Encounter: Old Growth Cedar Stand

we enter the old growth stand of cedars along Colden Lake

the high peaks: the Adirondack Mountains – New York State US, some years ago. Friday afternoon we hiked into Marcy Dam with gear and supplies for the long weekend and set up camp. Now on Sunday our second full day we were again on foot this time to Colden Lake. Some of us would climb Mt Colden. Others round the lake and return. I was one of the latter. 

The previous day we hiked Mount Marcy – the highest mountain in the High Peaks – the entire State for that matter. Yes, I thought I was in hiking shape but the up and then down (equally as difficult) of one High Peak was enough for the weekend – I speak for myself.

An early morning start. We followed the route to Lake Colden from the southwest. Starting from the Marcy Dam Lean-Tos, we head southwest through Avalanche Pass, past Avalanche Lake on the west shore, traversed the connection to and reached Lake Colden. We hiked the east shore of the Lake to the trail split – one trail going up Colden Mountain, the other to round the Lake. 

You already know which group I was with.

Colden Lake at 2764 feet, sits in the heart of the High Peaks of New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve. A small lake at 41 acres. It sits in the heart of the area – accessible only by foot. The south end – the Flowed Lands – has lean-toes and camp sites. Also accessible only by foot. 

Park Forest Rangers have an interior outpost on the west shore. 

One memory from the day stays even these many years distant. Just past the trail split (see map that follows) we passed through a stand of old growth cedar trees. 

We entered another world. The needles on the trees and the carpet of them under foot gave an eerie silence to the place. The air is full of cedar scent. Here the air, the trail low to the water, is cool and damp on the skin. The low hanging branches on the narrow trail brushed up against us. The deep green of the needles and the thickness of the branches darken the air. 
The smell – sight – sound – touch – feel of this encounter with the stand of old growth cedar trees remains with me even as I write.

I give thanks for this wonderous encounter with Mother Nature.


The Adirondacks are part of the largest boreal forest in the world. The Adirondack Mountains make up the southern part of the Eastern forest- boreal transition eco-region – a temperate forest region that extends into Maine and eastern Canada. https://visitadirondacks.com/about/adirondack-park

FIREWORKS! July 4th Albany, NY US

Fireworks Sky Burst
FIREWORKS BURST!  July 4th 2017 – Albany NY US

JULY 4th 2017, ALBANY:
My friends had walked up to Lincoln Park – it overlooks part of the State Capital Mall from where the fireworks were best seen. I was surprised at how well the “high riders” were experienced from my stay behind place on their front porch – Osborne Street in the City’s South End.

Back at my place, I spent well over an hour in the “light room” removing a power pole with transformer with attached wires and, a street light. Then cropped, centered the image a little off center and, adjusted the light to achieve the sense of the explosions that intruded into the nighttime darkness.

I went back to it several times after tweaking this or that.

“Fireworks!” – I’m pleased with the feel of this less than perfect image that none the less works for me.

I can hear thud of launch and the booms and cracks of explosion/ smell the sharp smoke/ see the suddenly brightened night sky full of color/ and hear the appreciative noise of the crowd: FIREWORKS! 08.

It is my hope that you can also.

++ ++ ++ ++ ++

image by Photo George
copyrighted: ©2017 GCheatle
all rights reserved

The Terrifying Vermont Chippy

The Terrifying Vermont Chippy
DISPATCH From Adventure George:  July 11 2016
hiking to Bingham Falls – Smugglers Notch – Vermont US


I caught the movement out of the side of my eye. Stopped dead, I scan for the source and what I saw shocked me. There off to my right was what some consider only a product of the imagination – I now knew it wasn’t such.  That strictly carnivorous and very rare Vermont Chippy. It was terrifying just sitting there. As it were daring me to come closer.

I did move but only my camera hand – thankfully I had preset it. I pushed the flash release button and slowly moved the camera to my eye. I half-clicked and it move. And again and once again the same. Then it stopped in the dark shadow of a downed tree. Got ya I said to myself. Half clicked to focus and full click to snap. The flash in the forest, a blink and the Chippy was gone. But the image remains safe and sound on the disc in my camera.

Vermont folk legend now documented.


Later I paused to look at the image taken – red glowing eyes/ extraordinarily large mouth in outsize head with what appears to be fangs. I am so glad I left it alone and continued down the mountainside to photograph Bingham Falls.

But the image of that flesh-eating rodent remains, engraved in my mind. From time to time it intrudes. And every time my blood runs cold.


Safely Back in Rochester NY US

One Very Cold January Day

Sunset Over the Adirondack Mountains
Sunset Over the Adirondack Mountains

January 20 was a cold windy day in an upstate winter. I was on my way for a visit and photo shoot in Burlington Vermont. It was a day long journey that included travel by train, taxi, ferry, automobile.  The Vietnamese Roman Catholic community in Burlington would soon celebrated Tet, the lunar New Year with a Mass and a party. I was, on my way to visit with friends in that community and to photograph both Mass and Tet Party for them.

