Natural History

A great time of year for a hike Fall is made for hiking. It possesses the perfect mix of pleasantries — leaf color, pleasant temperatures, and no bugs — that appeals to time outside. So when a couple friends of mine came to visit the other weekend, we hit the trail. That started with an afternoon hike up Baker Mountain, but our longer, planned hike came the following morning when we... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Dog Friendly, Fall, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Saranac Lake 6er, Summer, Wildlife
The End of a Beautiful Day A splendid summer afternoon was turning to evening as Wren and I pushed off onto the waters of Lake Clear Outlet – one of my favorite local paddles. As I almost always do when I paddle, I skirted the outline of the waterbody, hoping to find birds and other wildlife tucked along the edge of the water. After all, the outlet is outlined in many places with a marshy... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Paddling, Summer, Wildlife
The Saranac Chain of Lakes packs a lot of special Adirondack fun into six lakes and two ponds. Launch from the town boat dock on Lake Flower and watch the Victorian homes and small family camps fade into the mostly uninhabited Oseetah Lake. Paddlers here will find plenty of options for exploration. Follow the western shore of Oseetah to discover a river that leads to Kiwassa Lake, or... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Natural History, Outdoor Recreation
I thought I was moving to Saranac Lake for the mountains. I wanted easy access to trails, and to be able to find precious solitude at a moment’s notice. I dreamed of spending my free time exploring every inch of forest, marveling at the plants and creatures who dwell there. And that’s all true — those things were exactly why I moved to Saranac Lake. But once I left the forest, a strange and... [Read More]
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Author:Shaun Kittle
Categories:Arts, Cultural, Dining, Events, Historic Downtown, Music, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Saranac Lake 6er, Shopping, Summer
A beautiful morning It was a sunny and warming morning when Wren, my dog, and I set off along the Bloomingdale Bog Trail to do some birding. We had walked the north end of the trail off Route 55 in Bloomingdale the previous week to check out the Gray Jays, but on this day we were hiking from the south entrance off Route 86 north of Saranac Lake. Wren and I often walk there, but my plan on this... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
Submitted by guest writer Carol L. Douglas It’s the wilderness that draws us, so we draw the wilderness. I’ve painted in tough locations, including on the deck of an ocean-going schooner, in the desert, and above the Arctic Circle. Yet there is no place more exciting or challenging for the plein air painter than New York’s Adirondacks. The landscape dares the painter to leave his car and... [Read More]
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Author:Anonymous
Categories:Arts, Natural History, Summer
Rainy day fun Rainy weather didn’t stop us from having fun in the woods when I helped out with a Lake Placid Middle School field trip at the Paul Smith’s College VIC. Thankfully the steady rain abated early in the day and we were left with mostly damp and misty conditions. Students alternated between stations to look at stream invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, and... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Family fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
Adirondack hiking is rightly famous for its millions of acres of rugged wilderness. Isn't hiking about getting out into nature? Isn't "luxury hiking" a contradiction in terms? Not when we are hiking at the Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center, a short drive from Saranac Lake. It's hiking in ways the whole family can appreciate. Known locally as "the VIC," this project was developed in... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Arts, Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, Family fun, foliage, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation
A Chilly Start to Spring While winter held off the arrival of spring this year with both hands, warm weather is finally coming on in full force – and birds are coming with it. After all, even with the chilly weather we’ve had this spring, birds have been on the move – with ducks like Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Lesser Scaup, and both Hooded and Common Mergansers on Lake Flower... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Events, Family fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Paddling, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
Chilly Spring Weather While it may not have been welcomed by many folks, my skis and I were happy about the chilly weather we had for much of March and April. I was out skiing and enjoying the snow as much as I could. But, when the weather turned warmer and finished off the cross-country skiing season, it ushered in spring birding and I happily set aside my skis for my... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Wildlife, winter
In the microclimate of Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), I find myself in a winter wonderland, as if a Hollywood special effects crew came through and sprayed and hosed down the vast landscape with deep, sticky, fake snow, but this is real stuff here - natural.    An Intimate Museum    Enter here and walk through time and see how... [Read More]
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Author:Troy Thomas
Categories:Birding, Conservation, Cross Country Skiing, Exhibits, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Snowshoe, winter
