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Archives for August 2014

Military Headstone Symbols

Probably as far off as I’ll get from a Nature related topic but certain events in life seem to have brought me here. Recently a family member was interred in Saratoga National Cemetery and the symbols on each headstone peaked my curiosity in what their meaning was. The Latin Cross and Star of David were simple to interpret but the others left me wondering. For lack of a better and faster source to find this information I decided to just do a simple post in case any one else in the world was just as curious.

(Latin Cross)Christian Cross
(Star of David)
HEBREW (Star of David)
 BuddhistBUDDHIST (Wheel of Righteousness)
(Flaming Chalice)
(Angel Moroni)MORMON (Angel Moroni)
 Native American Church
(9 Pointed Star)BAHAI (9 Pointed Star)
(Crescent and Star)MUSLIM (Crescent and Star)
 Community of ChristCOMMUNITY OF CHRIST
 The Church of World
 United Church of Religious
 Christian & Missionary AllianceCHRISTIAN & MISSIONARY ALLIANCE
United Church of Christ UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
 Humanist Emblem of SpiritHUMANIST EMBLEM OF SPIRIT
 Izumo Taishakyo Mission
 Soka Gakkai International
 Sikh (Khanda)SIKH (KHANDA)
 Wicca (Pentacle)WICCA
 Lutheran Church of Missouri
SynodLutheran Church Missouri Synod
 New ApostolicNew Apostolic Church
 Seventh Day Adventist ChurchSeventh Day Adventist Church


 Celtic CrossCeltic Cross
 Armenian CrossArmenian Cross
 Messianic JewishMessianic Jewish
 Kohen HandsKohen Hands
 Catholic Celtic CrossCatholic Celtic Cross
 First Church of Christ. Scientist
(Cross & Crown)The First Church of Christ, Scientist (Cross and Crown)
 Medicine WheelMedicine Wheel
 Luther RoseLuther Rose
 Landing EagleLanding Eagle
Four Directions Four Directions
Church of Nazarene Church of Nazarene
 Hammer of ThorHammer of Thor
 Unification ChurchUnification Church
 Sandhill CraneSandhill Crane
 Church of GodChurch of God

You will find that most symbols are of the deceased’s  practiced religion. Several symbols however are representative of a personal statement. The Landing Eagle for example represents Freedom. The Sandhill Crane is a symbol of peace or as being one with land, water and sky. To Christians the Pomegranate represents life and eternal life.

All symbols for military headstones must be approved by the Veterans Administration for use.

 The symbols used on this page were obtained from the VA website.

Christian Cross

Should there be a Leash Law in the Adirondacks?

Before you answer that question let’s see if I can set the scene for you, one I’ve experienced one too many times hiking in the Adirondacks. It’s a beautiful day for an adventure, you and your spouse throw your gear in the car and head off to hit the trail. You’re having a great time, the Fall colors are beautiful, you don’t have a care in the world, walking, chatting, enjoying the scenery. Suddenly without warning 4 dogs are charging you at full speed, some barking, some growling. They stop abruptly only a few feet away in a definite aggressive posture, baring their teeth, the hair on their back is raised. You freeze in your tracks and for a several tense seconds your wondering if your going to be mauled in the middle of the trail on a beautiful day. A half a minute later the dogs owner rounds the corner and you hear him say “Oh, don’t worry they’re friendly”.

I do want to state right off the bat that I’m not a dog hater but I am neither a dog lover. Twice in the past 10 months my wife and I have been harassed by dogs on the trail.  The above mentioned incident happened last October on a hike down to the confluence of where the Indian River meets the Hudson.  A few weeks back we were at the Indian again, this time fly fishing coming back out on one of the access trails to the river. We weren’t far from the road when this time three large dogs charged us again stopping just a few feet in front of us growling and barking. The owner, this time an older woman gave a half hearted command to the dogs to stop nearly a full minute later. Again she was no where in sight on our initial contact with her dogs. It wasn’t until she walked by us that the dogs stopped their aggressive behavior and followed her. No apologies, no nothing!

Just yesterday on a hike into the newly open trail to OK Slip Falls we weren’t on the trail more than 10 minutes when a large dog sprinted towards us from the rear. This one was friendly, we knew that how? because his owner yelled to us from a few hundred feet back “he’s friendly”, but does that make it alright? We encountered 3 other dogs running freely on the trail that day.  We didn’t have an incident with any of them but yet we still had to wonder if we were going to and like the other times we were confronted by dogs the owners were no where in sight. The last dog we came upon was leashed and I made it a point to commend the young guy with the dog for having the courtesy to leash his animal.

Did I forget to mention my wife was mauled by a dog as a child?

