WiseAcre Gardens

north of the adirondacks – wildflowers & perennials that survive winters colder than my wife's feet

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Posted by WiseAcre on Feb 15th, 2011

the frozen waterfalls in Stone Valley

Feb 15

…Raquette River in Stone Valley – snowed over continued

I’ll start by looking back from where I left off on the last post. You can see the rock island photographed from my first vantage point. As you can see I hadn’t gone far.

stone valley waterfalls in winter

Another view across the river from approximately the same position. It’s amazing that Old Man Winter is able to tame this raging, roaring torrent of death into a silent sleeping beauty. Standing there the other day I was able to relax while taking in the sights. Being firmly anchored waist deep in snow helped calm me. I’ve stood here before with knees shaking after Spring’s warm kiss has once again awakened the class 4 -5 rapids. Believe me, the sound and the fury of the river is enough to make me step back.

Raquette River in Stone Valley covered in ice and snow

Only a few openings in the ice and snow smothering the river can be seen.

hole in the ice and snow covering the river in stone valley

Boil, boil, bubble, and toil

winter whitewater

Time to move on. I stuck to the trail for a while before heading off on another tangent. This section of the river runs slightly higher than the main channel. Durning low water levels the bed is exposed.

river in winter

I call this the Pillow section.
Every winter I find snow pillows strewn along this part of the river that seems immune to the cold.

snow pillows on the river

snow pillows on the raquette river

Scissors cut Paper. Paper covers Rock. Rock breaks scissors.
Water erodes Rock. Snow covers rock. Rocks hurt a lot more than water ballons and snowballs.

snow pillows on rocks in the river

A view from the trail.

winter view of the raquette river from the stone valley trail

Another side trip. Believe it or not I’m standing on the river bed looking down on the main channel. In spring a hell of a water slide rushes over the smooth bedrock here that can send you flying. In summer a rubber duck might have a hard time not getting hung up but there’s always a couple of nice pools in the gouged out stone.

stone valley - raquette river in winter

Climbing up the small island on the other side of the water slide provides this overlook of the main channel far below. See what I mean – it’s hard to imagine the river also flows right behind me at this spot.

stone valley in winter

This is my favorite section of the river. Usually I’ll ‘hang’ from the trees but this time I kept back from the edge. With the deep snow it’s impossible to tell where the drop off really begins. The next step could very well lead to a Wile E. Coyote experience.

looking down on the river

Another view before moving on to the waterfalls.

just before the waterfalls

The object of my desire.
This is my favorite frozen treat. A grimance frozen of the face of the waterfalls.

frozen waterfalls in stone valley

Of course I had to climb down and get in its face.
I did manage to inch a bit closer than I did one summer.

Stone valley waterfalls in summer

see the downed tree on the right? the boulder sitting above the falls on the left?

Seasons make a big difference around here. If I tried to stand here in the spring I’d be swept off my feet, literally.

stone valley waterfalls frozen - Feb 13, 2011

Behind me is a rock island. I call it last stop rock since this is usually the point I turn around and head back. It also holds a secret of mine.

stone valley - a rock island in winter

I love Wintergeen.


Back to the trailhead – time to quack off

mallard ducks

During the winter you can usually count on the Mallards to be seen by the Main Street bridge above the dam in Colton.

Posted by WiseAcre on Feb 14th, 2011

Raquette River in Stone Valley – snowed over

Feb 14

The getting was good. The short trip to see the roaring river silenced by the ice and snow was well worth the effort to get off my duff. The trail along the river was well packed and made for easy walking. The only problem with the trail is that it runs through the woods well back from the river. The river views from the trail are great but not quite as breath taking as those from closer vantage points. Stay on the trail and you miss a few scenes entirely. Trouble is, step off the path and you’d be up to your cute little behind in snow. Unless you’re like me don’t even think of straying from the trail without snowshoes.

You’ll find parking at the trail head in Colton on River Street across the way from the Colton Town Clerks Office on Main Street. Follow the road to the dam. Looking back you can see the Mian Street bridge.

Raquette River in Colton, NY

Turn arond and you see the big blue pipe and the bridge over it that leads to the trail.

dam pipe

Colton dam in winter

Colton dam on the Raquette River in winter

I had to break trail to get to this vantage point. I was in way over my behind getting there so didn’t attempt to get any closer.

Raquette River in Stone Valley - winter

I just turned in my tracks to take these photos. Notice the edge of the drop in the lower part of the photos. I stayed firmly planted in the center of the outcrop.

Stone Valley in winter - Raquette River

One last look back from this location.

Raquette River in Stone Valley - winter whitewater

I can’t go far before being drawn back to the river. Again I trudge to the edge. This time a disappearing waterfall lures me to the edge.

frozen waterfalls in Stone Valley

I have to admit. It wasn’t the effort of pushing my way forward in the snow that made me hang back. It was the big yellow streak running down my back from thinking about falling into that hole.

Stone Valley waterfall in winter

The same waterfall from another angle.

Raquette River waterfall in winter

No Exit – Enter at your own risk

waterfalls in winter

I’ve got more to show but this is a good point to split the difference. The best is yet to come.

I hate to overwhelm anyone’s patience by displaying too many photos in a single post. I think 10 is really pushing it.

What do you think?

  1. Would you like posts broken up with fewer photos?
  2. Do you think 10 photos is OK?
  3. Would you like to have 20 or more photos crammed down your throat in a singel post instead of two servings?
  4. Does a slide show without all the blah blah blah sound better?

I’ve prepared a slideshow of all the photos. Now you don’t have to come back tomorrow unless you like to read my gobblygook.

Dec 27

Why hike the Stone Valley trail in winter? How about the awe inspiring scenery? There’s no need to go far, the most impressive section of river is about a mile long at the south, upriver end of the trail. I like to wait till the dead of winter when the cold has really had time to work it’s icy charms.

The slide show photos were taken in February ’09 and ’10. They all have been previously posted but it was nice to create a Picasa gallery (note to self: remember never to make any changes to the slide show gallery or the slide show will break) and have the two seasons all on one post. It’s also a good motivator to get me out there again real soon.

The photos should give you a clue winter doesn’t fool around in the north country. This is a raging section of water falls and rapids one would never expect to ice over. When it does it’s well worth the hike.

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