Blue Skies and a Day of Birding With a beautiful blue winter sky above us, my brother, nephew, and I set out the other day to enjoy some boreal birding in the Bloomingdale Bog Complex north of Saranac Lake. The afternoon was forecast to turn rainy (ugh) anyway, so we wanted to enjoy the snow and winter before that happened. And for those of us who aren't yet ready for spring, this is the... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Fall, Family fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Snowshoe, Wildlife, winter
A Change in the Fortunes of the Weather Let’s be honest. January was a frustrating month in the Olympic Region for anyone who loves skiing and winter sports. Check that – January was a wildly frustrating month for anyone who enjoys such activities. Our variable and constantly changing temperatures gave us rain and warmth followed by frigid drops which froze everything solid – it was no fun for... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Cross Country Skiing, Dog Friendly, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Skiing, Wildlife, winter
Turns out, maple syrup has a connection with Mark Twain. At least it does now. Mark Twain Mapleworks is a sugarhouse on the shores of Ampersand Bay on Lower Saranac, part of the same complex where Mark Twain stayed for the summer of 1901. It's utterly appropriate, as it turns out. A list of "Mark Twain's Favorite Foods" reads: maple syrup, cranberries, raccoon, garden produce, canvasback... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Family fun, Heritage, Natural History, Spring
Monitoring the snow depth The beginning of ski season is often a game of figuring out how much snow depth we have and how much snow coverage is needed to explore certain trails. So early season skis tend to be on open trails and fields which catch more snowfall – unless the wind is pushing it off. With the depth of our snow increasing of late and with the storm late last week, Wren (my four... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Cross Country Skiing, Dog Friendly, Family fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Skiing, Wildlife, winter
Winter is Finally Here! It took a long time to show up this year with our crazy warm fall, but winter weather has finally started to arrive in the northern Adirondacks. Our recent wet weather aside, little by little we’ve built up some snow as evidenced by my regular need to shovel. It all makes Wren, my four-legged companion, excited as she plays with her tennis ball in the snow... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Dog Friendly, Family fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Skiing, Wildlife, winter
Submitted by Guest Blogger: Kathy Barlow Ten Reasons to be grateful in and around Saranac Lake This year, after a rainy (and cool) spring and summer, autumn gave birth to warm days, cool nights, and a festival of colors in the mountains. The extended good weather gave us more opportunities to take advantage of all our area has to offer. Now, as the days are getting shorter and the stars... [Read More]
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Author:Guest Blogger
Categories:Heritage, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Wellness
A Quick Hike If time to fit in a hike is short, then Mount Baker is always a good bet. After all, it is only about a mile to the summit, and it offers a rewarding view for the effort. And so, with a few friends in town in search of an easy hike, Baker was our choice. Colors and Birds Wren led us up the trail, through a golden beech forest on the backside of the mountain.... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Fall, foliage, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Saranac Lake 6er, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
It’s that time of year It sometimes takes a bit to get going, but the fall migration in the Adirondacks has been underway for a while, and it has been a lot of fun as of late. Our drippy weather the past few weeks has helped as well — the birds often actively feed down low on such days and are not being flushed south by strong north winds. Walking along Lake Colby A little over... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Fall, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Summer, Wildlife
Another year of the GABC Every year, the transition from spring into summer in the Adirondacks is marked by the Great Adirondack Birding Festival (GABC), hosted by the Paul Smith’s College VIC. I once again helped lead a couple of trips, and as usual I led the hunt for birds in Madawaska. It is one of my favorite places to explore in the region, and a place that I am always looking for an... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Conservation, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
A changing landscape Spring is an amazing time of transition in the Saranac Lake Region of the Adirondacks. For the past few weeks Wren and I have been exploring it on our daily – and often twice daily – walks, monitoring the changes as they’ve been happening. Even as the woods remained filled with snow, the indications of spring were everywhere. Here are a few highlights of our... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Family fun, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Spring, Wildlife, winter
Deep SnowIt's spring and the Adirondacks are, predictably, unpredictable. Recently we've had a few amazing snow falls alternating with warm spring days. There's no guarantee how long the snow will last, or if another storm will grace us before the warm weather firmly settles in the mountains. For now, I'll take advantage of the snow that's still here, and although not the popular vote - I wouldn'... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
Is it possible that one of the world's oldest sweeteners could turn out to be one of the healthiest? New research is shedding light on the possibilities of one of the world's oldest treats; maple syrup.Maple has been enjoyed in the Adirondacks for almost as long as people have been here. The very first settlers were Native Americans who treasured maple, both for its natural deliciousness and also... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Spring, Natural History, Dining, Conservation
