Hiking

Forest near Thayer Brook

Forest near Thayer Brook

Appalachian Trail south of Kent, Connecticut.

I don’t often shoot straight into a dense forest but this scene had so much going on I thought I’d give it a try.

This is the forest right near Thayer Brook which the Appalachian Trail crosses south of Rt. 341 and Kent, Connecticut. Many times this place (it also has large tulip trees that I like to photograph) is my final destination but this day I continued down to Bull’s Bridge, hiking the entire eight miles of Schaghticoke Ridge which is a tough hike.

Given that my truck was up at the start of my hike on Rt. 341 and I was on my own, I had to text my wife to pick me up and drive me back to my truck. Good thing she was home and available, otherwise it would have been a long day.

Abstract water patterns

Abstract water patterns

On the Appalachian Trail south of Kent, Connecticut.

I hiked south on the Appalachian Trail from Rt. 341 in Kent to Bull’s Bridge along Schaghticoke Ridge.

There was moving water in all of the streams and while Thayer Brook is the biggest one and has the most photo ops or moving water, this small stream at the southern end of the ridge proved better for these kinds of abstract moving water shots.

Hiking north to south I was going against the grain of the 30+ thru hikers I passed along the 8 mile tough stretch of trail. I’ve never seen that many thru hikers in a day before and I was told that the big bubble of them is moving into Connecticut this week so there will be at least this many every day for a week or two. I’ll see them again up in Massachusetts as I maintain a section up there too.

I stepped over a large downed tree (we call it a “step over”) that will need to be cleaned up and there was a “leaner” that forces the taller hikers to bend over to get under it. That too will need to be pulled down and cut up. That’s another trip in the next few days with more tools than a camera.

Haley Farms fields

Looking toward Mt. Greylock from Haley Farms

Looking toward Mt. Greylock from Haley Farms

Haley Farms Trail, Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts.

I met my old hiking partner Dave (who lives in Vermont now) for a hike up the Hopper Trail to the top of Greylock and down the Haley Farms trail. We’ve done this hike countless times before in every season including on snow shoes. Great hike and we were so busy talking and catching up neither of us took many pictures.

The grass in the field had a nice softness to it so I took two shots, one looking back toward Greylock and one looking the other way toward the trail head. The softness brought to mind an Andrew Wyeth painting.

The Ricoh GR continues to amaze me with its ability to pick up detail I’ve not seen other compact cameras pick up. Now, if it would stop picking up dust on its sensor I’d be even happier.

Haley Farms field

Haley Farms field

On Mt. Russell

Test Go Pro

My flickr contact Lady on a Rock (Christy Rosander) took this great panorama with a GoPro Hero 3 camera. I think it turned out quite well and gives a great sense of the exposure on that ridge which as I remember is significant (I was there over 30 years ago).

I follow her hiking blog (one of the better ones) at Lady on a Rock. Here’s her post on her Mt. Russell climb: Climbing Mount Russell: The Beast.

Christy isn’t a climber and Mt. Russell doesn’t involve roped climbing, but traversing that exposed ridge to get to the summit is quite an amazing feat as you can see in her images of the hike. Mt. Russell is just north of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the “lower 48” and both Russell and Whitney are over 13,000 feet which means you really feel it when you’re up there.

Christy and her family are extremely strong hikers as you’ll get a sense of in reading through her hiking weblog.

In my youth, I climbed the east face of Mt. Whitney (an easy but long roped climb) and Mt. Russell by the same route Christy took and I remember having an altitude headache for much of the time.

Go Christy!

Walk over Ten Mile Mountain

Swamp reflection

Swamp reflection near Rt. 55 and the New York border

Gaylordsville, Connecticut.

We hiked the Appalachian Trail between Hoyt Rd, on the New York/Connecticut border to Bull’s Bridge over Ten Mile Mountain with one of the heads of the Connecticut Appalachian Mountain Club. I’ve decided to take this section of trail, closer to my house and with this club which, amazingly since I live in Connecticut, I’ve not worked with before.

It’s a great section, about 4 miles long with plenty of photo ops along the way, including this nice swamp on the southern end and the Housatonic River (which is very low now) on the northern end.

I’m still maintaining the Race Brook Falls trail for the Berkshire AMC as well.

If I’m not fit this summer with plenty of new images, I’m not doing my job.

Housatonic River at Bull's Bridge

Housatonic River at Bull’s Bridge

Oak tree on Ten Mile Mountain

Oak tree on Ten Mile Mountain

Ten Mile Mountain, Bull’s Bridge, Connecticut.

We went for a hike on the Appalachian Trail south from Bull’s Bridge up to Ten Mile Mountain. Once I started looking at these gnarly oak trees through my camera I thought I remembered shooting them a while back but I can’t find the images now so thought I’d post this one.

This is the Ricoh GR’s high contrast black and white filter with the grain added. The RAW had more detail but I liked what the grain did to this image so used this one. It’s more dramatic.

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook above the falls

Race Brook Falls Trail, Southwest Massachusetts.

This was our first hike on this trail in a long while without snowshoes or micro spikes. There were patches of ice in places but it was easily traversed without slipping.

Race Brook was running high because of the snow melt which is just the way I like it.

These two shots were taken on Race Brook above the upper waterfall which is about one hundred yards behind me.

I’ve taken many images along this part of the brook when the water is high because it has just enough drop to create interesting micro-rapids and an occasional small waterfall.

The Ricoh GR wide angle lens attachment helped create a more dramatic landscape by capturing the forest on either side of the brook.

Race Brook above the falls

Ice patterns

Ice patterns

Appalachian Trail, south end of Schaghticoke Ridge.

Nora and I used micro-spikes to hike three miles up the south end of the ridge to a small stream I’ve photographed ice on before, hoping to get a few ice shots this year. The hike was great although we had to push it because of the incoming snow storm. And, the stream did not disappoint; it was loaded with ice formations which it has taken me a while to sort through.

Distorted tree reflection

Distorted tree reflection

Appalachian Trail, south end of Schaghticoke Ridge.

This is further up a small stream I photograph ice on on the south end of Schaghticoke Ridge.

When water is moving slowly over a small waterfall, the lip of the fall sometimes produces a nice distorted reflection of the trees behind it. You have to look carefully to find these but they’re fun to attempt to capture once you do.

Beech on snow

Beech on snow

Appalachian Trail, Kent, Connecticut.

There are a few beech trees next to Thayer Brook and they tend to hold at least some of their dried leaves all winter. When those leaves fall on the snow they look quite nice and while it might have been interesting to leave the light tan color in this, I liked how the leaf looked in monochrome with the reflective snow, almost translucent.

The tree that probably dropped this leaf is big enough so bears climb it for nuts in season. We call trees with bear claw marks on them “bear trees” and always inspect any beeches we see near the trail for bear claw marks. Of course, always good to look up to make sure the bear isn’t still up there.