Photo at top: Old Forge resident Beth Pashley at Cascade Mountain in 2021. Photo provided by Beth Pashley.
Hiking with Grandma Beth: A roundup of fall hikes & walkabouts
Believe it or not, Spooky Season is upon us, which means fall foliage in the Adirondacks is past peak with many of those vibrant leaves now crunching under the feet of those who enjoy hiking during the gorgeous, yet fleeting of seasons. One such hiking enthusiast, Old Forge native, Beth Pashley, has embarked on several hikes and walkabouts in the Adirondack region this fall, capturing this year’s spectacular fall color in various stages throughout the month of October.
The Adirondack Almanack featured Pashley a few times previously, documenting her hiking progress over the last several months, and sharing her serene, eye-catching photographs. In this piece, Pashley shares a roundup of photographs depicting walkabouts and hikes from this month and clues us in on goals she has set to keep motivated while closing out one of her most successful and eventful hiking years to date.
In 2021, Pashley participated in the American Heart Association’s 100 Miles in January Challenge, and although she did not meet the requirements of the challenge, she came awfully close with a total of 90 miles. A resilient spirit at heart, Pashley said a hiking friend of hers presented her with an intriguing new challenge; hiking 1,000 miles in 2022. Pashley’s initial reaction was that the challenge may be a bit of a stretch, but still remained a possibility.
“Crunching the numbers, I convinced myself it was doable….just under 3 miles each day of the year or 85 miles per month,” Pashley said. “Of course some days, life gets in the way and it might not be possible to hike, but other days a longer hike might be in order and it would average out. Well, I am currently at 775 miles, so I need to step up my game a little if I hope to make it! I’ll need to average 3.5 miles for the rest of the year at this point to complete the challenge. (I only count the hiking [and] walking miles, not miles or steps at work or around the house or yard, etc.)”
Pashley said she doesn’t utilize a Fitbit that counts every step all day, instead she prefers a hiking app which tracks mileage and elevation, and also maps out her hike.
“I like to start most days, if I’m able, with a hike Uptown,” Pashley said. “Funny that in Old Forge we call it ‘Uptown,’ no matter what direction you are coming from and in Utica…and I suppose most cities, they have both an Uptown and a Downtown.”
Pashley then ventures up Maple Ridge and through the network of mountain biking trails.
“[We have] awesome trails right here in the heart of town,” Pashley said. “[I crisscross] back and forth, [so] it’s not difficult to get in my miles. My ‘usual’ route takes me by the Lakefront and Old Forge Pond two times. I am obsessed with pictures of the Pond and marvel at the beautiful scenes I see each day. And of course, there is everyone’s favorite yellow boathouse right in plain view across the Pond.”
What some may consider repetitive, Pashley finds comfort in, as she often captures photographs of the same (or similar) scene, but to her, the time of day, the lighting, the reflections in the pond, weather conditions, and time of year, make each image stand out amongst the others.
“I tend to take the same pictures over and over, and I’m sure people [may] get tired of them when I post them on social media,” Pashley joked. “I also like the beautiful reflections in the water when the light is just right.”
As her hiking excursions have evolved, and she continues to plan new hiking adventures to drift out of her comfort zone and keep motivated as she works toward her goal of 1,000 miles for the year, Pashley said it has helped to categorize her adventures. Pashley has coined her hikes and walks as “walkabouts” (strictly walking the sidewalks around town,) a “usual” to describe the Maple Ridge/McCauley Mountain mountain biking trails, and an “event” which would be a lengthier, planned hike to a specific destination.
Pashley said one of the more memorable events was a journey to Beaver River on the railroad tracks from Woods Lake Station, just north of Big Moose Station.
“[It] turned out to be a 10 mile hike (out and back,) and it’s always a little harder to walk on the railroad tracks versus a trail or path,” Pashley said. “It was exhausting, at my age (68,) but good for my 1,000 mile challenge!”
What’s next for Grandma Beth? It just might be a trip back to Beaver River (by the Thompson’s Ferry from Stillwater Reservoir Landing)…not hiking the railroad tracks!
Read our coverage about Pashley’s Nelson Falls hike from April 2022 here.
Check out Pashley’s photographs of this summer’s Loon Census, and a Moose River Plains event here.
Enjoy the following roundup of Pashley’s most recent walkabouts/events during the month of October:
All photos by Beth Pashley.
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