Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Hike

Went for another hike today.  Back to the Mohonk Preserve (I have a membership so I hike there a lot).  When I was leaving, my wife asked me where I was going and I didn't know.  A lot of times I'll leave to go on a hike and not know exactly where I'm going.  I've often decided while driving which trailhead I'll park at.  Then, at the trailhead, I'll figure out my final destination just by starting to walk in some direction as the spirit moves me.

Today I parked at the Spring Farm trailhead and followed Table Rock trail.  Spotted a neat little plant I know called hepatica (Hepatica nobilis).  The name comes from the Greek word for liver because the leaf has three lobes like the human liver.  It's a traditional medicinal plant, once thought to be good for the liver due to its shape (the Medieval "doctrine of signatures").

The trail passes through a beautiful meadow, still mostly brown but soon to be filled with grasses and blooming with wildflowers.  I love this meadow sitting surrounded by woods.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  I was walking through the meadow, the warm Sun is shining, the sky is deep blue, the grasshoppers are buzzing, and the birds are singing.  I can't even describe how places like this make me feel.

I continued along the trail to a junction.  As I was wondering which way to go, I heard a barred owl calling to my right.  That decided my direction.

Some wildflowers along the trail.  I have a book called Wildflowers of New York but couldn't identify either of these from pictures (of course, I didn't note down details of the leaves and stems and things).  Feel free to enlighten me if you know what they are.

I also saw these plants.  They were growing in a moist area.  At first I thought they were skunk cabbage but the leaves are different.  Anyone know?

And here, for no apparent reason, is a picture of a bumblebee drinking water.  I thought it was cool and watched him (her?) for a while.

I also came across some coyote scat.  How do I know it's coyote?  It was displayed prominantly on top of a rock, looks like dog poop, but is loaded with fur and bones (the white bone in the crushed up piece looks like a little rodent scapula).

This may be why people don't generally go hiking with me.  I take pictures of shit.

Anyway, I followed a little-used trail I like (since I never run into people on it) and ended up at Bonticou Crag, one of my favorite places on the Ridge.  There's a great "trail" to the top that goes up the front face winding it's way among the talus boulders (Click on the picture to make it larger.  See the guy in the red sweatshirt near the top?  That's the trail).

Here's a view from near the top looking down (I actually came down that way today).

The most challenging part of the climb is near the top when you have to shimmy up a crevice and then climb along a very exposed ledge for a short distance (not for those afraid of heights).  The crevice, like many along the ridge, is actually a strike-slip fault (can't have a post without a little geology).

One of these days I'll write about Bonticou.  It's a sacred place.


  1. Thanks for the tip for a nice hike. We come to Mohonk/Minnewaska to mountain bike a lot but it is getting old. The exposed trail you went on is my cup of tea.

  2. Both your unidentified flowers (the violet and the yellow) are violets (Viola sp.). There are a lot of species, yours resemble some here in Alberta, but they may or may not be the same. The leafy green "skunk cabbage" types I'm pretty sure are one of the false hellebores (Veratrum sp.).

    Looks like an excellent hike. Nothing blooming around these parts, yet!

    --Howard (Calgary, Alberta)