by Elizabeth Folwell
With summer in full swing—at last—critters of all kinds are on the move. Turkey families stroll along highways, oblivious to traffic; turtles make determined treks across the tarmac to lay eggs in sandy road shoulders. Warbling loons commute between ponds, and red fox cubs scuffle and scramble through sunny clearings.
In honor of these other Adirondack residents, here are a trio of featured creature hikes across the park:
For most Adirondackers and visitors, spotting a moose can be the thrill of a lifetime. The draft-horse-size deer have made a dramatic comeback to our woods and waters in the past 30 years, with an estimated population of about 1,000. Cows, calves and bulls are elusive, though, so hiking to a place named Moose may be more rewarding than hunting for one. The Moose Pond trailhead is four miles north of Saranac Lake on Route 3. This destination offers three miles of easy hiking around a beautiful wild pond.
Bears are also cruising through communities these days, but a positive bear encounter would be a hike up a peak named for our huge omnivores. Overlooking Cranberry Lake is 2,177-foot Bear Mountain, with a 3.7-mile loop trail that can end with a very refreshing swim in the lake.
Between Inlet and Eagle Bay off Route 28 is Black Bear Mountain, which has two routes to the summit. A six-mile round-trip is less steep and offers fine views of the Fulton Chain of Lakes from rocky outlooks.