Lets’s face it, spring can be a difficult time of year in the Adirondacks.
Mud makes our hiking uncomfortable, mosquitoes are out and blackflies are getting started. More and more we have to worry about ticks, bird breeding sites, over-population on the trails. And for me, the end of the college semester brings a flood of work that washes away my will to post to this blog.
My antidote is a not-so-quiet meditation on the spring song of our Adirondack wetlands, woodlands and lakes. Spring peepers join with with a chorus of trilling and and buzzing to create a white-noise like wall of sound these evenings.
Stay to the end of this recording to hear the loon that zoomed through, just off camera: another classic Adirondack sound. And what sounds like a bit of dog barking is actually a grumpy Canada goose bedding down for the night.
Look around the Adirondacks and you find plenty of peaks and other natural features named for panthers, cougars, catamounts and lions. Are there big cats behind every tree and rock?
No, in fact the federal government last week moved the mythical Eastern Mountain Lion from protected status to extinct.
The last mountain lion in the Northeast was shot in Maine 80 years ago. You need to look decades earlier to find a time when the region last sustained a significant breeding population.
This time of year is all about transitions.
The leaves fall. The temperatures drop. Family hikers leave the peaks behind for you technical types and instead embrace the lowland trails. The first snow paints the peaks.
And the snow geese appear.
They stop in the protected bays of Lake Champlain, gathering by the thousand. They rest on the sandy beaches and scavenge in nearby fields, cleaning up the chopped corn the mechanical harvest misses.