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Thursday, June 27, 2024

Moats with Summer & Bluey

Took a trip up to my beloved White Mountains to catch up with two of my favorite hiking companions, Summer and Bluey. Summer just finished her PhD from Harvard University (So Exciting!), so her and Bluey were quite ready to stretch their legs and continue their quest to complete the 52 with a view. We chose to hike South, Middle and North Moat mountains totaling 10 miles and 4,000 feet elevation gain. This route took us through northern hardwoods, spruce-fir and pockets of exposed sub-alpine tundra on granite bedrock. We heard northern parula down below, black-throated green warblers on our way up, and Bicknells thrush above. Billberries, mountain holly, crowberry, pincushion plant and three-leaved cinquefoil kept our curiosity high. A nice day in the highlands with such great company.

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Minnewaska Grand Tour

A May day is as good as any day for a mountain marathon on the Minnewaska Grand Tour route in the Shawngunk Mountains (Gunks) just west of New Paltz, NY. What a gem! Minnewaska means “good water” in Algonquin, and Shawngunk means “smoky air.” The sweltering heat sure gave meaning to both today - it was quite hazy, and I had to use natural springs to rehydrate.

The Shawangunk Ridge geology is what remains of 450 million year old outwash from the Appalachian mountains to the east, and overtops an ancient ocean. 

I came across groves of old growth hemlock and spruce in gorges - a relict from the past. Blueberries, billberries, laurels and azalea were all in bloom. I even found populations of Carolina pincushion plant - a rarity in NY. Not to mention the scores of warblers I heard. 

A nice way to start a mini vacation before the busy season starts. Cheers!