Smells Like Fall in the Mountains

With just a week left before the kids and I head back to school, we’ve been getting in our "one lasts" this week.  One last bike ride to get Italian ice at the stand downtown. One last walk to the beach with friends visiting their grandparents across the street.  And one last trip to Copperas Pond, one of our favorite short hikes in the Adirondacks, ending with a gorgeous, clear mountain swimming hole.  But it turns out, the mountain started autumn already, while nobody was looking…

Quick-moving clouds and a chilly breeze meant only the brave went swimming!  (I was happy reading an ARC of Megan Crewe’s GIVING UP THE GHOST on a rock.)

We looked for frogs — this pond is usually hopping with them — but only saw one, tucked in between some rocks and looking like he was ready to call it a summer.  The air even smelled different than it did last time we were here, just a couple warmer weeks ago.  Crisper, and with that mix of earth and leaves crushed under hiking boots.

I know for many of you reading this, it’s still summery-warm, still bathing suit and cookout weather. But this week, we saw sure signs that fall is just about here.  The mountains always know first….

The Frog Catchers

We spent last night camping in the Adirondacks, and since I like to focus on the positive things in life, I didn’t actually take photos of the two inches of water in our tent this morning.  (I am pretty sure the air mattresses were floating.) Instead, I’ll tell you about the s’mores and the three ponds we visited on our hike.  We spent the afternoon at our favorite mountain swimming hole, Copperas Pond, diving into the clear water, standing on the rocks while tiny fish bumped into our toes, drying off in the sun, and then diving in all over again.

And the frog-catching was outstanding!

E must have caught at least two dozen frogs at various stages of their tadpole-to-frog transformations.  Some of them had fully formed legs and tails.  She released them all…which is more than I can say for this other frog-catcher.

We were wading in shallow water when my son stepped onto the log and said, "Hey!  A snake!"  and then "Whoa!! It just caught a frog!"  We watched for almost a minute while the snake maneuvered the frog off of the log, into the water, and then into what we assume was its den in the rocks at the edge of the pond.

It disappeared, presumably to have dinner, and then it was time for us to do the same.  I’m pretty sure that our hamburgers and veggie burgers, though not quite as fresh, were both tastier and easier to come by.

Near Where I Live

It’s not exactly the backyard, but I think I’m staying within the spirit of

‘s challenge to post a photograph of home every day this week.  Today, we drove with some friends to a trailhead along Route 86 in the Adirondacks and hiked 1.2 miles into the woods.  Here’s what we found at the end of the trail.

Copperas Pond is one of our favorite swimming holes for a few reasons.  Because of the climb to get there, it’s rarely crowded.  There are huge rocks that you can jump from, into cool, deep water below.  And there are giant tadpoles and bullfrogs galore.

My main character in Marty McGuire, Frog Princess would have loved it.