Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 18

blue mountain lights

Today we got the last of the indoor plants off the porch and inside, along with a few spiders. No matter how careful we are, those daddy long legs seem to hide somewhere in the plants. We even had a Luna moth caterpillar on the rabbit foot fern. The only reason I found him was because I saw his dropping on the rug and found him munching on one of the fronds. I put him outside to eat someplace else and hopefully to become a beautiful moth next year.

The hummers have mostly taken a powder, but we still had one today, 9/8. We had one up until the 11th last year, so we keep the feeders up, as one might be passing through from the north and need some refreshment.

The monarchs are hatching out in big numbers and there are still a lot in chrysalis hanging everywhere. Several that I had pinned to my garage shelf have come out, with only a couple to go. I still have over fifty in chrysalis in my two cages, with about five coming out each day. One day I tagged eight at home and over twenty-five wild ones along the highway. This was all in one spot, where they were feeding on knapweed flowers. I got two in one net scoop, which I had never done before.

There is still time to spray the invasive knotweed before the first frost shuts them down. This time of the year, they suck the chemical right down into the roots, which will kill the plant. With their big leaves, they get hit normally with the first hard frost. They are easy to find now, as they are all in flower and covered with bees and butterflies.

I pulled my loon platforms this week and put them on shore so they can dry out over winter. It also gives me a chance to see if the pairs that had chicks, still have them. The only place I was missing chicks was Independence Lake, as I only saw one adult there. There are going to be about two hundred fringed gentians blooming in the clearing by the lake in a couple weeks. I scattered seed there a couple years ago, as I had seen several ladies’ tresses growing there.  If ladies’ tresses grow in an area, the fringed gentians will grow there also. I planted a few around the parking area south of Blue Mountain Lake that same year, but I only found a few plants growing there, as road construction had cleaned out the ditches where I had put the seeds.

The fire tower lighting a week ago, on Saturday night, 8/31, from 9 to 9:30, went very well. I went up the Woodhull Tower with Jim Fox.  We got there just before sunset and it was pretty. In the day light, we could see the towers on Rondaxe, Wakely, Pillsbury and Snowy Mountain in the distance, but not the towers. The trees have grown up around these towers and they are right in line with some of the other towers, as we found out when they lit their lights. Rondaxe was the only one that we could see well before the lights came on.  Once lit, we could see Stillwater to the north and Snowy to the east, but not Blue Mountain, as it was hidden right behind Blue Ridge. Stillwater and Snowy were hidden right behind big spruce trees, but we could see their lights. Verplanck Colvin carried the elevations in the Adirondacks from 1872 to 1900, and during that time, he triangulated from Woodhull to the mountain top at Stillwater, where there is a marker. We didn’t find the marker on top of Woodhull, but I’m sure there is one there. There was cell phone service up there so we could talk to the people at Rondaxe and Stillwater, but never did contact the people on Snowy, but they could see our lights. Before the daylight faded, we could see most of the windmills over north of Lowville and the lights on the ones down south of us, by Little Falls. I believe we could also see the Oneida County Airport lights to the south west of us.

There was a camper with a dog up on the mountain top camping. He thought he had gotten away from civilization until we showed up. We had a short chat and told him we were going to light up the tower, but I guess we were in his space, as he packed up all his gear and left down the mountain in the dark. We tried to tell him we were only going to be here an hour, but he heard none of that and stomped off the mountain, cursing us as he went down the trail, not a very happy camper. I guess our cell phone ringing a couple times was disturbing him, but his rang many more times than ours.

Fall wildflowers must carry some kind of antifreeze in their system as many bloom after frosts and sometimes snowfalls, but that’s another story. See ya.

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Jim Fox at the top of Woodhull Tower

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Sunset from Woodhull Tower 

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Blue Mountain Tower light up shots by Greg George

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  • Bob betz 12/09/2019 8:16am (10 days ago)

    Gary, do you know what killed the lion chicks on 6th lake in Inlet?

  • sue kiesel 11/09/2019 5:11pm (11 days ago)

    how do I get your newsletter ?

  • Harry Rissetto 11/09/2019 1:21pm (11 days ago)

    Late last September a bear ambled by our camp on the Bay between 6th and 7Th Lake and pulled down the hummer feeder and the metal holder that had been nailed into the tree. All for an ounce or so of juice.

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