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Fall 2009 Theme = MUD

>> Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Every single hike we've gone on this fall has involved absurd quantities of mud. 

Huge sections of the Adirondacks trails looked like this:

And this:

And you've seen the picture of Lucy with the mud.  Or really, the mud with Lucy.

I mean, I expect absurd quantities of mud in the spring as a consequence of all the snow melt.  But this much in October?  Really?  I've actually talked to a few avid Adirondack hikers who said the trails were worse this fall than they'd ever remembered seeing at this time of year.  Others, however, just shrugged and said, "yeah, I guess there was a bit of mud".  That's Adirondack 46ers for you - they no longer notice such trifling inconveniences as having their boots slucked right off their feet by three-foot deep bogs where the trail should be. 

Who is right regarding this fall's rainfall?  While I've spent plenty of time in the Adirondacks, I've never gone regularly enough in every season to judge whether this year's October mud fest was unusual.  I mean, deceptively deep pits of mud that flow over the tops of my boots and suck so hard that I can't get my feet back out?  Perhaps that's just part of the high peaks experience, kind of like the Fireswamp has lightning sand and ROUSes.*

This past weekend at Highland Forest was really amazing, though, and convinced me that this really IS an exceptionally muddy fall.  Or else that we're picking exceptionally muddy days for every single hike.  I've hiked at Highland in every season, and never, never seen the trails so consistently impassable.  We had to trek through the underbrush and got lost a few times in order to avoid having to swim or build a birchbark canoe on the spot.

For example:


In case you cannot tell from the photo, the trail lies straight forward through - ugh - that.

It helps not at all that I have a remarkable talent for mud.  If there is a tree lying across the trail and Spouse leaps over it, his foot will land neatly on the one small hummock of grass on the other side.  I, on the other hand, will invariably slap my foot into the deepest part of the stickiest ooziest bit of mud, right up to the ankle.  Which leaves me looking like this:

One thing is for sure:  this fall has cured our dogs of their neatness fetish.  They used to avoid mud with cat-like precision, and stubbornly refuse to take another step if it meant a little squishing between their toes.  Now they just plow forward, completely oblivious to the cold moist ickiness sucking at their bellies, or the great gobbets of greasy brown they are flinging back at us.  Of course, where they go, we must follow, as we're attached.  We can no longer guide them toward the high ground without a great deal of tugging and convincing.  Some kind of happy medium is always an impossibility with those two bullheaded beasts.

Oh well.  Have I mentioned my abiding love of Gore-Tex boots and gaiters?

A plea:  okay, so allegedly this area of the country can expect between 32 and 64 inches of rain annually.  That's a mighty big range.  I can't seem to find rainfall statistics for this fall that will tell me anything useful.  Anyone have any insight or good web sites to share?

*if that sounds familiar but you didn't already figure out why, it's a reference to the Princess Bride.


b. October 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

Rodents Of Unusual Size, no? I seem to dimly recall something like that...

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