Almanack Contributor David Thomas-Train

David Thomas-Train

David Thomas-Train has lived in Keene Valley, New York, since 1981.  He has been an educator for over thirty-five years, now tutoring students of all ages. He leads canoeing, hiking, and ski trips in the Adirondacks, incorporating environmental education into these activities for various local outdoor organizations. He is the Coordinator of The Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine, a grassroots organization dedicated to the restoration of the fire tower and trails on that mountain, and to its use as an environmental education site. A volunteer for numerous Adirondack scientific and advocacy groups, he monitors aquatic invasive species, loon populations, and is involved in mammal tracking.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Poke-O-Moonshine Fire Tower Marking 100 Years

Poke-O-Moonshine Fire TowerThey started put being paid $60 a month for their half-year, all-weather stints in the fire tower. Overall, there were twenty-one Fire Observers on Poke-O-Moonshine from 1912 through 1988. Most came from nearby Keeseville, and the first three worked in the original wooden tower before the current one was built in 1917.

That makes the fire tower 100 years old. It was part of a crop of standardized steel towers that New York State built in response to the catastrophic forest fires of the early 20th Century. Drought, high winds, lightning, heaps of logging slash, and sparks from lumber-hauling trains had combined to burn almost a million acres of New York forest over two decades. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

The History And Mystery Of Split Rock Mountain

The Champlain Palisades.PHOTO BY KAREN STOLZSplit Rock Mountain, the locale of an ancient boundary between nations, is the exotic and mysterious Far East of the Adirondacks. It’s home to rattlesnakes, bobcats, eagles, and peregrine falcons and the scene of a marital murder, a mining tragedy, and Revolutionary War intrigue. You’ll find here disappearing ponds, Lake Champlain’s sheerest shoreline, panoramic vistas, and a wonderfully varied network of trails.

I’ve been lucky to visit these woods often on foot and on skis. The mountain straddles adjoining corners of Essex and Westport. My first jaunt here was in 1984, soon after the state’s first big land purchase in the area, and my guide was Gary Randorf, the first executive director of the Adirondack Council. We explored a rolling dogleg trail, his favorite, now called Gary’s Elbow. That spring day we observed the deeply soft lavender of hepatica (to me, the loveliest early wildflower), and we hiked to the lookout over Snake Den Harbor, a deep anchorage bounded by precipitous haunts of the eastern timber rattlesnake. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 2, 2015

A Visit To Wardsboro Road Near Lake George

Wardsboro_roadThe midsection of Lake George, known as the Narrows, is so tightly squeezed with steep mountainsides that there are no highways along its shorelines; without such access, most of that stretch of lake is bordered by state land. Roads connecting the north and south basins of the lake have to run well back from the shore.

The nineteenth-century throughway on the west side, called Wardsboro Road, was built several miles from the lake and had to climb and descend 1,300 feet to connect the towns of Bolton and Hague. The road is named for the early farming community at its southern end. » Continue Reading.