A Tantalizing ForecastI noticed the prediction for snow over a week in advance — my work and interests require me to check the weather regularly. But then forecasters played with our hearts and minds, increasing the projection for snow the one day, only to drop it the next.Accurately foreseeing the weather (and something as specific as snowfall) is a difficult thing to do, no matter how solid the... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Snowshoe, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Events, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
Deep SnowSnow had been falling here seemingly every day for a few weeks, punctuated by a few big storms which rapidly increased its measure in the woods. With each day, Wren and I had been taking full advantage of the bounty, going on snow-filled walks and practicing our animal tracking skills, while I attempted photos of snowy landscapes.Last week we tried to combine those activities when we set... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
The Time of Year to Count Birds While many of our regional Christmas Bird Counts occur closer to Christmas, the Saranac Lake count happens near the New Year and I was able to help with it again this year. The count is popular with local birders because it covers both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid and because it also covers Bloomingdale Bog, Bigelow Road, and some of the boreal habitats... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Cross Country Skiing, Events, Family fun, Hiking, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Snowshoe, Wildlife, winter
A Welcome Reprieve After Holiday SicknessAfter battling sickness through the holidays, I was ready to head out into the woods once I began to feel better. As a result, the timing was good for the Saranac Lake Christmas Bird Count – this year held on New Year’s Day. The day sent birders across a count area which included both Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, and as I was given a portion of the count... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Events, Birding
Birds on the MindWhile a certain bird was on the minds of most people last month with the Thanksgiving holiday, Wren and I were out each day trying our luck to see what other birds we could find. With the recent cold front bringing snow and north winds, I was hoping it would reverse our fortunes of the previous week when warm air from the south stopped many things – particularly waterfowl - from... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Fall, Birding
A Shifting Mix of DucksAs always this time of year, the birds Wren and I see on our walks change daily, and it is always enjoyable to see what we will find. That means I have to get out as much as I can and Wren is good about not allowing me to forget to do so. Lake Colby is always a happening place this time of year, and once again it has not disappointed us this year. Ducks use the backside of... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Fall, Birding
Warm Fall DaysSoaking everything we could out of our recent warm days, Wren and I paddled Lake Clear Outlet the other evening. The sun shined through the glowing trees as we wound our way along Forest Home Road to the small put-in on the side of the road. Forest Home is one of those windy, forest-lined roads everyone should drive in fall. Wren sat in the car while I unloaded the gear and we set... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, foliage, Fall, Dog Friendly, Birding
An Exciting Time of YearMy busy schedule doesn’t always allow me to get outside as often or for as long as I’d like. But I crave my daily walks in the woods and Wren makes certain I don’t leave them off my to-do list. That’s fine by me because it not only gets me outside, but outside with my binoculars at a time of year when many species of birds are on the move. The great thing about fall is... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Fall, Birding
Saranac Lake has a unique attraction which is readily accessible for almost everyone. It's like a village. Made of boulders.The McKenzie Pond Boulder Trail is just a few minutes from town, but has so much to offer. Whether we are looking for a quick and scenic hike or we are brushing up on our rock climbing skills, this easy trail, which is also easily accessible, is a delightful destination.It... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun
Hunting for a Tough SpeciesA friend of mine contacted me about the potential of finding Philadelphia Vireo in the Spring Pond Bog area north of Tupper Lake (and west of Lake Clear and the Floodwood Road area). He had thought he heard one and wanted me to come along some time to help him find it. I was able to join him a couple weeks later and we wound through the large complex toward the location... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Birding
Rain, Rain, Rain…And More RainNot every day of the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration was as perfect as the Osgood River paddle on Saturday. But, looking back on that fun weekend, we'd do it all over again.Sunday’s weather was the complete opposite of the beautiful day before. In fact, I had noted the thin wispy cirrus clouds moving overhead during our paddle - marking a change in the weather.... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Events, Birding
Spring Temperature FluctuationsSpring seemed to come in a hurry to the Tri-Lakes Region this year. It had already been a tough year for cross-country skiing, and I had to put my skis away for good in March. The last two years I skied into the middle of April. But open water on the lakes and warm temps meant I could find ducks moving through and stopping over on places like Lake Colby in Saranac... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Birding
