Almanack Contributor Phil Brown

Phil Brown

Since 1999, Phil Brown has been Editor of the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.


Friday, May 8, 2015

New State Lands: Paddling MacIntyre East

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABrian Mann and I had been on the water for several hours when we came to a fallen tree stretched across the river. We pulled over to a sandbank to carry our canoes around.

“Human footprints,” Brian remarked.

“So I guess we’re not Lewis and Clark,” I replied.

If we weren’t intrepid explorers, at least we could pretend. For even if we weren’t the first, we must have been among the first to paddle the upper Hudson River and Opalescent River since the state purchased the 6,200-acre MacIntyre East tract from the Nature Conservancy in April. The land was formerly owned by the Finch, Pruyn paper company.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

NYCO Finishes Test Drilling In Jay Mountain Wilderness

NYCO Minerals has finished test drilling in the Jay Mountain Wilderness and now plans to assess the quality of the wollastonite found on the site.

Brian Glackin, the mine manager, said the company ended up drilling at only eight sites, though it had originally been permitted to drill at twenty-one.

“At the first three holes there was nothing. That was a big gulp,” Glackin told me Tuesday when I visited Lot 8, the 200-acre parcel that NYCO hopes to acquire from the state.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Magazine Recommends Alpine Trek In Adirondacks

Will-high-in-dikeThe May issue of Climbing magazine contains a section on alpine treks, including one in the Adirondacks. They all combine hiking with rock climbing or scrambling.

The other treks are in the Sierras, the Grand Tetons, and the North Cascades, so we’re in good company. The authors, however, evidently struggled a bit to come up with an alpine adventure to rival those in the big mountains out west.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

DEC Proposes Trail, Lean-to In Pepperbox Wilderness

Pepperbox Wilderness by Dan CraneThe 22,560-acre Pepperbox Wilderness in the western Adirondacks is one of the smaller wilderness areas in the Park, but it also is one of the wildest. It has no lean-tos and only two miles of foot trails.

The State Land Master Plan observes that the lack of a trail system “offers an opportunity to retain a portion of the Adirondack landscape in a state that even a purist might call wilderness.”


Monday, April 27, 2015

Paddling Tips For New Opalescent, Hudson River Areas

Upper HudsonWhen researching my Adirondack Paddling guidebook a few years ago, I canoed a stretch of the upper Hudson River and the lower Opalescent River. At the time, legal options for accessing both rivers were limited, despite their proximity to County Route 25, the road leading to the Upper Works trailhead.

I parked along the road next to a Forest Preserve sign and put in the Hudson from a sloping boulder with poor footing. In the book, I recommended people paddle downriver to the Opalescent and then paddle back up the Hudson a few miles to take out at a bridge on County Route » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

State Acquires 6,200 Acres of Former Finch, Pruyn Land

MacIntyre EastThe state has acquired a 6,200-acre tract next to the High Peaks Wilderness that includes long stretches of the Hudson and Opalescent rivers, making them easily accessible to flatwater paddlers.

The state bought the property for $4.24 million from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy as part of a multi-year agreement to acquire sixty-five thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands. It is now open to the public.

Known as MacIntyre East, the property lies between Mount Adams and Allen Mountain and just east of the road leading to the Upper Works Trailhead in Newcomb. Last year, the state bought a companion tract known as MacIntyre West, » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

It’s April, But Don’t Put Away Skis Yet

Carol MacKinnon Fox summits Mount Van Hoevenberg on skis. Photo by Phil Brown.It may be April, but there’s still skiing to be had in the backcountry. Wednesday morning I skied to the top of Dewey Mountain outside Saranac Lake and enjoyed a fun run down in virtually midwinter conditions.

Last weekend, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I skied over the summit of Mount Van Hoevenberg and found plenty of snow on the descent. There also was plenty of snow last weekend on the Mr. Van Trail in the High Peaks Wilderness.


Monday, March 30, 2015

DEC Closes Rock-Climbing Cliffs For Falcons

Nesting falcons. Photo from DEC website.You know winter is coming to an end when the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes rock-climbing cliffs where peregrine falcons are known to breed.

Peregrines are on the state’s endangered-species list, and so each spring DEC closes cliffs to protect their nesting sites. Cliffs will be reopened if no nesting occurs on them. Those cliffs used for nesting will be reopened in the summer after the chicks fledge.


Monday, March 23, 2015

A Fish Creek Ponds Ski Tour

Follensby_snow-600x308The winter started out promising with a good snowfall in December, but later in the month rains washed away most of the snowpack. We received a bit of light, fluffy powder the week after Christmas, but not enough to make most trails skiable.

And so, not for the first time in recent winters, we opted for a ski tour across backcountry ponds.

When people think of pond skiing, they usually think of the Seven Carries in the St. Regis Canoe Area. Indeed, Carol MacKinnon Fox and I skied the Seven Carries route on January 2 and found the conditions ideal: a few inches of light snow on top of rock-solid ice, with no slush. We had » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Skiing The Marcy Trail

Tim Peartree ascends Mount Marcy in a whiteout Sunday. Photos by Phil Brown.This has been a great winter for powder skiing in the backcountry, thanks to a two-month-plus stretch of cold weather without a serious thaw. Alas, that stretch ended last week, leaving me a bit apprehensive about ski conditions.

On Sunday, I skied Mount Marcy with my neighbor, Tim Peartree, starting from Adirondak Loj. As it turned out, the trail was in great shape for skiing.


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