Although I wake to bright sunlight in the early morning on Lower South Pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness, the dark clouds move in and a downpour ensues. With the rain continuing throughout the morning, some changes in my trip’s itinerary are inevitable, including less time within the carpet spruce swamp. Luckily, the rain stops early enough for the trip to go on.
After hiking in from Bear Pond Road via the Upper South Pond Trail, I start the off-trail portion of my five-day trip by bushwhacking south, visiting Upper, Middle and Lower South Ponds before the day is done. Setting up my campsite for the night is made more difficult by off and on rain, before turning to a full-on downpour during the early evening hours.
My bushwhacking trip through one of the remotest parts of the Five Ponds Wilderness begins on the Upper South Pond Trail. The rough and rugged trail crosses the Middle Branch of the Oswgatchie River and meanders through a wild Adirondack forest on its way to a wilderness pond. My first encounter with moose droppings on this trip occurs on the trail just before approaching Upper South Pond, near where I leave the trail behind and begin bushwhacking south toward Lower South Pond.
Not everything works out the way you plan it. This is just as true with bushwhacking trips into the backcountry of the Adirondacks as anything else. Some trips are highly spontaneous, moving from conception to implementation with the speed of a mosquito finding a bulging vein on a warm summer evening. Others take their time
This year’s Birdathon results from within the Pepperbox Wilderness of the Adirondack Park were less than stellar. With only 46 species, it was the second lowest count for the seven years in which I participated. A severe head cold, recent beaver dams, a black bear and lack of some common species contributed to the low turn-out.
The morning after any Birdathon is fraught with frustration and bitterness, as avian species not observed the previous day suddenly appear, gleefully rubbing my face in the fact they evaded detection. Despite this dread, I woke in early morning after the Birdathon 2013 enjoying the morning chorus near the southwestern corner of Sunshine Pond; luckily,
Time is running out. Reaching the dead period of mid-afternoon, the chances of producing a stellar bird list for my first Birdathon in two years is decreasing rapidly with every passing moment. Birds no longer sing with the fervor of the early morning hours, leaving visual identification of new species my most important chance of
The worst thing about crossing a beaver dam in the Adirondacks is that sometimes you just do not know what you are going to find on the other end. Sometimes the conditions are obvious from the other side, but often it is not. This is the case when I cross a beaver dam (point #13
Beavers. They ruined my Birdathon experience this year. Well, ruined may be strong a word, foiled is probably better. Those industrious rodents are either boon or bane while birding (and bushwhacking) within Adirondack forests. Their ponds, created often by damming streams, provide ample habitat for many species of birds. Long after the beavers’ departure and
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! Waking from a deep sleep, it takes me a few seconds to recognize the mechanical screech of my radio’s alarm. Scrambling in the dark, I find my GPS, my compass, my hat and about everything else other than the radio. My hand finally connects with the small radio and I switch off the alarm,