Friday, May 25, 2012

Hiking - Dutton Mountain explorations

Today some friends and I continued our exploration of possible routes for the North Country National Scenic Trail through the Adirondacks.  A recent decision by federal regulators has placed a long-idle railroad bridge back into freight service, and since the NCNST was counting on using that bridge to cross the Hudson River north of North River, we needed to scout out part of an alternative plan.  Here, the bridge is seen far below.

We left a vehicle on 14th Road in Minerva, and drove north on NY-28N and down Northwoods Club Road to start the hike.  Though we expected a 3-mile complete bushwhack, we did find traces of a faint path at times throughout the day.  The first led us to the overlook above, with a great view right up the gut of the start of the Hudson River Gorge.  Blue Mountain towered in the hazy background.

Continuing along the edge of the steep side of Dutton Mountain, we found another view from a slightly different angle but just as spectacular.

But this day wasn't just about views.  Leaving this viewpoint, we nearly stepped on this beautiful Luna Moth just sitting in pine needles next to a tree, and moving when lightly prodded to prove it was alive.

A little further along, we came to an open slope with lots of low blueberry bushes, but sprinkled with 30-40 pink lady slippers.  Somebody even saw a pure white one, but I missed it.

As we descended steeply through thick and lush brush, we were surprised to find many large stands of maidenhair fern, not something we see every day.

Back at the spotted vehicle, we were transported to the nearby camp of one of our hikers, where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch on his front lawn while the other car was retrieved.  It had been a pretty short hike, but with great views and lots of other things to see.

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