Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chaos On Crane and Oooo Sable In The AMR

Busy weekend for me in the Daks.

Seems like I hiked a lot more than 15 miles over 2 days. I shot over 8GB of images over that time (lots of brackets of 16MB images), most in poor lighting and after a few days I've finally made some progress.

Saturday was a great easy hike in the Adirondack Mountain Reserve, which is publicly accessible private land owned by the Au Sable Club.

After leaving a few minutes later than I intended, I met John and Joanne at the parking area a few minutes after 9am and we headed for some of the most spectacular (and most accessible) scenery in the Adirondack lowlands. Lots of waterfalls and chasms, streams and rivers. Just a beautiful place.

We kinda hit the lighting just wrong, and our overcast day turned a bit too sunny for even the usable diffused light provided by cloud cover. It was still very dead out there, as the trees hadn't even begun to bud. It looked like what I affectionately call the skeleton forest. Black flies and bugs were non existent which made the day ever more enjoyable. Great day though and lots of fun to just kick back and talk photography while taking our time, even if we didn't have the best lighting.

My partners left me at about 4:30pm, and I headed about a mile up trail to Wedge Brook and Wedge Brook Falls. I noted a few spots I'd like to hit with better lighting on the way down, and got to the falls. Beautiful place but despite spending an hour playing around I left with nothing that I liked. On the way back I shot a few frames of the East Branch Ausable River and some spring runoffs down the gorge walls.

After a few more shots on Gill Brook and the Ausable River, I got back to the car around 8:30pm and was back home by 10pm.

Sunday, Aim, Caney and I headed for Crane Mountain. Our last trip there in 2000 or 2001 ended in Caney losing his pack around the lake. I listened to Aim and didn't carry snowshoes and the spur trail was covered with 4 feet of snow making the 1 mile hike an incredible post hole fest. Lesson learned from that experience...when in doubt carry snowshoes even in April, and DO NOT PUT THE KEYS IN YOUR DOGS PACK!!!!

The 2008 Crane adventure was quite nice, although covered with blowdown from the uncharacteristic ice storms we had this winter, and the trail was at times poorly marked, lots of route finding, and some bushwhacking to get back. For an easy 3.5 mile hike we ended up hiking about 5 miles and it felt like much more. Overall great day but the black flies were out, and lightly biting at times on the hike up. On the return they mysteriously disappeared.

One disheartening thing about Crane Mountain was the trash situation around the pond. Typically the southern and western Adirondacks seem to suffer more from irresponsible and just downright lazy disgusting people who feel that it's too much effort to carry out the stuff they brought in.

Unfortunately, this attitude is contagious and trash left behind signals to the next user group that it's OK. Then things go out of control and the DEC is forced to make changes that affect everyone.

I'm hoping to organize a work crew to go in and clean this area up. Anyone reading this who is interested should drop me an email. I figure 4 or more people could circle the lake in an afternoon, disperse some of the poorly built campsites and partially burned wood, burn any burnable trash and pack out the many plastic bottles, and bits of broken glass.

To anyone reading this looking for information on campsites (and I know you do because of I see your search strings to get to my site) please have some respect for yourself. Yes for yourself, and pack out what you bring in. Keep in mind that the trash you leave can only end up 2 places, in the forest, or in the pond. And that in either place it will remain there pretty much permanently.

While one bottle, one wrapper, one cigarette butt might seem harmless, the cumulative effects are not. And it's pretty selfish and just plain disrespectful to literally destroy someplace that you, and others that follow you, obviously thought enough off to expend your sweat and energy to hike into.

The 6.5 million acres that forms the Adirondack Forest Preserve might seem inexhaustable, but if enough people carelessly abuse it out of nothing more than laziness, we will be left with nothing but a giant wilderness landfill.

Give a hoot, don't pollute.

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