In my opinion and from my experience there should be a mandatory leash law in the Adirondacks on any and all trails inside the park on public land. Dog owners may think their dogs are cute running up to people but they aren’t. I don’t own a dog, I’m not hiking with a dog so why would I want to deal with your dog?  I don’t care if your dog is friendly, I don’t want to be friends with him. It’s obvious from my experience that some people shouldn’t even own dogs let alone be allowed on public trails with them when they actually pose a risk of injury to myself or someone else.

For you dog owners that are reading this shaking your head saying “this isn’t my dog”, it is your dog. Unless your dog is leashed this is your dog and I do not want to interact with your dog period! We have discussed carrying a canister of mace on future hikes.  I will not have a problem macing the next canine that decides to charge at me, but really why should it be my worry to do that?  Show some consideration and respect for others on the trail and leash your dog.

Currently as far as my research shows there is only a leash law for part of the Eastern High Peaks area and no dogs are allowed whatsoever on AMR trails.  The fine for having a dog off the leash in the high peaks is a mere $15.00, far too little to get the point across to dog owners who don’t obey the law. It seems like a no brainer to institute a leash law throughout the whole of the Adirondack Trail System. Is there any less chance that an unleashed dog will bite someone on Mt. Marcy than the trail to the Blue Ledges?

So to answer my own question, “should there be a leash law in the Adirondacks?”  My answer is a definite YES!

Please feel free to leave your opinion on the issue in the comment section below.

OK Slip Falls

OK Slip Falls ~ Adirondacks, NYRound Trip Distance  ~ 6.0 milesHiking Time One Way ~ 1 hr & 45 minDifficulty ~ Easy to Moderate with long fairly flat sections with several shortinclines.  Hike to the bottom of the falls, extremely difficult.

signpostOK Slip Falls is located in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area halfway between North River and Indian Lake, NY.  From the intersection of Rte 28 and 13th Lake Road in North River drive north toward Indian Lake for approximately 4.7 miles, parking for the trailhead will be on the left hand side of the road. The trailhead itself is a short hike a few hundred yards further north on the right side of Rte. 28. mudflats   The first thing you’ll notice is mud, lots of mud! Don’t let that discourage you after a few hundred yards you’ll be back on dry ground.  At 0.5 miles the trail to OK Slip Falls veers off to the right and continues through a hardwood forest of mostly beech and maple. beaver flow  At around 1.5 miles you will come upon a beaver flow on your right. This is a pretty spot and worth  spending a few minutes exploring for tracks in the muddy shoreline. I looked quick for any sign of Moose tracks but came up empty. Moose are making a pretty good comeback in the Adirondacks and I frequently find their tracks around these wet areas.   At the 2.0 mile mark you will come out to a dirt road where the trail turns left and follows the road for approximately 100 yards before turning and entering the woods again on the right. This dirt road leads to the Northern Frontier Camp for Christian Boys. The trail again here is a little muddy for a short distance.  The last mile of the hike starts winding its way down toward the falls and is the longest incline you will encounter.  There are two overlooks of which I felt the first overlook has the best view. OK Slip FallsWe got quite a bit of a late start to our hike and didn’t arrive at the overlook until a little after 12 noon. The nice thing about being late was the angle of the sun that was creating a rainbow  midway up the falls. This is getting to be a popular hike and you will most likely not be alone very long if at all while you’re there.  Don’t forget to be courteous and share the view. Ok Slip Falls is said to be the highest waterfall in the Adirondacks at 250′ feet tall.  OK Slip Brook continues from the base of the falls and flows about .05 miles further where it merges with the Hudson River. A short walk further down the ridge will bring you to the second overlook, still a beautiful view but not as good as the first.  At this point there is a trail that continues to the bottom of the falls. A sign posted says the trail is closed. Most people will not venture further than this sign which is a good idea. The trail itself is nearly vertical, slippery and muddy with few hand or footholds.  If your not an experienced outdoorsman with proper foot wear, physical ability and common sense do not venture down this trail!  While the bottom of the falls offers a different perspective it still does not compare with the awe of the first overlook, by far the best view and a great spot for a bite to eat. Green Headed Cone flowers, Snakeroot, Spotted Joe-Pye-Weed and Purple Fringed Orchid were the prevalent wildflowers growing around the stream bank on this August day. Helleborine was about the only woodland wildflower we spotted. A spring hike should have quite a bit of color on the wooded sections of the trail with Gaywings, violets, Spring Beauties and Hepatica being just a few of the wildflower species you should find. A hike into the falls in autumn should be spectacular with the amount of maples on the trail. I wouldn’t expect too much color at the falls themselves as the prevalent tree species is Hemlock but there should be a little color mixed in.  No matter which season you go the falls are truly a magnificent sight, I doubt you’ll be disappointed!




OK Slip Falls is a true gem in the Adirondacks! Let’s keep it that way.  Enjoy and leave only tracks!