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Sunday, October 4, 2020

Old Growth Beech-Maple-Birch

 On my way down from Cliff and Redfield mountains, I came across some stellar old growth red maple-sugar mable-beech-basswood forest. In fact, it’s the best example I’ve ever seen. Towering trees spaced far apart with downed nurse logs, standing dead wood, pit and mounds, and all the other fixings that make old growth what it is. The patch was right off trail between Marcy Dam and the Adirondack Loj. I’ve never seen such large red maple or basswood in a northern hardwood forest. The sweet birch I saw was so large and old that it’s bark was plate-like and form was straight as an arrow with gnarly branches. One of the smaller downed sugar maples was cut with a chainsaw as it lay across the trail, so I counted its rings to be around 350 years old. I estimate the sweet birch to be close to 500 years old. What a treat!

Cliff and Redfield

 Hot damn, it’s mud season in the Adirondacks! Woke up too late to do the giant 32-mile, 5-peak day as planned. So I tackled just Cliff & Redfield for 18 miles and 4,602 elevation gain. I jogged the entire way in just over 7 hours. The foliage is waning, but the mud is waxing after the recent rains. My shoes are waterlogged and every bone in my body hurts, so it was a successful day. I’ll only have three peaks left to finish the northeast 115, thereby completing the Adirondack 46 in one season. Out of all the mountain ranges, this is by far the most grueling. The trails are not always well marked, summits are much farther on average, and the terrain is unforgiving! But I wouldn’t want it any other way.