Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Frost Valley Maple Sugaring Hike

Frost Valley has tapped 1200 trees and could make up to 500 gallons of maple syrup a year in their sap house. It’s a short walk from camp. But first, a hike through the woods, led by environmental educator and sap expert, Amber.

How can you tell if it’s a Maple tree in the winter when there are no leaves? In the Catskills or Hudson Valley, there are a few ways to identify them. Look at the branches. If they come out at the exact same height, but on opposite sides of the tree (opposite branching), it’s likely a Maple. Then look at the bark. A diamond like pattern (see photo) means it’s an Ash, not a Maple. Then look at the leaf buds. If they’re red, it might be a red maple.

We didn’t see many animals, but there was no shortage of wildife activity. We could tell by the tracks….and the carnage!

We saw an area in the snow where some coyote had taken down a deer. Amber explained how important controlling the deer population is to maintaining diversity in the forest, since they tend to eat most saplings.

At last, the sap house. Inside, a visual wake-up call: at least 50 gallons of sap are needed for one gallon of syrup. (I wonder if I’d get a gallon or two from my dozen or so trees?)

These blue tubes carry the sap from the sugarbush (clump of maple trees) to the tanks.

The holding tank stores the sap until it’s ready to be boiled in this wood-fueled evaporator.

Aunt Jemima, your days are numbered.

Frost Valley YMCA

2000 Frost Valley Road
Claryville, NY 12725
Phone: (845) 985-2291


Joanne said...

A fascinating journey, indeed, from the maple trees to our breakfast table waffles! It's quite a journey to perfection :)

Ronda Laveen said...

Thanks for sharing this. We don't have these trees on the left coast. Mmmm...I love Maple syrup.

tina said...

I bet fresh maple syrup must be soooo good!

Talon said...

This makes me want to visit the sugar bush again! I've often wondered who first thought of tasting the sap. But I'm glad they did. Loved the photo essay - thank you, JGH. You brought back some fun memories.

k said...

I've been thinking it must be time to get going around here. Did you get to try any maple candy? Still a favorite from my childhood (they were big into pioneer stuff in grade school).And pouring it fresh from the fire onto the snow for pioneer slushies.

Squirrel of Nyack said...

Ain't nothing like the real thing baby. Nice little break in the Catskills ~ did you visit the big house on the hill Forstmann's Castle?

patti said...

WOULD YOU BELIEVE that hubby wrote maple syrup on our grocery list YESTERDAY??!! I sometimes get it from Indiana farm friends.

That tap house looks nicer than some places I've stayed!

LOVE this look at your life.
Thank you.