Saturday, October 30, 2010

Purgatory Falls

I was in NH for the weekend, and I visited Purgatory Falls in Mont Vernon [correction: this section is actually located in the adjacent town of Lyndeborough-thanks George!]. A short walk down a trail leads to the gorge that Purgatory brook cuts through, descending down a beautiful little waterfall surrounded by hemlocks and birch. There are great little conservation areas such as this one, scattered all around the state, waiting to be explored!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

An autumn walk

Here are a few shots I took today wandering around the woods, foliage is a bit past peak, but it's the first time I have been able to get out in the last few weeks with my camera.

Deer tracks in the mud

Invasive species above (burning bush) and below (barberry)


Monday, October 11, 2010

A few shots from field work in the catskills

Below are a few shots from some of the field work I've been doing in the Catskills since May. I don't typically have much time to take photos, but I sometimes try to carry my small "field" camera with me, an old nikon coolpix camera. So the quality is not too great, but it is nice to document some of the places we go to, and the things we do.

A view of from the Ashokan Reservoir.

The canopy of a maple plot at Diamond Notch.
A soil core. The O, A, and B horizons are visible.

Collecting canopy foliage samples, using a shotgun.

My arms after a day in the field, in June I believe. It may look bad, but really, the biting insects are not too bad at all compared to the White Mountains.
My favorite field location by far- the rondout creek. It is a beautiful place, I feel fortunate to be able work in such a beautiful spot. We did find time after work to jump in the creek twice, it was always very cold. John Burroughs, the famous writer and naturalist said of the creek,

"My eyes had never before beheld such beauty in a mountain stream. The water was almost as transparent as the air — was, indeed, like liquid air; and as it lay in these wells and pits enveloped in shadow, or lit up by a chance ray of the vertical sun, it was a perpetual feast to the eye — so cool, so deep, so pure; every reach and pool like a vast spring. You lay down and drank or dipped the water up in your cup, and found it just the right degree of refreshing coldness. One is never prepared for the clearness of the water in these streams. It is always a surprise. See them every year for a dozen years, and yet, when you first come upon one, you will utter an exclamation. I saw nothing like it in the Adirondacks, nor in Canada. Absolutely without stain or hint of impurity, it seems to magnify like a lens, so that the bed of the stream and the fish in it appear deceptively near. It is rare to find even a trout stream that is not a little "off color," as they say of diamonds, but the waters in the section of which I am writing have the genuine ray; it is the undimmed and untarnished diamond. If I were a trout, I should ascend every stream till I found the Rondout. It is the ideal brook"

Above is a typical trail in the catskills, I think this is at Diamond Notch again.

Above: Bear sign on the beech tree, claw marks from a black bear climbing up to retrieve beech nuts, a favorite food of black bears. It is a sad sight to see nearly all the beech trees infected with BBD, I wonder what, if any, impact that has on the bear.
Below: bear scat.
Sun through a thick beech canopy, one of my favorite views in the forest. Just another great day at the 'office'!Trailhead sign at Batavia Kill, where we have four oak plots.Above: A shot from the oak forest at Kanape Brook, where we have some beautiful red oak plots. Last time I was there it was painful, acorns were falling all over the place.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2007: From my summer in the sierras!

Me standing inside a burn scar of a sequoia. They get much bigger!

During the summer of 2007 I worked in Sequoia National Forest/Monument, as a forestry technician, primarily doing vegetation sampling in a large area that had been burned by the McNally wildfire in 2001.

I lived at an elevation of 7300' at a remote forest service work center. My days off I spent exploring the forests. I saw three mountain lions that summer, I found it to be very humbling to work in an environment where a large predator such as that roamed.

Below are a few photos from that awesome summer. The majority of these photos I took while exploring on my days off, a few work ones are in here as well as you will see.
I fell in love with the sierra nevada mountains that summer, it's an amazing area.

The tule river!

Sunset in the sierras.
This was the nearest "town." A small combination general store/cafe/bar/gas station and a few houses nestled in the mountains. In the winter, the snow roads are closes past this sign, in the other direction. It is about a 2 hr drive down into the valley to get groceries.

The world-famous Needles lookout tower. I was lucky to man the tower for a day, when the lady that works and lives in the tower needed to leave for a day. A truly wild place!

The stairs up to the tower. Not for the faint-of-heart.I lived close to a couple of beautiful sequoia groves, each of which don't receive too many visitors, especially compared to the national park.

Setting up a pheromone tussock moth trap, for monitoring.

The drive up the tule river canyon into the forest.
Above and below: One of the areas we surveyed that summer. We did about 1200 acres. Note all the standing burned and dead trees, it was dangerous when the wind picked up.

In the chaparral areas we worked it probably in the 90s every day, and often above 100. But it was very dry, completely unlike the very humid east coast.
The manzanita shrub has very smooth red bark, and like most montane and chaparral species it is fire-dependent. The mighty sequoia!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back to the pemi wilderness!

My twin brother, Jonathan, visited NH for a week. He flew overnight from Seattle, and the next night we decided to head out to the White Mountains, specifically an area we have been bushwhacking and back-country camping each spring and fall for the last several years- the pemigewasset wilderness of the White Mountain National Forest in NH. It is a magnificent area.
Me, Jonathan, and our best friend, Paul arrived at the trail head at 10:30pm Friday. It was a bit of a late start, but we really wanted to spend two nights, since one night always feels too short. We hiked in a little bit and back country camped off the trail. The next morning we bushwhacked to a beautiful spot we found last year, set up camp, explored the nearby rivers and relaxed.

We brought Jake, a tough and adventurous little dog. The first night was nearly a full moon with very little cloud cover, so we slept in the open. But it was so bright it made it hard to fall asleep.

Jonathan, Paul, and Jake exploring one of the branch rivers, during our bushwhack on the second day.

Swimming in the chilly water! Paul took a few photos of me and Jonathan going in the chilly river. A few days before October!
Jonathan striking a pose with the hiking stick he whittled when he was 1o or 11.

I don't think it is very common for little terriers like Jake to like to swim, but he loves it, and he did really well swimming in a river for the first time. I wasn't sure how he would do camping out, but he was great, I wish we had brought him with us years ago.

On Sunday, the walk back on the Lincoln Woods trail. It was cloudy, but the leaves seemed to become more vibrant by the minute. We picked a great time to visit the Whites, close to peak foliage.

Jonathan showing Paul the chaga fungus, a parasitic fungi that grows on live birch trees. Great as a tinder. The fungi's cancer-fighting properties are also being researched.

Group shot by the fire on the second night. The fall is my favorite time of year to camp and explore the white mountains. Nice chilly nights, great for sleeping and a nice fire, there is no need for mosquito netting at night, it is fantastic.

On the way back we stopped in at The Mountain Wanderer, a map and book store in Lincoln run by Steve Smith. If you want to know something about the white mountains, and he doesn't know it, odds are no one does. He's knows the woods of the whites, on and off trail, like no other. Check out his explorations on his blog here- Mountain Wandering.

I was fortunate to be able to take a couple days off and get up to NH to visit with my twin brother and Paul. Thanks for a great time guys!