Friday, July 15, 2011

Where in the Woods is Laurie?

Welcome, welcome to my first attempt at blogging. My boss thought it would be fun to follow my escapades hiking in the mountains - mostly Adirondacks right now, but you never know where I'll turn up! I'll also share some of my past (and future) stories of adventures around the globe.

But first, some background on me: A couple of years ago I left my marketing job in the corporate world to become membership director for the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). I had been a member of ADK for 10-some odd years and started volunteering at one of the chapters. From there I was offered a position at ADK. I love working for an organization whose mission I believe in and where I get to talk to people about protecting wild lands and waters in New York State. It's great to wake up in the morning and feel like you are making a difference.

What are these flowers?
Lake Elk Lake Trail?
So off to my adventures....A few weeks ago on a Sunday, I decided to brave the iffy forecast and hike Hough in the Adirondack Mountains. 20% chance of showers was apparently code for wind driven rain at summit. I'm a bit of a weather geek and nowhere in the weather discussions was there mention of wind driven rain. But such is the Adirondacks! I parked at the Elk Lake trailhead and proceeded to wade my way through the trail. Not as bad as I have seen the trail, but still there was running water everywhere. I'm also a wildflower dork, so I enjoy taking pictures of wildflowers. Here's a picture of one I haven't been able to identify yet.

A very wet bunch berry
I'm loving the day!
Since I was just hiking Hough, I took the Lillian Brook herd path. The last time up the herd path was a pleasant stroll in the woods (and some great raspberry picking). This time it is was wet with boot-sucking bog/mud at the start. The woods were wet too and I was pretty soaked before I had gone a 1/4 mile. But then it started to improve. Lillian Brook is a very pretty stream to follow. On a warmer day there are many places to take off your shoes and dip your feet in the cool water. But not today. Today it's a day for my little toad friend I came across on the trail.

I made it to the campsite area (too high to actually legally camp here) and started off towards Hough. Now I've been on Hough 7 times before. I know it's steep up, on a short ridge, and then steep down. I bushwacked around one rock bump (Ok, bad idea. Would have gotten less wet had I stayed in the rain instead of pushing through dripping wet branches.) and then made for the high spot to see if I could get some kind of visual. (Does anyone see where I'm going with this?). (Also decided maybe I should put on my rain jacket too...) Went over the high spot and starting descending fast. Nope, too far. Thought maybe the summit was the first bump I went around. Back over the high spot to the first bump. No, that was definitely lower. Decided to walk for another 10 minutes back towards Dix and then turn around. Went to the high spot again to look for anything higher. Finally looked up at the lone tree on the rock - oh, look! The summit disk for Hough. Duh! Note to self, high spot = summit. The view of the clouds was lovely today.

On my way down Hough, I ran into the first people of the day. They were excited to realize they weren't the only crazy ones out there! It was a relatively uneventful descent until I hit the muck again. Yuck! But I knew the trail was close by. As I made my way back to the trailhead the sun  poked out of the clouds. I finally started to dry off. Back at the parking lot I ran into a group of young folks backpacking for the week. They had made their way over from the Ausable Club. It's always great to see young, fresh faces enjoying the outdoors! And with a few giggles, they were off on their own adventures.

Next up...Hitting some high spots in the MacIntyre's.

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