Tuesday, October 5, 2010

North Country - Second Day

After a good night's sleep, and an early morning visit by the real owner of the bed and breakfast, Jefferson,
we were on our way to our way to explore the "real" Adirondacks.  We headed first for Saranac Lake.  It was beautiful, but there wasn't all that much to see, we headed to Lake Placid, just a few miles away.  We stopped at the Olympic Center, and picked up a guide to what sites there were to see in the area.  It was a beautiful day, so we decided that we would go to Whiteface Mountain and take the gondola ride.

That turned out to be a great decision.  It was a lot of fun, and the sights from the gondola were spectacular.  My only complaint was that tourists, with their usual disregard for the property of others, had scratched the windows of the gondolas so badly that many of my pictures were ruined.

Here are the gondolas themselves, with Whiteface Mountain in the background.
The sights were spectacular.

And, when we got to the top, we got an absolutely wonderful view of Lake Placid below.
It took 18 minutes for both the trip up and the trip down.  Certainly a worthwhile adventure, if you are ever in the area.

We stopped in the village for lunch.  Eh, what can I say, the village is cute, and touristy, and entirely too expensive for my taste.  Plus, unlike the natives in the area, who were courteous and friendly, the tourists were pushy and rude.  I was glad to get out of town.

We had been told that there were some wonderful walking trails at the Adirondack Visitor Interpretive Center near Paul Smith College, so, after lunch, we headed out that way.  We were told right.  But, we learned that, due to the state of the budget in New York State, this would be the last year that this center would be funded by the State.  The students of Paul Smith College are going to try to maintain the trails the best that they can, but the building itself, and all of the wonderful activities that it sponsors will not operate.  Still, for the trails alone, it's a wonderful place to visit.

The trails are wide and inviting.
The pond at the center was still, mysterious and surrounded by a marvelous woods.

Lilypads in the pond were showing the wear and tear of a fast fading season.

I had never seen club moss before.  The upright growths do look like little clubs.

I thought that these might be bunchberry leaves, but when I got home, I found that they weren't.  I love the symmetry of them, however.
All along the way, we walked through patches of beautiful woods.  The floor in this stand of pines was carpeted with moss.

But to me, the most fascinating part of the walk was the boardwalk over the bog and the fen.
The first part of the boardwalk lead over a bog.  It was hard to believe that we were looking at a mat of growth that was floating over "dark and dank water, 18 feet deep."  That's a quote from one of the guide signs that were all along the trail.

We spotted these blue buds,  I wonder if they are fringed gentian?  If we had been a couple of days later, we might have known for sure.
I never knew that there was a difference between a bog and a fen.  Turns out that a fen has more open water than a bog.  We went directly along the boardwalk from the bog to the fen.  It was easy to see the difference, with the two in such close proximity.

We figured that the entire walk that we took was around three miles.  It took us about an hour and a half.  I did have to laugh, though.  I was pushing myself right along, I thought.  We wanted to get back to the building before 5 PM, when it closed, so that we could use the facilities.  So, when we walked, I really tried to stride right out.  When we got to the end of the trail, I was pooped.  My face was red and I was breathing like a steam engine.  My friend, who is in much better physical condition than I am, sighed and said "That was a nice, leisurely stroll, wasn't it?"  If I had had the strength, I might have kicked her.

That was the end of our brief two day Adirondack visit.  We had a great time, and learned a lot.  The Adirondacks are beautiful, and there are so many varied activities that I think anyone could have a great time.  I'll leave you with a few more pictures of our walk.


Upupaepops said...

wonderful walk. That does look like a gentian, I think there is a Bog Gentian as well. add to your list of possible

Sharon said...

Beautiful pictures (as always) I believe I would have like to go along with you girls - only propelled on a hoveround. (however it's spelled) If I won the lottery maybe, haha and could a self contained battery powered o2 set-up! You do make me want to get out there!

Adirondackcountrygal said...

That area is beautiful. I especially love the view to the south of Lake Placid where the road turns to go down to the Loj. Did you go see the John Brown farm? I like Paul SMiths too.

Sandra said...

This is a gorgeous area and seeing it "second hand" is not that bad :) Some of the pictures are simply breathtaking - nature's beauty really is all around us.

About the gondolas... if they are used by skiers, the glasses are probably scratched by the skies, unintentionally.

Canyon Girl said...

Very beautiful. I have been there a very long time ago. Louise, I hope you realize that all the walking you do will get you in a better shape. It may not be perfect, but every bit counts. I am by now so weak from my accidents, that I have decided to start out again and build up my strength. You are so way ahead of me and you do inspire me. Just wanted to let you know.--Inger

Jabacue said...

Louise, that was a wonderful adventure you took us on! The pics were great, as usual. I never knew the difference between a fen and a bog....now I do. Thanks. Would love to get to that area some day.

Terry said...

Oh Louise, how lovely! I'm with you, that 18' deep bog is something else!

Madi and Mom said...

What beautiful pictures...I felt like I was right there with you......
Madi and Mom

Vicki Lane said...

Beautiful stroll! And now I know the difference between a bog and a fen!

barefootheart said...

I really enjoyed your guided tour! Very beautiful, lovely shots. I'll have to put the gondola ride on our to-do list for next year.

Ellen Rathbone said...

Yep, those are one of the closed gentians. I've never seen fringed up here, but I suppose there could be a hide-out somewhere that has them. I had to go to Saratoga to see them.

Paul Smiths VIC is the sister center to where I work. Both are closing. In fact, the 9th is the last day for the PSVIC - they have to pack up all the stuff inside and ship it to Albany. Newcomb will probably remain open longer - until the end of the year, or when staff are no longer available (found jobs elsewhere), whichever comes first.