Time Travel

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MikeK

Time Travel

Post by MikeK » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:56 pm

I'm interested in going back. Thing is, there's only a few places here in the east you can do so. I'm looking for more, ski destinations most likey - some may actually be easier to get to with 4' of snow (assuming that happens late January on) than during the summer months when one has to traverse swamps and mud, fend off mosquitoes and deer flies, and deal with near 100% humidity under the forest canopy.

Apparently most of this Wilderness area is old growth:

http://www.cnyhiking.com/PigeonLakeWilderness.htm

It's said that when the state bought it, it was almost entirely virgin forest except for the southern portion around Cascade Lake.

I've been darn near every point of interest in the southern and western parts of this territory, but I've not been much to the north and northeast.

I did find some reference that said there was a particularly impressive old growth section of White Pine near Pigeon Lake. I've been there about 20 years ago, but I don't recall any details... passed through. I don't even recall the lake itself and I recall many of the others.

Another area is Pine Orchard near Wells, NY. This is a very well known old growth Pine forest. I've been there in winter, but without snow, a few years back. It's an easy destination along a snowmobile trail, that I think doesn't get used much for sledding anymore.

The only other place I can think of is Paul Smith's College. Again another old growth White Pine stand. Easy to get to and xc ski trails all over that are maintained by the college.

Pigeon Lakes wilderness is really my area of interest right now... but I need to find out generally where the trees have survived storms and disease to give them their most ancient character.

Any info? Any other notable ancient forest in the east?

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Cannatonic
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Re: Time Travel

Post by Cannatonic » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:08 pm

wow Mike, that pigeon wilderness sounds amazing, there is some nice stuff in the western Adirondacks. It seems like there is a lot of old growth hanging around the 'dacks. I did a couple hiking trips in the high peaks and it looked like the upper elevations had never been logged. I wish the 'dacks were closer.

It's not a vast area or anything but there are pockets of old-growth trees on Mt. Greylock. I found some sections of it off the thunderbolt trail once by mistake. Huge trees, openly-spaced. There is probably more on the other side of Greylock, I'm sure any knowledge of good skiing over there is well-guarded by the locals.

here are a couple random spots in Western Mass. from my files:

>>>Mt. Everett western mass, has pitch-pine forest at top, 170 yrs old, one of only 3 in NE

>>>Mohawk Trail State Forest: biggest old growth trees in NE.

*edit - here we go, more Greylock info from Wikipedia - definitely worth exploring in a good snow year - sounds like most of the big trees are on the west side, opposite of T-bolt trail. apparently the Hopper is the big cirque on the west side:

>>>Researchers have identified 555 acres (2.25 km2) of old growth forest on the mountain. The steep western slopes (which include The Hopper) contain northern hardwood forest biome species up to 350 years old, including a 120-foot-tall (37 m) red spruce. Because of its extensive stands of red spruce old growth, The Hopper has been designated a National Natural Landmark.
"All wisdom is to be gained through suffering"
-Will Lange (quoting Inuit chieftan)

MikeK

Re: Time Travel

Post by MikeK » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:29 pm

Whoa cool! Yeah I definitely want to ski Greylock. My wife and I stopped in the Berks a few years back on the way to Boston and we both decided we need to come back to ski in that area. We haven't discussed it since but I need to put that on the radar and watch for when there is snow.

Pigeon Lake Wilderness is... wild. I ski out there every year. Did a canoe trip up to the Gull lakes earlier this spring. I'd like to go back up there with snow, but I need Big Moose Lake to freeze to be able to ski out there. It's really the only way to access some of the northeastern parts.

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Re: Time Travel

Post by Cannatonic » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:44 pm

a summer hike of the Hopper trail is needed to scope out the area! I've never set foot on that side of the mountain. Greylock is a great place, the views from the mountain are spectacular. It gets neglected because the White mtns. are the same distance from Boston. There's also a road that goes to the top, would be a good ski if there isn't much snow.
"All wisdom is to be gained through suffering"
-Will Lange (quoting Inuit chieftan)

MikeK

Re: Time Travel

Post by MikeK » Wed Dec 23, 2015 1:48 pm

Oh I forgot to add, even if they weren't logged, a lot of areas in Adirondacks burned due to the logging and drought. I think a lot of the High Peaks Wilderness is pretty young. Plus I think that type of forest resets itself a bit quicker because the environment is harsher - bigger storms and landslides.

You supposedly can tell the forest age by how much birch is present. Yellow and white birch aren't really part of the old growth forests of NY, and they a lot of them are starting to die off now - so that means the other forests are in the transition to old growth.

