Sunday, October 18, 2009


October 17, 2009
Warren County Bike Path

This morning I awoke at the unfamiliar hour of 7 a.m. - for today was Trailapalooza !
Some friends and I planned an all-day walk on part of the Warren County Bike Path. I’ve walked sections of the trail between Queensbury and Lake George, but not all at once.
It’s a mostly flat, paved path -- something quite different than the type of trails at Moreau Park -- but for my companions, it was new territory. They were willing to walk and do some botanizing and birding along the way. We brought lunches, figuring it was about five miles to Lake George, the northern end of the Bike Path.

The same mood had hit us all: after the sensory overload that is Summer, it would be nice just to casually walk and see what there was to browse on. Oh, and several frosts had wiped out most of the flower display, anyway. We hoped to see mushrooms, seedpods, migrating birds, and fall colors.
It was 31 degrees at dawn, with yet another light frost on the ground. The forecast was for clouds and possible mixed precipitation by the end of the day. The forecast was pretty much wrong.

Jackie and Lindsey were my walking companions. Jackie would be our plant maven for today (she wisely brought a mushroom field guide and fern-finder); Lindsey is a whiz at locating birds (by sound and her keen eyesight); and I was along to mostly point to things and ask, “What’s that?”
Where the Path crosses the inlet to Glen Lake, the birds were lively as the sun came over the ridge. Grackles and a female redwinged blackbird :

We spotted a blue heron among the reeds, far out in the Fens. We could hear male redwinged blackbirds trilling, a sound full of spring memories. This redwing was as bundled up as we were, against the morning chill:

Ferns – of many varieties – were in their final days.

A few tough insect larvae were still inching along the pavement. We saved some from approaching bicyclists. A Woolly Bear munching on a woolly leaf:

The sun rose into a clear blue sky. The leaves were breathtaking.

The trail crosses small roads – passes back yards – runs along rocky brooks - and swings away into dark woods. It mostly follows the path of a railroad that ran northward from Glens Falls.
We found a nice moss-and-lichen garden growing in the railroad cinders.

We nibbled on ice-cold raspberries, blueberries, checkerberries, and some candy I had cached along the way. (My caching experiment was unfortunately, only 50% successful.)
We passed meandering brooks,

dark piney woods, and golden glades.

In some places, you are walking on the remains of the Old Military Road that connected two forts from the French & Indian War period. There’s a lot of history along here. James Fenimore Cooper used this setting for his fictionalized story of the fall of Fort William Henry (The Last of the Mohicans) but the real events happened right here.
These days, thankfully, it’s a much more peaceful place. The leaves blaze brightly, and gently fall, as they always have.

In fact, history has taken a back seat to the ridiculous, as we passed several tourist attractions near Lake George:
From a buffalo, realistic and mostly anatomically-correct – except for that SMILE

To a menacingly gigantic Uncle Sam (good thing those cables are holding him back!)

To a Paul Bunyan that was, frankly, creepy

I was grateful that the Path soon afterward plunged back into the real Magic Forest.

It was good to be with my friends a-walking - to see them in oh-so-typical poses:
Jackie has not fallen, she's getting one of her fabulous close-up photos

Lindsey, faithful as any monk, scribing her field notes

Toward the end of the trail, we saw a sign that expressed our theme for the day:

We reached Lake George, six hours after starting out. I think I’m already looking forward to the next Trailapalooza!


  1. What a treasure this blog post is to me! Each photo more beautiful than the last, recording so many highlights of our wonder-filled walk together. Thanks for planning this fun day, Sue, and thanks for this chronicle of it. We should do this in every season.

  2. Yes, I hope you all do this again. I certainly enjoyed the walk and your fantastic photos. The beginning one is priceless.