Sunday, July 31, 2022

Hiking with Grandma Beth: Old Forge resident shares coverage of Loon Census, Moose River Plains

As another extension of our initial post about an Old Forge grandmother, Beth Pashley, avid hiker and talented photographer, The Adirondack Almanack will be featuring snippets of Pashley’s hiking adventures on a year-round basis including her visually-striking and artistic nature photographs. Pashley was inspired to embrace the great outdoors with her grandchildren starting at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, dubbing the family bonding time as “The Grandma Chronicles.”


Our last Hiking with Grandma Beth post was published in April, so we thought it was high time to reintroduce her photography to readers, this time by covering her recent excursion to Moose River Plains, as well as to highlight her involvement in the 2022 NY Loon Census.

Beth said she chose Woods Lake, a small lake in the Independence River Wild Forest, for this year’s NY Loon Census, and that she has been participating in the event for the past 3 or 4 years.
“As if I needed an excuse to go to Woods Lake!” Beth said. “[I] watched two adult loons (with a third swimming across the lake to join them.) They swam in circles around each other for a bit before the one flew off.  [It] was a pleasure to sit quietly and watch them.”
At one point that morning, a beaver slapped its tail, trying to mark its territory, Beth continued. The trio of loons gathered together in a playful way, one in which Beth said a quick Google search clued her into the fascinating behavior of loons, including how they are very social birds except when defending their chicks or territory.
Beth said she loved being able to witness the loons as they did a “circle dance,” an activity in which loons gather together to feed and swim in a circle, each taking turns peering into and diving into the water.

Initiated in 2001, the NY Annual Loon Census is scheduled on the third Saturday of July each year, and its purpose is to offer an annual “snapshot” of the breeding loon population. The Loon Census must be conducted by all participants on the same day, July 16 this year, and in the same 1 hour time frame (8 to 9 a.m.) in order to minimize a loon being counted more than once. Typically, only one watcher is needed for a lake, depending on its size. To learn more about the NY Annual Loon Census, check out this website:

Loons on Woods Lake during the 2022 NY Loon Census.

Loons fishing on Woods Lake during the 2022 NY Loon Census.

Woods Lake. All photos by Beth Pashley.

Although the Moose River Plains trip was an all day affair, on Sunday, July 10, it was certainly an enjoyable experience to escape the busy streets and trails typical of the summer season in Old Forge, according to Beth.
“Just a short drive from all the madness is the Moose River Plains, [in which I found] miles and miles of  quiet solitude,” Beth said. “[It is] a pretty drive between Inlet and Indian Lake, [and it was] slow going on the windy dirt roads. [There are] many stops and short hikes along the way….Long hikes too, if you are so inclined. The [Moose River] Plains Road may be 23 miles, but when doing the loop,  you can drive 43 miles back to Old Forge via scenic Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, and Raquette Lake. What I like [about it] is that it is relatively quiet… especially compared to the hustle and bustle of Old Forge!”
Information about the Moose River Plains area from the NYS DEC website:
 “The Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road (a.k.a. the Moose River Plains Road) is a seasonal access road which extends 23 miles through the Moose River Plains from the Limekiln Gate in the west (near the community of Inlet) to the Wakely Dam Gate at the end of the Cedar River Road in the east (near the community of Indian Lake). “
Check back soon to see where Grandma Beth will be venturing next this summer.


All photos by Beth Pashley.

Moose River Plains map. Image provided by Beth Pashley.

Photo at top: Old Forge resident Beth Pashley at Cascade Mountain in 2021, Almanack archive photo. 

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One Response

  1. NOEL A SHERRY says:

    Another great article Beth by your grandson, inspired by you and your photos, covering the Loon Census and the Moose River Plains. Excellent! Thanks, Twitchell Lake added 3 loon chicks this year, and our South Pond one more. Four.

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