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Re: Time Travel

Post by Cannatonic » Wed Dec 23, 2015 2:03 pm

MikeK wrote:Oh I forgot to add, even if they weren't logged, a lot of areas in Adirondacks burned due to the logging and drought. I think a lot of the High Peaks Wilderness is pretty young. Plus I think that type of forest resets itself a bit quicker because the environment is harsher - bigger storms and landslides.

You supposedly can tell the forest age by how much birch is present. Yellow and white birch aren't really part of the old growth forests of NY, and they a lot of them are starting to die off now - so that means the other forests are in the transition to old growth.
interesting - yes, the trees don't get that big at higher elevations - but you can see the thick moss growth and other stuff on the ground that tells me it's never been logged or burned. So the birches get replaced in time - by softwoods? or other hardwoods? I thought dead birches meant the climate was warming, so I guess they also get naturally replaced by larger trees or softwoods as time goes on. It makes sense, maybe the spruce trees keep getting bigger and overtake the birches.
"All wisdom is to be gained through suffering"
-Will Lange (quoting Inuit chieftan)

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Re: Time Travel

Post by MikeK » Wed Dec 23, 2015 6:18 pm

You know Cliffy would be the guy to ask... It might be something to do with the climate, but I know from foresters in the area that birches weren't an 'original' species. I think they are native, but they tend to take over in areas that were burned or were planted in areas that were logged.

I can't recall the last big fire in the Adirondacks off the top of my head, but it was probably in the 19th century, so all that undergrowth and moss is recent. Some stuff was burned on purpose by Verplank Colvin when he surveyed the Adirondacks for the first time. A lot of summits. Maybe good for hikers and tourists but because the layer of organic soils is so thin, most never re vegetated due to continued wind and water erosion. Some summits, like Blue Mtn, were burned by Colvin's crew, but have recovered. The whole summit is scrubby spruce and you can't see anything unless you climb the tower enough to clear them.

The big peaks are different, they actually have treelines. I don't know if recall seeing it when you were in the HPs but you can see the lines of transition from mixed hardwood, to stunted spruce (krumholtz), to treeless alpine.

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Re: Time Travel

Post by Teleman » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:24 am

Greylock, @ 1988....Everything was heading South....Every stinkin storm....We were a buncha crybabies....wah, wah....A really big storm was hitting with a few inches up here and a total dump down there....First and only time I had a new car, a Chevy something 4 wheel drive truck....Called all the Boys....no go except Teleking just Joel then....He called Williams College and asked some students what the snow was like....They didn't know....nothing....Called North Adams State....."Snowing like a ......Greylock was on....14 inches on 91 and we would drive right up the snow plough tailpipe before seeing it.....Blizzard.....3 am....60 mph, new truck....music....energy bars of brownies.....Diner in Williamstown?....Got the skinny from a waitress....Did I mention it was snowing like.....Got to an abandoned ski area....Packs ready....Totally ready.... Some Old Guy tells us where to park for a better start.....First tracks....Up we went in 2 feet of powder soon to increase to between three and four feet.... No skins left them up North.....Wax wouldn't hold....Two big deals in our own minds heading up....total sweat balls....Saw a faint track where the Thunderbolt divided into another trail that also went to the top...A lean-to...Some College boys and we took off....they caught us and sped past on skins....Je....Gd...it....Oh no...We had to have first tracks....Gawd....Hands freezing up....went to my pack to get heavy duty dry gloves....Oh sh....had left the pack in the back of the truck....Got to the top put my hands in my pants...agony....the mass boys who we had been cursing for getting ahead gave me a warm pack and Teleking had another set of pitiful gloves that meant the world to me. We all pinned in they into cables, we into pins....Up on top there was at LEAST 4 feet of glorious powder....2000 verts of FIRST TRACKS....About 10 snows hoers had appeared....Teleking who needed glasses shot off and the shoers shuffled off to the side as best they could...Teleking did NOT see the gigantic drift...It was all white to him....He passed the snows hoers doing a high speed summersault....rippin!!!!!!!!!!!! I followed took a right and entered the Thunderbolt....Did one turn, stopped....King was ready and the two College boys were struggling....Yelled I needed to go as the fingers were numb....Pushed off to the best virgin trail ski I have ever had.....215 e99 ruled the day....Shot the Bolt....Arced where the trail arced shot where it went straight....Nothing but explosions.....a sea of powder....We stopped almost at the bottom to take a couple of pictures...Only two feet down there.....Felt bad about leaving the Youngsters....but it HAD to be done.....To this day have problems with my hands freezing up...but....it was well worth it....Even Chief Greylock would have smiled....perhaps he did!!!!! Teleman

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Re: Time Travel

Post by Woodserson » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:23 pm

TELEMAN for the WIN! I love your stories man, I needed that. YEAH stokeage!

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Re: Time Travel

Post by The Lovely Bear » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:26 pm

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