The sap is flowing in Saranac Lake! The Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center has a classic maple syrup operation on the premises. I visited for the first Maple Syrup weekend of the season, but no worries if you missed out - there's still time to plan on visiting for the second weekend! This year it will take place on April 2 & 3, 2016.The colder areas of the North American continent... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Spring, Natural History, Family fun, Events, Conservation
Signs of SpringWhile winter has not yet been sent packing from our forecasts here in the Adirondacks, its rather light grip on us this year has been getting pried free by warm temperatures and fingers of sunlight. They have melted almost all of our snow and are now pressing on our frozen lakes to thaw. And our earliest arriving birds are responding to the cues.Blackbirds and SongA couple of weeks... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Birding
Flocks of Feeding BirdsWinter birding across the region often involves searching for specialty birds which migrate to our area or linger during the cold months. With our warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and others long gone, this usually means we are looking for flocks of birds – many of which visit yards and bird feeders to help get them through this lean time of year.Bohemian Waxwings Have Been... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Birding
A Sluggish StartIt's a fact that our cross-country skiing season did not start quickly or with a lot of snow this year. While we have a had a few great days in mid-January, they've been followed by an icy, rainy affair with little white powder left to help hide the hard, silver ice beneath. Take a misstep and you soon find out that our snow in many places has only been a veneer which hides slick... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
The Thing Everyone Wants to DoWhenever anyone comes to visit me in Saranac Lake there is always one thing on their to-do list: feed the Gray Jays along the Bloomingdale Bog Trail. They are a sought-after boreal species which draw many birders to our area, but more than that they are simply fun to observe. So whether it is my birding brothers looking for species they can’t find at home or my niece... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly, Birding
Birds on the MoveAt this time of year I pay special attention to the birds migrating through the various lakes of our region, and each day finds Wren and me out somewhere to see what’s on the move. My favorite place to check in the fall is the railroad tracks along Lake Colby in Saranac Lake where the waterfowl migration is just beginning to pick up. While the past several weeks have been good... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Fall, Birding
Once upon a time, all an avid hunter needed was an Adirondack Guide and a campfire. The storied abundance of local hunting and fishing were an early attraction bringing visitors to our wilderness. This was especially true once W.H.H. Murray (aka Adirondack Murray) wrote "Adventures in the Wilderness," which was published in 1869.The six million acres of the Adirondack Park still offer a... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Wildlife, Natural History, Hunting, Fall, Conservation
Hanging onto SummerWith our current change in weather on the way, Wren and I set out to enjoy one of the last warm days of the fall. I wanted to paddle, so we went to Little Green Pond where we parked and immediately set out for a hike. Wren does not particularly like being confined to the canoe so I wanted to let her run around and play for a while before we paddled. We hiked along Little Clear... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, foliage, Fall, Dog Friendly, Birding
One of My Favorite Times of YearWhile our recent warm weather and the general southerly flow of air had seemed to slow the arrival of migrants through the region, the last few days have really picked up the pace. It has added a great deal of excitement to my daily walks with Wren, and these mixed flocks of migrants and dispersing birds make the late summer one of my favorite times of year to go... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Fall, Birding
All Sorts of Sizes, Shapes, and ColorsWhile I spend a lot of my time in the late summer enjoying the shapes and colors of migrating birds as they pass through our region, I also love to botanize as I hike, checking out the kaleidoscope of wildflowers which grace our trails and fields this time of year. And so if I’m not searching for birds, I’m often hiking with Wren and snapping shots of flowers... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Summer, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, foliage, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly
A Morning Start on a Hot DayWith another hot day coming, Wren and I headed out for a morning paddle on Jones Pond before the sun began to bake the landscape. The day was cool, but rapidly warming as I prepared for our outing, listening to a singing Blue-headed Vireo and White-throated Sparrow. As I fiddled with my gear, I chatted with a couple from Georgia who were camping in one of the campsites... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Birding
Great Weather for Paddling! With so much warm, sunny weather of late, I have been itching to get out paddling with Wren. As a result, I’ve been driving around with my canoe on my car to make such adventures quicker to organize since the loading process can sometimes delay things. So with my boat pre-loaded, Wren and I were out fairly early the other day to check out the paddling and birding... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Birding, Dog Friendly, Natural History, Outdoor Recreation, Paddling, Spring, Summer, Wildlife
