Monday, October 11, 2010
Mile Marker 1425
Ahhh - what splendidly perfect weather we've had for the past few days. A true Indian summer.
Last week my friend Evelyn contacted me about joining her and some others for a hike to see some fantastic boulders south of Indian Lake. Plans were tentatively on for Friday, so I made a trip to the city Thursday, only to find out that they decided to go that afternoon as the weather cleared. There was no way I could make it in time, so I had to pass. Luckily for me, Evelyn gave me good directions, and Saturday morning, as the sun shone brilliantly in a completely cloudless blue sky, I slipped the leash on the dog and drove south.
It took a little over an hour to reach the marker that indicated the start of the trail (actually, it indicates the miles along route 30, but the trail conveniently starts right at this marker).
The path is partially covered with leaves (and logs), but a good dog is always able to find the way.
A few glacial erratics started to appear in the woods. These are large boulders left behind by the glaciers. Their point of origin is "somewhere else," which is what makes them "erratics" - they are not from around here. [Update: these may not actually be glacial erratics. My friend Evelyn suggests these boulders broke off from the cliff that is further back in the woods. Sounds like I need to take another trip. Maybe I can tag along with Jackie and Laurie, the geologist, when they go!]
We had to cross a couple small streams. This little foot bridge had a hole punched through the rotting particle board, so Toby opted to wade through the water.
By now the footpath was starting to get rocky. We must be getting close.
The walk in is pretty easy: about a half mile and with a little elevational gain - Evelyn estimates about 100'.
We reached a point where we weren't sure if the trail went left or right. Toby was all for going left, but I saw a jumble of boulders to the right, so we went that way instead. And sure enough, we were there.
It is difficult to get an idea of size without some familiar point of reference. Because I didn't have a human companion along to stand in front of this rock for size, you will have to take my word for it that it is large. In fact, I'd say the highest point reaches higher than the peak of the roof on my house.
There was this hole and trough at the base. It seems that water flows from the top, through some sort of channel in the rock, and exits here. How cool is that?
Time is flaking off a slab from the side:
...and here it is from the other side:
Around the back side we found a small cave.
A person could easily shelter here. He may not be too comfortable, but it would help get him out of the elements in an emergency.
Here's another boulder undergoing a personality split. This is actually two photos "stitched" together - the rock is very tall.
This site is popular with boulder climbers. These are rock-climbing folks who tackle something smaller than a mountain, but no less challenging. Evidence of their visits is apparent in the white chalk they leave behind. I have to wonder if the round holes they use for climbing are natural or man-made for just this purpose.
Some thoughtful soul(s) left a ladder on the back side of another boulder, so those who were not versed in rock-climbing techniques could also enjoy the view from the top.
I only went up far enough to peek at the top. In my old and rickety age I'm not so keen on taking risks when there are no other people around to render aid should I fall. So, here's the top of the rock - a regular patch of forest all on its own.
Toby waited patiently below.
The colors were glorious this day, especially against that brilliant blue sky.
We wandered around a while longer, looking at many more erratics. I LOVE this one - it looks like the head of a snapping turtle, complete with open mouth. Do you see the eye?
The opening (mouth) is quite large.
Inside there are all sorts of holes and rounded bits of rock. I presume these resulted from eons of weathering. At one point in time water must've worked away at what is now the interior. Round holes like those seen here are often associated with rocks spinning in place (in water), wearing away the larger rock. Or, it could be that water alone wore away the softer rock. I'm not a geologist, so I couldn't say for sure which forces were at work here.
Whatever the cause(s), the result it stunning. Here we are looking at the outer "wall" of the cave, photo taken with flash so you can see the formations.
And here it is without the flash, a better idea of what it looked like. The rock is actually more brown - not so much yellow. The light coming in through the holes was interesting.
Here's another boulder I really liked. Look at that lovely row of potholes - they just beg to be planted with something!
And so nature did! A lovely fern was growing quite happily in one of the "pots."
Here we have another boulder with a round hole in the top. I wonder if water flows from it when it rains. If so, how does the water get inside? I guess one would have to climb on top to find out.
This Indian cucumber root was still hanging on to a berry.
Ah, now this set of holes totally fascinated me.
Don't they look like they could be used for an oven? Say for baking bread, or perhaps a pizza?
Finally Toby decided it was time to go home. To him the rocks were just not all that exciting. Give him a trail full of good smells and he is content.
So we bounded back down the trail (I didn't recall it being that steep when we went in) and drove back home, enjoying all the best an Adirondack Indian Summer has to offer.