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ADK Wildlife???

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  • ADK Wildlife???

    So as I've proclaimed before I am new to hiking period. In my 25-30 hikes so far in the Adirondacks over a year and a half I've yet to run into any sort of wildlife. I've heard like one bird and that was recently, but thats it. I'll also add that I've never hiked in summer or fall. Only winter and early spring.

    I'm planning on picking up the pace this year quite a bit and will be for the first time hitting the trails during our warm months. Where I'm headed with all this is...

    Bears are obviously active during this time. Being basically an exclusive winter hiker has afforded me the luxury so far of never having to worry about such a thing. As summer comes its makes me wonder. What is truly out there? What's the largest bear I could potentially see/ run into? In my mind its always going to be "scariest situation imaginable." I've come to find that whats typically in my head from research is far from what something actually is when i get there and see it for myself. I've not heard much on the subject and am curious from folks who really know the area what the reality of it is.

    I hope the question doesn't come off wrong. I'm not some city boy but I'm also not an expert woodsman and I really never thought of hiking for the wildlife aspect. I'm there for the challenge on the way to views. If I run into any wildlife, thats really awesome but it's not my priority at all. My priority is to make it up and back safely. I don't think I can add any bear duty to that. Haha. 🐻

    If anyone has any stories, tips, yarns, tales, legends, myths, yadda yadda you would care to share, I'd love to read. Thanks

  • #2
    I've hiked 1,400 miles in the Adirondacks, more in summer than any other season. I've never seen a bear in the Adirondacks. I've done late night and early morning hiking, too. Have also never seen a fisher or marten, although I've seen evidence of those. (Of course in winter their tracks, and the bunnies, are obvious.)

    There's plenty of wildlife around, they generally steer clear of humans tromping through. You're most likely to see a bear if you stay overnight at one of the highly populated spots: Marcy Dam, Lake Colden, lately Gill Brook too.

    I saw a porcupine in the Dix Range, that was pretty cool. He ignored me.
    ADK 46/46, 46/46W, Grid 214/552
    Photos & Stuff

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    • #3
      Animals I've seen in the Adirondacks:
      • Black Bear (several times)
      • Moose (once)
      • Deer (many times)
      • ​Marten (four times)
      • Weasel (twice)
      • Fisher (once)
      • Garter Snake
      • ​Pileated Woodpecker
      • etc
      Each animal sighting was a treat. All I can say is that I've been hiking for much longer than 1.5 years so, given enough time, you're likely to cross paths with something.

      FWIW, most of my bear sightings have been in the evenings but I have seen three in the daytime (one in the Adirondacks, another in the Whites, and yet another in Maine).
      Looking for Views!

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      • #4
        Thanks autochromatica Trail Boss interesting to hear. I'm hoping some more of the who's who hits this post up. I'm very curious about what people have encountered. Never knew what a Marten was. Cute little fellers. Those are fine. 300+ pound black bear, totally different story. I never even really thought of moose either even though you obviously see quite a bit of moose signage in the Adirondacks. Yeah moose, bear, bear cubs...

        Don't want nothin' to do with that!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by salt View Post
          ... Don't want nothin' to do with that!
          ​I understand how you feel ... but it's a special thrill to see this fellow foraging:



          In this place (spot the bear in the distance):



          (Let's see how long these image-links to OneDrive remain valid ... OneDrive has a nasty habit of expiring its URLs.)
          Looking for Views!

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          • salt
            salt commented
            Editing a comment
            No you're right, if I saw that I would be excited. I would just be insanely quiet I think. Awesome shots though.

        • #6
          Mama bear and cub last summer. 9am. July? En route to Dix mtn via round pond. Ended my hike early. 1st encounter ever in 8 years Catskills/ Adk.... Pine Marten 2 summers ago on LWJ summit
          Cats: 39/39, 26W/35W......ADK: 32/46

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          • salt
            salt commented
            Editing a comment
            Thats crazy. Thanks for the response Nivek So that was that though huh? Saw the mama and cub and called it a day right then and there? I can't say I blame ya.

          • Nivek
            Nivek commented
            Editing a comment
            I started at 7am on a Wednesday morning on a humid day. I was the first one signed in. I was solo. It was growling at me less than 20 feet away. Then I saw a cub climb a tree behind her. Said hey bear. Slowly walked back the way I came. Didn't take more than 20 seconds to decide I wasn't going back. Crazy story but had missed out on Dix/Hough and had a long ride back to Jersey.

          • salt
            salt commented
            Editing a comment
            Yeah thats a tough situation but I think it was probably the right choice. Growling too, yeah I woulda been out as well.