A Great Place for an Evening PaddleI made sure to take my nieces and nephew paddling the other week when they came to visit – it's an integral part of an Adirondack adventure, after all. Lake Colby is a great spot for an easy outing, so we all loaded into my large boat and set off. My niece Emily paddled in the bow, I was in the stern, and Rebecca and Tyler sat on Crazy Creek chairs in the middle... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
A High Diversity Time of YearOne of the best things about spring and early summer in the Adirondacks is the diversity of birds that can be found in our area during a simple walk. My walks are almost always taken with Wren who wants nothing more than to run, play, and swim all the time. More than that, her high energy level requires that I take her out regularly and I am compelled to go out even... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Birding
First Hike of the SpringWith our snow melted and ski season over, it was time for Wren and I to take our inaugural hike of the season. We’ve been walking at places like the Bloomingdale Bog Trail and the railroad tracks behind Lake Colby, but we hadn’t done a proper hike yet this spring. And Baker Mountain is a great place to break in the hiking season.The sun and clouds had staged a skirmish... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
Ringing Telephones in My YardI’ve been waking each morning of late to the jingling song of Dark-eyed Juncos which have been filling my yard and gorging on bird seed. I kept a few juncos around through much of the winter, but as spring has pushed in from the south they have followed in numbers. Then a new song was added to their ringing telephone chorus early last week. A Fox Sparrow – a migrant... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Birding
Come to the Adirondacks. Where every day is Earth Day!Saranac Lake has some delightful lodging choices in the midst of all our nature. Our properties have often been in the family for generations, were built to fit into unique geographic features, and are all about participating in our Great Outdoors -- from anywhere. easy being GreenAudubon rarely bestows their highest Eco Lodging... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Wellness, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Conservation
Cold Weather BirdingWinter birding in Saranac Lake and the rest of the Adirondacks often revolves around finding resident boreal species – not a bad consolation for a cold walk. And so, Wren and I have been out throughout the winter to find species like Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee. The past month has also brought Bohemian Waxwings – a winter specialty – from the north... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Spring, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Birding
Does Bigfoot live in the Adirondacks? Or is he just here for a vacation?While discussions about Bigfoot can seem rather recent in our United States history, Native Americans have talked about Sasquatch for hundreds of years. Often considered a West Coast phenomenon, sightings have also appeared all over the Adirondacks, from Saranac Lake in the north to a famous sighting in Whitehall, in the... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Wildlife, Trail Running, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking
What is Adirondack style?It is a relaxed blending of the natural world with classic comfort elements. It was developed in the rugged wilderness, when a few innovative people arrived who were not intent on conquering and subduing the forces of nature. Instead, Adirondack style embraces and appreciates it. It is a way of seeking a partnership with nature.ArchitectureThis difference exhibited itself... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:Wellness, Natural History, Heritage, Cultural, Conservation
Using the Long Weekend to Go BirdingMy brother Dave recently took advantage of the long weekend and came up for some winter birding in our area. Saturday’s weather offered up light snow showers, but warmer temperatures than we’ve had of late, and we headed out with Wren to Bigelow Road to start our day. Despite the pleasant temperature, the road was quiet, although we did hear a Boreal Chickadee... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Birding
Lots of Snow So We Can PlayAs usual, Wren and I have been cross-country skiing on a regular basis this winter as our snow, once a bit thin, has been piling up. One of our favorite places to go is the network of trails off of the Fish Pond Trail in Lake Clear. The trails there are designated cross-country skiing trails and they wind through beautiful deciduous and mixed forest and around the... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
Looking for Exciting Winter BirdsWinter birding in this region is often a game of looking for very specific species, rather than it being about seeing lots of species in a single day. This year has been predicted to be a good year for Common Redpolls arriving from the north, but it has been difficult to find redpolls during the beginning of the winter. In the past week or so that has begun to... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Dog Friendly, Birding
New Snow, New TracksAs the day warmed from its initially cold beginning, Wren and I took an afternoon this week to hike into the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area from the Haystack Mountain Trailhead along Route 86 in Ray Brook. The day had started out not only cold, but clear and blue. Gradually the clouds drifted in to blot out the sun before we departed, but the afternoon was pleasant, and the... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Dog Friendly
