Peak Foliage

Peak Foliage
October on Preston Pond

Brief History of Preston Pond

Born from glaciers about 13,500 years ago, the original pond was only what is now the wider north end. Probably about 10,000 years ago, as the modern forest started to take root, beavers colonized the pond and expanded it (old dams are under the water surface).

With the arrival of Europeans in New York and coastal New England, a vigorous fur trade grew in the 17th Century. Beavers are particularly vulnerable to trapping since they are easy to find and they were wiped out by the 18th Century. With no beavers to maintain the dams, Preston Pond drained and appears on 18th and 19th Century maps as only the smaller original glacial north end.

Reintroduction in the 1920's and 1930's led to beavers recolonizing Preston Pond. By chance, they arrived the same year my grandfather bought the property in 1946. Ever since then, beavers have lived unmolested (by humans) on Preston Pond - until February 2016. They have never caused flooding problems or over-eaten the surrounding forest stand to the point that they abandoned the pond. Their population has doubtlessly had its ups and downs, but they have managed their affairs here for the last 70 years as beavers did for millions of years: on their own, despite some of their top predators having been exterminated by humans.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Having been chained in the studio for several days (three paintings going), I was feeling a bit stir crazy. So were the dogs, so I made a promise to them this morning. We headed out at 3:45 pm, picked up the Old LT Southbound and then bushwacked up to the top of Treehouse Hill (or Ravens Crag - in any event, the ridge south of The Pinnacle).

We did not walk up this way and I had to restrain Shiloh from trying to go down - Shiloh will try just about anything just to see if it works. He is young and doesn't know much about limits yet.

Climbing up through a gap in a cliff face, we found an outcrop with what might be calcite crystals in it (along with other beautiful inclusions). Will have to go back for a closer look (didn't have a hand lens or reading glasses). There was also a fair bit of a cave. Nainette explored it, so I guess there wasn't a bear at home.

We picked the trail up again at the top and had a nice treat. At first, I thought I was going to get soaked because every branch and twig was loaded with perfect little glittering raindrops. And they were raindrops: frozen ones.
Near the top, we picked up the Old LT again and headed south and off the ridge below the cliffs west of the Notch Rd. About a quarter mile along (maybe half a mile), we came to a couple small waterfalls coming down through what was left of the ice.

I had wanted to go a bit further and then bushwack up the ridge and back home, but it was after 5 pm, so with the beaver pond we were headed for in sight through the trees, we just turned back along the trail.
The sun was getting low, but not on the horizon when we regained the top of the ridge south of the house. My camera battery had died, so in case I came on some really nice light (likely that time of day), I had taken the battery out and was warming it in my pocket.

Happily so. At the very top of Treehouse Hill, where generations of hikers have marred the birch trees with their knives so that all will ever after know that "JC was here," the sun cleared a band of cloud and put on a show. The camera was touchy, but I did my best.

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