        • #7
          Originally posted by salt View Post
          Thanks autochromatica Trail Boss interesting to hear. I'm hoping some more of the who's who hits this post up. I'm very curious about what people have encountered. Never knew what a Marten was. Cute little fellers. Those are fine. 300+ pound black bear, totally different story. I never even really thought of moose either even though you obviously see quite a bit of moose signage in the Adirondacks. Yeah moose, bear, bear cubs...

          Don't want nothin' to do with that!
          Keep in mind that Trail Boss has been hiking in the ADKs for many decades (only 8 years for me ) and has completed, what -- 7-8 full rounds? In other words, it takes a lot of hiking over a long time to randomly see a bear or a moose. Like Nivek said those are the only ones which may alter your plans.

          I have heard of fishers/martens stealing food, it's why some people won't drop their packs. Other people will unzip their packs so that the critters don't chew through the fabric and both steal the food and ruin the backpack.
          ADK 46/46, 46/46W, Grid 214/552
          Photos & Stuff

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          • salt
            salt commented
            Editing a comment
            Right on, as of right now I'm just planning one round of 46 which is still going to take at least another year by my pace. Let me catch some marten trying to chew through my bag! Lol. Good to know though about unzipping. It's def something I personally wouldn't have ever thought of.

        • #8
          FYI, our sister forum has a whole section on ADK wildlife. They ran a similar thread to this.

          http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=22248
          ADK 46/46, 46/46W, Grid 214/552
          Photos & Stuff

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          • #9
            I've hiked a bit more than half the peaks over 11 days. I've come across two deers by the lake on the scenic trail to Sawteeth. And a marten near the Avalanche lean-to. That's it. Both sightings happened as I was the first on the trail that day.

            Comment


            • salt
              salt commented
              Editing a comment
              Right on, that I can deal with. Let some deer come at me. Lol. Thanks for the response Natlife Much appreciated.

          • #10
            Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
            I've hiked 1,400 miles in the Adirondacks, more in summer than any other season. I've never seen a bear in the Adirondacks. I've done late night and early morning hiking, too. Have also never seen a fisher or marten, although I've seen evidence of those. (Of course in winter their tracks, and the bunnies, are obvious.)
            I'm a few hundred miles behind autochromatica and have had similar experiences, or lack thereof when it comes to bears, fishers, and martens.

            Have seen plenty of deer. Stood about 15-20 feet from one once. I stood completely still and we stared at each other for a couple minutes before it ran off. Also saw a huge buck on the way to JBL that crossed over the trail about 50 feet in front of me at full speed. That was impressive.

            Had a run in with an aggressive female grouse on my way to Allen one time. That was rather entertaining.
            Read about that here... http://www.adkhighpeaks.com/forums/f...-at-the-grouse

            Have had a handful of snakes slither over my feet through the years. One time on Spruce Mountain I saw a snake consuming a frog. That was pretty neat.

            I also saw a black squirrel on my way up Blue Mountain this winter. Those are quite a rarity. I had seen only two others in my life - both in urban settings but this was the first one I saw in the wild. Chipmunks are everywhere as well. If you don't see one of those you're just not looking hard enough.

            Have come across a few beavers. The incredibly loud slap of their tails is quite startling if you're not aware they are nearby. Most folks who have hiked the Santas via Panther Brook have walked over the beaver dam at the start of the herdpath. That is an interesting experience.

            Wild turkeys are a fairly common site. I've run into a lot of them. Mostly near trailheads. Ducks, geese, and hawks too. The call of the loon is also something you'll eventually experience. That is always great to hear.

            There is a hummingbird sanctuary at the summit of Mount Arab near the fire tower. You're sure to see a few flying about if you're up there.

            Though not wildlife per se, I ran face first into a giant hornet's nest on my way to Peaked Mt this past summer as I stepped off trail to answer the call of nature. You could start a whole new thread on insects. There's no shortage of those in the Adirondacks. The giant swarm of dragonflies I encountered on Snowy was pretty cool also.

            I've seen hundreds of animal tracks as I've hiked as well. Mostly on lightly traveled trails when the mud was just right. Bear, coyote, lynx, rabbit, small rodents, dogs, and barefooted humans have all been found.

            Thanks for posting this question. When I first started typing I thought my response would be rather short. I've never seen a bear or a moose, but I guess I've run across more wildlife while hiking that I thought I had.

            Comment


            • salt
              salt commented
              Editing a comment
              Makwa thanks is all on this side of the table. Extremely detailed accounts were exactly what I was hoping for. Sounds as though you've def seen a lot more wildlife than most. I hadn't thought of beavers either which I've heard can be quite aggressive. I'm def feeling a bit more at ease though with most of the responses posted. My luck I'll run into a bear next outing.

            • Makwa
              Makwa commented
              Editing a comment
              Bobcat... right. Part of lynx family though. Do I get partial credit?

