the sunrise woke me up from the bedroom window. even without my glasses i could see the fuzzy haze of goldfinches visiting the birdfeeders hanging outside. after a breakfast of cereal, we drove up to southeastern adirondacks, by lake george. originally we wanted to do the tongue mountain trail, a 14 mile loop which traces the edge of a peninsula that juts out into the lake; however we didn't have 8 hours to hike the trail. instead we picked a more manageable route that went up to the summit of one of the mountains which still afforded us a nice view.
at the start of the trail i flipped over a large log and immediately found 2 red-backed salamanders. finding them so soon sort of ruined the mystery because it seemed they were pretty common. the forest was surprisingly quiet, not even the birds were singing for the most part. stretches of our trail followed a descending mountain stream, occasionally becoming small noisy waterfalls. it's still early in the season so not much nature to be had other than the buds and sprouts promising of things to come.
we took a wrong turn at some point and seemed to be walking downhill for a long time even though we should've been ascending. when it looked like we were on a trail heading to the shores of the lake, that's when we knew we were off-course. we decided to take a break and eat our lunch (sandwiches we made this morning before we left) before backtracking to the point where we went the wrong way.
the southeast area of the adirondacks is home to timber rattlesnakes. i was hoping we'd get to see one but no such luck (later while we were leaving we saw a sign for rattlesnakes at a different trail). at a particular stretch of stream we saw tadpoles and clumps of frog eggs. dan spotted a red-spotted newt swimming in the submerged leaf debris. there were a lot of downed trees - seemed something semi-catastrophic had happened recently, blowing over a lot of trees. it didn't help that many of these mountain trees have very shallow roots because they're growing on top of rocks - when they fell over they'd tear out a large circle of roots from the ground.
once we finally reached the summit (there weren't any signs, we knew we'd passed it because suddenly we were going downhill again) we reversed course and started heading back to the car, a few miles worth of sloping slippery rocky trail. my feet were hurting (the toes mainly) and i knew dan was in some pain from the new boots he was wearing.
by the time we got back to where we parked it was 5pm. it took us another hour worth of driving before we made it back to john's parents' place. his mother had dinner ready for us - fajitas - and after i finished eating i managed to take a much-needed shower.
in the evening we played a game of mystery of the abbey, sort of like clue but with monks instead of houseguests. there's a lot of power of deduction involved so it was a miracle that i managed to win in the end (although technically i tied with dan, but since i guessed correctly who the killer was, i won). much later we watched starcrash on john's father's computer.