McKenzie split, things start to get serious!


The hike became steep, and our conversations fell off as everyone focused on where to put their feet and how to catch their breath.

IMG_0583 IMG_0584

As we reached the summit, the spruce-fir forests became remarkably beautiful. Each branch, each leaf was coated with thick snow.


We reached the windy summit in time for cold lunches and hot chocolate…

SAM_0900After eating, we enjoyed the hazy views…

IMG_1069took our traditional summit photos…SAM_0893

Hand knits in action!


Amazing orange hat knit by a friend!

IMG_1064 …and then it was time for the best part – butt sliding! Mt. McKenzie’s well packed trail and steep descent made for perfect snow chutes. I destroyed my rain pants, but it was all worth it.

(G’s mom had never been snowshoeing in the mountains before. She loved sliding down.)


We spent the evening by the fire, doing a puzzle, drinking the wine given us by our hosts…

IMG_1047 …and playing games.

More on Sunday’s hike of St. Regis Mountain tomorrow!

I wore my Kråke hat for part of the hike, It needs some modifications, but it wonderfully warm!


Click the photo for the Ravelry link.