              I doubt I've seen more wildlife than others. Other than my grouse encounter and maybe the black squirrel most of these birds & animals are quite common sites in the Adirondacks. If you get out enough you'll eventually encounter them all. Perhaps my only slight advantage is hiking solo most of the time. I'm much quieter than most hikers in groups so maybe I drive away fewer animals than others.

            • greatexpectations
              greatexpectations commented
              Editing a comment
              fwiw i am quite confident i saw a lynx coming down the mt jo trail a few years back.

              and i would generally agree with makwa that you will likely see more animals solo - quieter, but you are probably also more aware of your surroundings.

          • #11
            Originally posted by autochromatica View Post
            ... [TB] has been hiking in the ADKs for many decades (only 8 years for me ) and has completed, what -- 7-8 full rounds? In other words, it takes a lot of hiking over a long time to randomly see a bear or a moose.
            Decades?!?
            • I started hiking in 1978. Poke o'Moonshine with my Dad on a Saturday and then on Sunday almost 3/4 of the way up Phelps before we called it quits.
            • My first week-long backpacking trip was in 1979. My friend and I were dropped off at the Loj by my Dad. He would return the following Saturday to pick us up. We hiked in to Marcy Dam, it poured all night, and the next morning we returned to the Loj and called my Dad to pick us up. Why? Because almost all of my toes were blistered.
            • I returned in May of 1979, camped at the double-lean-to (long gone) and hiked several nearby peaks (except not Algonquin; I turned back because the summit was fogged in).
            • Between 1979 and 1983 I climbed 35 peaks and then ... lost interest.
            • Decades of living (and no peak-bagging) drift by ...
            • I returned in 2003 with my wife and we hiked Seymour.
            • In 2010 I returned to complete my first round. I kept on going to complete a winter round, over three seasons, then a single-season winter round, then the Four-Season Grid, and now I'm (very slowly) whittling away at the full Grid (currently stuck at 379 of 552 peaks). I have 12 peaks left for my ninth round.
            I've had two close encounters with bears ... all at day's end and during backpacking trips. None involved aggressive bears.

            The first was in the early 80's. I was retuning to the Garden at dusk. They used to have trash cans at the Garden. As I approached the register I heard a loud scratching sound as something scampered up into the tree. I had had an encounter with a raccoon several weeks earlier (in Vermont) so I swung my flashlight up into the tree next to me, expecting to see one. What I saw instead were two dark beady eyes in a small furry face. It was a bear cub. Mama had to be nearby (probably in the vicinity of the trash cans). I forgot everything I learned about bears and ran to my car as fast as my metal framepack allowed me. Super-charged with adrenaline, the moment I got behind the wheel I started to laugh. I drove back to the register, high-beams on, honking my horn ... because I still need to sign-out.

            The second encounter was in the early 2000's at Marcy Dam. It was after dark. I left the tent to see a man about a horse. Upon my return, headlamp set on low, a dog ran past me and all I saw was its somewhat odd-looking butt disappearing into the feeble light of my headlamp. I was incensed someone would allow their dog to run loose after dark. Frikkin' Marcy Dam! Then I realized the furry black butt-end I saw didn't belong to any canine. I returned to my tent and my wife calmly asked if I was playing a prank. She reported something had slowly walked by the tent, checking it out, because she heard it snuffling. I explained it wasn't me but a "dog" that I saw.

            All other bears I've seen were a healthy distance away. One ran across the trail about 50 feet ahead of me. Another was several yard away guarding the pack he had stolen (not mine). Then there's the forager on Hamlin (in Maine; photo above). Lastly, I saw one cross a highway near a campground in Lincoln (New Hampshire). Not sure that last example "counts" as a hiking-related sighting.
            Looking for Views!

            Comment


            • salt
              salt commented
              Editing a comment
              Great post and again Trail Boss Thank you for all the detailed info. I think its really cool too that some people on here that don't know you (like me) also have the pleasure of hearing a bit of your story. Your def a main player here on the forums and im sure people including myself are intrigued by such stories. 1978, sheeeeesh, I was still waiting to be born, haha (1980.) Hopefully someday ill be answering some new guys question in 2050 talking about how I started 2016. Thanks again sir, much appreciated.

            • autochromatica
              autochromatica commented
              Editing a comment
              Someone was talking about when we were in college in 1989, and I had to stop and really think. I said, "do you realize that was almost three decades ago?" Ugh.

              Luckily I've got all you old guys outpacing me, so I know I have a lot to look forward to.

              Also, my only wilderness bear encounter was in the Shenandoahs. It was autumn and I was solo. I saw something 100 yards ahead and asked myself what idiot left his dog off the leash. Then I said "wow, that's a really big dog!" Wasn't a dog. I stopped and let him meander his way into the underbrush. I didn't want to make any sudden moves to get my camera so no pics.

            • salt
              salt commented
              Editing a comment
              autochromatica Lol @ "really big dog"
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