The unique geography of the Adirondacks has created some distinctive cultural traditions. The remote location, rugged beauty, and abundant wilderness led the small village of Saranac Lake into ways of life we still observe today.Celebrate with us!WINTER CARNIVALOne thing we must have in our Winter Carnival is the Ice Palace -- our term for the amazing structure we create as a focus for the... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:winter, Summer, Natural History, Family fun, Events, Dog Friendly, Arts
Saranac Lake is a great place for learning and renewal. As a new year begins, let's make plans now for special ways of revamping ourselves. We can use the village's unique Adirondack charms to meet our personal improvement needs.New Year's Day has a tradition of being the holiday where people decide they are going to make themselves do things they don't really want to do. By the end of January... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:winter, Wellness, Summer, Snowshoe, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Arts
A Perfect Day for Photos The icy, mixed precipitation we’ve had recently has coated the forests in the North Country white, and I was excited by the prospect of a bright, sunny day to head out with Wren and my camera for photos. We woke early on a clear cold morning and after allowing the temperature to raise a touch, I layered up, grabbed my snowshoes, and we set out into a blindingly white... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Dog Friendly
Heading to ScarfaceIt had been a little while since I had been there, so the other day Wren and I grabbed my snowshoes and headed to the Scarface Mountain Trail in Ray Brook. My usual choice for winter activity is cross country skiing. But, I often find that I am more observant of my surroundings when I’m on foot, since I’m able to take my time. This means I don’t have to focus on the terrain so... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
A Cold and Snowy Time of YearWith the holidays and colder months of the year looming, some folks may think that birding in our area has gone into hibernation with many of our mammal species. But in fact the winter months can be a great time to explore the quiet, white woods, and it can be a particularly good time to search for boreal species of birds. After all, while most of our species migrate... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Dog Friendly, Birding
Snow has been FallingThe almost daily snowfalls of the past week have quickly transformed our landscape to look a bit like February, and as I walked Wren the other day I realized it might be worth swapping my boots for skis. And so, we headed out in the evening to the North end of the Bloomingdale Bog Trail. The sky was mostly clear and the air was cold as we set out; me on my old, beater, rock... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing, Birding
A Daily Walk On an almost daily basis this time of year, Wren and I can be found walking along the railroad tracks on the backside of Lake Colby in Saranac Lake. Despite the beat-up nature of some of the tracks, it is a picturesque location and with fewer fishermen there this time of year than there are during the warmer months, we generally have the walk to ourselves. Colby is an easy spot... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly, Birding
A Time of Transformation We all look forward to the change of leaf color which so defines this time of year in the Adirondacks. It is, after all, an amazing phenomenon and one of the most incredible events to witness in the entire world! Our cool nights and recent cold fronts have already started the process of changing our leaves and the past week has found that transition happening quickly... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildflowers, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, foliage, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly
Horseback riding is a wonderful way to experience our Saranac Lake wilderness. We see Adirondack forest from a new perspective, get the benefit of a guided tour, and experience nature with a large animal companion. Emerald Springs Ranch, in nearby Lake Clear, has extensive trails and friendly horses. They are all Registered Quarter Horses, born and raised on the ranch. During the rider... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:winter, Wildflowers, Wellness, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, foliage, Family fun, Fall
Enjoying summer to the endThe final summery days of the season are gold for us all and so Wren and I took advantage of a splendid afternoon earlier this week and set out for Little Green Pond. We started with a swim and as we approached the sandy beach area, I noticed two distant Hooded Mergansers flying along the far shore of the lake. I threw the ball a few times for Wren who plunged in after... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly
Shorebirds in the ParkWhile the Champlain Valley rightfully gets the most attention in our region as the place to search for sandpipers and other shorebirds, some shorebirds do invariably make their way south through the central part of the Park. It’s just a matter of finding them since they don’t stay around for long. For instance, over the weekend while I was out looking for warblers along Lake... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Fall, Birding
Bring your binoculars and cameraDuring the late summer and early fall I make a point to be out with my binoculars everyday – in the morning if I can manage it. After all, it is during this time of year that migrant songbirds are flocking up and passing through our region. And so each day usually begins with me grabbing my binoculars and camera – not to mention Wren – and heading to a local trail... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly, Birding
The LoonsCommon Loons were already calling from the water as I unloaded the car at Little Clear Pond. As usual Wren was exploring the water and beach area and she kept bringing sticks for me to throw into the lake. After a few throws and after I had toted everything down to the water, we headed out.A pair of Common Loons sat a few hundred meters out with their large, charcoal gray chick. All... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly
