The VIC trails ARE OPENPosted on January 5th, 2011 Add a comment >>
Hard to pass up a sunny…well partly sunny, day in the Adirondacks. With the recent announcement of the Paul Smiths VIC now officially under the ownership of Paul Smiths College, I thought it worthwhile to get out for a ski.
Many of the trails are still in the good shape that they’ve have always been, however one should avoid and heed the “trail closed signs” when skiing up into the Esker Ski Trail from the Silviculture Trail.
Currently white-tailed deer are feeding on many of the downed/fallen branches that remain behind from the timber harvesting. Some beech and maple bud tips are a welcomed food source.
Skiing the Jenkins Mountain Road I found several good animal tracks to examine and follow for awhile. This Ruffed Grouse set of prints tells us that the warmer temperatures have allowed grouse to feed in comfort rather burrowing down into loose snow to wait out another snowstorm.
Likewise, the coyotes are traveling through the woods. These prints were observed crossing the ski trail. If you look carefully at a canine(dog) print you will see a “X” in the middle of the oval print which results when the toe and heel pads press into the snow leaving behind a raised “X” between all pads. The feline family(cats) have a more circular shape to the print and lack a central “X” mark. Feline toes tend to be more forward in the print.
I hope the public continues to visit the “VIC” and if you do take the time to look at your surroundings. Find some animal tracks to follow and see if you can reveal the story they leave behind. Sit patiently and watch the woodpeckers pecking for food along the tree trunks and branches, or watch the acrobatic chickadees hang upside down along a branch as they look for spider eggs or insects.
The property is under new ownership(and stewardship) but the wildlife that survive there day to day probably won’t take notice of the new “landlords”, and for the rest of us….let’s not forget that we are also just visitors into their realm.
Photo Credits: Jenkins Mt Road ski trail(and all other photos)-Brian McAllister.
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