August 18, 2013

Day began looking up after canceled paddling trip

I am always impressed by the capabilities of young hikers.

Last week on a day when the clouds hung very low and the moisture in the air misted our faces, I made a quick ascent of Owl Head from Route 73 in Lake Placid.

This trail is a superb trail for young children because in about 30 to 45 minutes they arrive at the top and feel the satisfaction of reaching the summit of something big.

At the beginning of the day we reluctantly canceled a paddling trip that we had planned to avoid the 80 percent chance of thunderstorms predicted that morning. 

We headed for Saranac Lake to check out the Adirondack Carousel — a great destination for kids who love wildlife.

My crew took three rides and rode a different animal each time including a raccoon, a porcupine, an otter, a loon, a squirrel, a black fly, a thrush, a snapping turtle, a snowshoe hare, a bass and a trout. You have to see these carvings to appreciate the craftsmanship. The carousel is under cover so it’s a good diversion on a rainy day.

Not hearing any thunder we headed for a trail I knew we could quickly retreat from if necessary.

The Owl Head trail starts just below the Cascade Lakes between Keene and Lake Placid. From Owl’s Head Lane you drive a few hundred yards up the road to a fork where there is a small parking area on the left and the trailhead on the right.

The trail climbs somewhat steeply over a heavily worn path, about one half mile each way. It passes through typical upland forest then opens out on the first of the ledges. 

A short flat stretch of trail follows and then a fun, rocky scramble up bare faces laced with blueberry bushes, mosses and some stunning arrays of lichen. Even the kids noticed the variety of lichen and got down on all fours to check out the reds, yellows and grays.

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