+++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++ +++++

The journey starts with a long train trip from City Rochester to much smaller Plattsburgh – both in upstate New York, US. A train switch in Schenectady sees me on the Amtrak “Adirondack”. Older cars on older tracks made for a slow and rocky ride. That said, we arrive at historic Plattsburgh Station spot on. A taxi is located – this took some doing, with the ride shared with a State University of New York student returning to campus (however, no reduction in fee). The Ferry Depot sat a couple of miles outside of town.

Once on the Ferry it is but a short ride across the still open waters from the shore to Grande Island – the Vermont terminus. A relatively short but necessary walk uphill in bitter cold and stiff breeze seems very long indeed. Thankfully my friend/ host provided a car and driver to meet me – his car and he drove.

The car ride went from Grande Island to Burlington. The trip: an immediate drive over a causeway to the mainland and then a drop down to my friend’s place in Essex Junction and my destination for the day.

The hot air blasts from the car’s heater and I thaw as we traveled the Causeway.

Then it happened.

I glanced back and before my eyes, far left to far right,  stretched the most lovely sunset. The sun, as commanded by earth’s movement, dips below the Adirondack Mountains and shadows them. A rainbow of fiery colors beams across sky and reflects off the frozen waters of Lake Champlain. I’m speechless as the beauty engulfed me.

Well almost speechless. “Stop,” I manage to yell.

My friend does stop but in an proper way. I snapped off several as I shudder in the biting and very cold winds crossing the frozen Lake.

Back in the car I smile and bask in the glow of this perfect ending to a long strenuous day of travel.

Perhaps there is even a moral to this story. Be aware of where you are both ahead and behind. Sometimes, it pays dividends.
Adventure George
an old man reporting on another adventure

 ++ Across The Lake – a short series of images of sunset over the Adirondack Mountains – shot across frozen Lake Champlain. Whiteface Mountain at 4867 feet, an Adirondack High Peak, is highest seen in this picture. This is a series that almost didn’t happen. You can see a few images CLICK HERE ++

Lady in the Green Hat

There she stood in the entrance to the Great Hall at First Presbyterian Church – the Woman in the Green Hat. My cushioned bench seat, next to one of the multi-paned, magnificent Tiffany Stained Glass Windows, enables a view of all the cavernous room. Alone and quiet but attentive I nursed my mug of creamed, full caffeine fair trade certified coffee, First Presbyterian Albany congregation has a social conscience. Me, I watched

My Green Hatted Woman wore a form-fitting, calf length, knee pinned, Pendleton, green and black plaid skirt. This was topped by a deep brown button jacket with black collar that covered a black turtle neck shirt. The Stylish form-fitting jacked was partly fastened by white buttons. A stiff silver and turquoise necklace finished the outfit. And on her head, was that green hat with black ribbon and bow that attracted my attention.

Like a model awaiting her cue to enter the fashion show walkway, my green hatted woman paused, glanced around and then walked, almost flowed with purpose right to the middle of the hall.  Here she stopped directly over and in the middle of a large hot air vent. It reminded me of the grate for the gravity coal furnace we heated with when I was a little tyke. There is nothing like standing on it to let the hot air flow up over you when first out of bed on a cold morning. Even when we moved to a larger house with forced hot air, first thing in a morning I’d place myself in its warm breath that spilled out the wall register.

My model stood on this heat source and with a slight smile she uttered a sound, barely audible, of pleasure. She wasn’t there for long. Soon she was off to the beverage table for a hot drink.

This Woman in the Green Hat was someone I wanted to meet and photograph. I just had to say hello and capture her in a digital image. Dignified and stately of person yet she was able to enjoy the pleasures of a heating era gone by. Indeed she is my type of person.

An intermediary made preliminary introductions and she readily agreed to have her picture taken. Friendly, gracious, interested, open with brilliant blue eyes – why didn’t I ask her myself?

So it is – I share my picture of the Woman in the Green Hat.

Woman In Green Hat
Woman In Green Hat

“Preacher Fish” Discovered

Dispatch – Scarborough Maine
“Preacher Fish” Discovered Along the Atlantic Seaboard

Adventure George of Rochester New York on his recent expedition to the Maine coast discovered “this most unusual and distinctive fish.” Found near the Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-op dock (Scarborough, Maine), George dubbed it the Preacher Fish. This was due to the large open mouth and large observant eyes. A.G. said, “Any of you who know preachers will recognize the resemblance. They are ready to talk and always looking for that next volunteer.”

When sought for information, the Maine Fisheries Department said, “It sounds like a fish tale to me.” When asked for his response, George said, “It sure looks like a head to me. Government often gets things backwards and all turned around.”

Before it could be sent for further study, the fish head was carried off by a large black-backed sea-gull.

End Dispatch

Hike to the Past – Mason Lake

3 of our several Hikes in Jessup River Wild Forest – The Adirondack Forest Preserve – MARKED

set of images on my Flickr account are available
click here to view them

Sunday afternoon brother-in-law Rich led me into the Jessup River Wild Forest around Mason Lake.  Rich was a man on a mission. He sought the campsite of a previous bushwhack. On the trail and when questioned, he was last there in 1985. Let me figure this out. That was twenty-seven years ago, right?