The most exciting thing – at least from Wren’s perspective - about the paddle we took on Moose Pond in Bloomingdale this week was the tennis ball she found at the boat launch. I unloaded gear while she played with the ball in the sandy gravel, shoveling it between her legs and then chasing it. Once I was unloaded and ready to push off, I gave her a few throws into the water and she happily... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, foliage, Fishing, Family fun, Fall, Dog Friendly
2nd Largest Peat Land in the ADKSSince Spring Pond Bog is the second largest peat land in the Adirondacks, it offers birders an array of habitats for finding species. I’ve led an annual birding trip there with The Wild Center the past few years and we once again took a trip to Spring Pond this year as well.The birds were initially quiet, but we were soon adding species in the coniferous forests... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Wildflowers, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Birding
Birds of All Kinds Flock HereThis past weekend I helped lead trips for the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration (the GABC) held at the Paul Smith’s College VIC (Visitor Interpretive Center). In its 12th year, the event brought together birders from across the northeast and even other parts of the country as they explored the region on a variety of field trips. I led the trips into Madawaska, a... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Birding
This week I was in search of an activity during which I could take advantage of our recent late morning and afternoon breeze. This is the time of year when the black flies come out and the wind may be the best repellent I have found so far. The weather was great and I headed to Lake Colby in Saranac Lake, which is my go-to paddle when my time is limited.I unloaded my boat from the car and grabbed... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Spring, Paddling, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly, Birding
 Bog Trekking and BirdwatchingThis past weekend I helped lead a trip into Massawepie Mire, the largest bog in the Adirondacks. Massawepie is an enormous complex of habitats centering on the bog which is accessed via an old railroad bed. My co-leader and I met our group in a parking area surrounded by mixed deciduous forest and we began our day by listening to species like Red-eyed Vireo,... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Wildlife, Summer, Spring, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hiking, Family fun, Conservation, Birding
Top Winter Activies List in Saranac Lake NYFamily fun is easy in Saranac Lake. No matter what size, shape, or attention span that family might have.Whatever the weather, we have activities to help everyone explore winter at their own pace. Share our amazing wildlife up close, slide down a snowy mountain, and ride our indoor carousel.Don't worry about what to do with the kids. From their first... [Read More]
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Author:Pamela Merritt
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Family fun, Dog Friendly
In my mind, one of the best parts of winter is getting outdoors to experience and learn about our amazing natural environment here in the Adirondacks. Events that center around learning about the natural Adirondacks can be experienced at:the Visitor interpretive centerIn addition to the wonderful exhibits, live birds and trail system at the Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), the facility... [Read More]
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Author:Sue Cameron
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Natural History, Historic Downtown, Family fun, Exhibits, Events, Cultural, Birding, Arts
            Snow covered landscapes the world over have a few things in common.  They are white.  They are generally cold – recently true around here.  And they are quiet.              The day following our recent snow storm Wren and I skied north from the north... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:Dog Friendly, Snowshoe, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, winter, Wildlife
            As what The Weather Channel was calling Winter Storm Boreas was bearing down on us, many folks were apprehensive about their Thanksgiving travel plans.  On the other hand, others of us were excited about the possibility of some snow and the chance to get out cross country skiing.  Thanksgiving morning dawned clear and... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Snowshoe, Skiing, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Fall, Dog Friendly, Cross Country Skiing
            We have once again reached the time of year when turkey is in the forefront of our minds and in the center of our plates, and it is worth considering the Wild Turkey which makes the Adirondacks and New York State its home.  Turkeys range across much of the country and all of the state and are common in the region.  I... [Read More]
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Author:Alan Belford
Categories:winter, Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation, Natural History, Hunting, Family fun, Fall, Conservation

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Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Submitted by guest writer, Elisabeth Marchbanks I must admit, fall is my favorite season in the Adirondacks. As the air becomes crisper and the leaves start to change their color, I can’t help but...
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A great time of year for a hike Fall is made for hiking. It possesses the perfect mix of pleasantries — leaf color, pleasant temperatures, and no bugs — that appeals to time outside. So when...
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