“I’ll remember it when I see it.”

“I think this is the trail.”
(Well it is a deer trail but do they travel to the campsite?)

“That tree looks familiar.”

It seemed like forever. But we did reach the site – verified by the debris covered remains of the fire-pit. And Rich’s vision verified by exact placement: “this is where we washed dishes;” tents erected “here, and there.” I did draw the line at locating the latrine pits.

It was fun for me to share in Rich’s excitement. I enjoyed his stories of previous trips to the Mason Lake area. And yes, I took pictures of the forest and “things” in the forest as we walked to and fro the campsite.

Plus, the walk helped me greatly in my quest to regain my core body strength.

Jessup River Wild Forest is a defined part of the New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve.

What follows is from the Internet – website place and text below:

The Jessup River Wild Forest area consists of 47,350 acres of State Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Arietta, Indian Lake, Lake Pleasant, and Wells in Hamilton County. This Wild Forest is bounded by NY 28 to the north and NY 30 in the southeast, as well as three wilderness areas: West Canada Lakes Wilderness to the west; Siamese Ponds Wilderness to the east, and Silver Lake Wilderness to the south.

The state lands in Jessup River Wild Forest border, or are in close proximity to, the communities of Indian Lake, Piseco, Speculator and Wells. NY 30 bisects Jessup River Wild Forest and serves as the main access corridor.

Many people enjoy hiking to the fire towers on Pillsbury and Snowy Mountains, snowmobiling between Piseco Lake and Indian Lake, canoeing on Fall Stream, or camping on Mason Lake. Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also popular activities throughout Jessup River Wild Forest particularly in and around Perkins Clearing, the Jessup River and the Miami River.

Sunset Color

Glory of Sunset seen over Lake Pleasant

Day is Done – Gone the Sun
On some days the setting of the sun is a glorious experience both in color and form.

The Passing of Days – The End of Life
A life passed is often marked by the colors of the life lived.

The beauty stays with us in our memory.

These thoughts wandered through my mind as I sat in the still beauty of this sunset over Lake Pleasant in the ancient Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The beach along the shore at Camp of the Woods in Speculator is one of my very favorite places. And on some days, witnesses spectacular sunsets.

George of Rochester
now in the mountains

see other images from this sunset on my Flickr account
click here

King Kong in Roanoke

Recently I was in Roanoke Virginia to cook for a group of NYS FITS builders. Volunteers all, they worked for two weeks with Habitat for Humanity in the Roanoke Valley. While there the group bunked at Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Vinton. I was soon to learn that somewhere in the Valley roamed a Great Ape, known simply as the Kong after the giant quadruped of movie fame – King Kong.

On a slow day, Joanne my long-suffering co-cook, and I set off on a geocache quest. We ended at Roanoke’s mountain “star.” From this vantage point, I gazed off over the Valley and City and reflected on the location of the Kong, that mighty beast. A local at the overlook shared that he heard the giant ape was downtown – somewhere near the train yards.

Roanoke: Valley and City
King Kong Reported in This Area of Roanoke

My search, refined, I determined to find and digitally capture this monster whose name sake terrorized that great metropolis, New York.

It was on a later trip into downtown Roanoke that I was able to continue my search for this elusive beast. On this occasion I was with a small group that included Photo Eric, his bride of some years, Deb, and FITS volunteer Claude.  On the way into the City, we went through an out-of-the-way neighborhood. At one place it provided a vantage point to see the City. I persuaded the driver to stop, and despite his impatience, managed to look long enough to see what appeared to me, Kong in the City. I quickly snapped a digital image.

Is that the Kong on that modernistic building?

Once in the City’s downtown and after a walk with the group around the Market District, and after taking some rather good photo shots, if I don’t say so myself, the group settled in at a downtown coffee shop. I quietly left the group while they were having coffee, and if you know my love for coffee, this was a sacrifice on my part.

I headed towards the my earlier Kong sighting. I questioned locals as to the exact location. I wended my way; closer to the rail-yards, closer to that glass and beam building.

Suddenly, there he was, on the third floor balcony of the Taubman Museum of Art. Tall and proud, defiant and angry – a roar in his throat, a small plane in his hand: The Kong stood.

The Kong of Roanoke, now captured in high-definition digital images. My hunt was successful. I have my trophy shot of this magnificent beast, the Kong of Roanoke.

The Kong of Roanoke - on Third Story Balcony

Kong - Shadowed in the Taubman Museum of Art Building

Ever Defiant at Life - the Kong Rages

First Day Spring – Highland Park

I could not help but get out. It was the first day of Spring, and one of a string of days with unseasonable warm temperatures combined with clear skies and bright sunshine. What else to do? I had to check out the early bulb plants at Rochester, New York’s, Highland Park. Not far from my flat, it is a place of great variety of flowers plants and trees. Nature starts her displays with the early growth bulb plants followed by the magnolias and other flowering bushes and trees.

I make it a rule to never go to the Park without camera in hand. This time I was again glad that I did.

Check out the some of the other images on my Flickr site. Click here to see them.

images by Photo George
images and text copyrighted
©2012 GCheatle
all rights reserved