Since taking up rock climbing several years ago, I have been drawn to the prospect of climbing the three-hundred-foot falls. This isn’t a new idea: Jim Goodwin described climbing Roaring Brook Falls in a 1938 article for the Adirondack Mountain Club. The falls also are mentioned in A Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks, the region’s first climbing guidebook, published in 1967. » Continue Reading.
“I want, as game protectors, men of courage, resolution and hardihood who can handle the rifle, axe and paddle; who can camp out in summer or winter; who can go on snowshoes, if necessary; who can go through the woods by day or by night without regard to trails,” New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt said in 1899.
This fall, those who think they meet that description will have a chance to apply to the storied ranks of New York State Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO) or Forest Rangers. The state will hold civil service exams for those positions on November 16, 2013. Applications are being accepted until October 2. » Continue Reading.
This was not the bike trip I had hoped for. It seemed like a good idea, until I saw my girlfriend Liz dragging her bicycle up and over slippery rocks in a rushing stream. After a push and pull to gain some ground and a quick break to study the best way to rock hop with a bike in hand, she stumbled and fell. While dropping her beloved Surly bicycle into the water in an attempt to gain her balance she just groaned with exasperation. Now, with the bike partially submerged and her feet wet, we were both starting to question our reasoning. Not only were we fording streams, we found ourselves dragging bicycles over downed trees, ducking and weaving around overhanging branches, pushing through thick brush only to find the path strangled by even more vegetation and debris.
Our plan was pretty simple; retrace the route of the abandoned D and H Railroad from Plattsburgh to Saranac Lake. The maps all showed it, locals talked about its existence and one bike shop mechanic told us he traveled the whole thing by dirt bike years ago. “Although, “he said, “the right of way seems to be lost in places.” After some roadside scouting of the railroad grade via our little Toyota, we concluded that the best place to begin was outside of Cadyville where there were no houses or any no trespassing signs blocking our way. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in will sponsor its second Guide Boat Regatta Sept. 7. People who own one of the classic Adirondack boats, along with those who want to learn more about them, are invited to the event.
One of the centerpieces for the day will be “Beaver,” a guide boat that was in use during the property’s days as a Great Camp. The Beaver returned to Newcomb this summer after an absence of more than 70 years.
Last year, some 40 people gathered at the center with their guide boats for the first regatta, a day of programming about the craft’s historic role in Adirondack history, and most importantly, a day of rowing on Rich Lake. » Continue Reading.
Woolgathering is a frequent activity while I bushwhack through the Adirondack backcountry. My recent trip exploring between the South Ponds and Crooked Lake was no exception in this regard. My thoughts often revolved around how this area may be the loneliest part of the Five Ponds Wilderness, as evidence of recent visitors was scarce to non-existent. Instead of enjoying the seclusion, some nagging concern kept intruding upon my thoughts; I could not quite put my finger on its exact nature other than it involved an absence of some feature in the backcountry. » Continue Reading.
Last week, I wrote about a recently completed backpacking trip with my brother-in-law Dan and my nephew Jonah over the Great Range. This week I wanted to offer a few observations that did not fit into that narrative (aside to the editor: see John, I’m learning!).
Climbing High Peaks is not as common a pursuit for me as it once was. Lost Brook Tract occupies my focus now, along with the Central and Western Adirondacks. Indeed, although I am close to being a 46-er, I suspect I will never get there, as finishing a list just to say I did it lacks the allure it might have had when I was younger. I will certainly do the Seward Range at some point, but the remaining four peaks – Street, Nye, Couch and Panther – do not call to me. » Continue Reading.
There are plenty of reasons people enjoy spending time in the Adirondack wilderness. The reasons include the mental, spiritual and physical benefits of being surrounded by and immersed in the diversity of life. Few think about the flip side of life, as the backcountry is full of dangers, many of which can easily lead to, gulp, death.
For the grim reaper often wears hiking boots.
This struck me after reading about an incident where a hiker passed away in the High Peaks Wilderness recently. A 63-year old man, apparently in good health, collapsed and died a mile below the summit of Mt. Marcy just over a week ago. Unfortunately, this is not the first time such an incident occurred, as deaths often occur in the Adirondack backcountry. Whether these deaths come from over exertion or just some accident, thankfully, they do not happen too often.
» Continue Reading.
Veteran climber Don Mellor regards Free Ride on Wallface in the High Peaks as one of the better rock-climbing routes in the East, but when he scaled it last weekend it was not the same.
Mellor discovered that thousands of pounds of rock had fallen from the belay station at the end of the sixth pitch, known as the Lunch Ledge.
“What’s left is an arch propped up by blocks,” he said.
Not trusting the stability of the arch, he climbed ten feet past it (and to the left) to set up a belay in another spot. » Continue Reading.
Several periods of heavy rain during June and July of 2013 caused local flooding and damage across New York and Vermont. The rains also added a new slide to Dix Mountain’s already impressive collection.
Two swaths of stone were exposed on the west side of Dix’ curved southern ridge. Converging below, the debris cut a channel of devastation through the forest toward Dix Pond (see inset in picture below). If you’re in the mood for a fresh adventure in a remote location, this may be your ticket to an exciting day in the Adirondack backcountry.
For me, the question was settled by Tropical Storm Irene. In August 2011, Irene’s deluge triggered a new slide that leads from the Trap Dike to the summit of Mount Colden and scoured the dike itself clean of vegetation and rubble.
As a result, from Avalanche Lake, hikers climb roughly three-quarters of a mile over clean rock, ascending 1,850 feet.
This July during our Adirondack residency I took some time away from Lost Brook Tract to accompany my brother-in-law Dan and his nine year old son Jonah on Jonah’s first hard-core backpacking trip, a two-day traverse of the Great Range followed by the McIntyre Range the next day. I was filled with anticipation for the two-fold effect awaiting Jonah: the immediate joy and the lasting legacy. At nine I would have passed out with excitement from such an adventure, from being on the grand and imposing rock of that range. But then, as veteran hikers know, the hard work and toil attendant to scaling such rugged ups and downs, the persistence of the pack weight sinking into you, the slow, sustained rhythm that sees you steadily progress through high Adirondack forest, these things work deeply into your body, into your muscle memory and your larger psyche where they embed themselves and cure there, strengthening your experience to a level that leaves you changed forever. To imagine these effects working on my young nephew brought me immense pleasure. » Continue Reading.
This winter the state-owned Whiteface ski area will debut a new (and as yet un-named) glade on Lookout Mountain. The 1,500 foot long expert glade will be cut half-way down Hoyt’s High and will also connect the Summit Chair lift. The development of the new glade is expected to begin this week. Once completed, the glade will add an additional 4.7 acres to the mountain’s already 283 acres of skiable terrain and 3,430 of vertical, the most vertical east of the Rockies.
This is the first new trail added to Whiteface Mountain since the opening of Lookout Mountain in 2008. Other mountain improvements include the addition of 35 low energy snow guns that will provide efficient snow coverage on Easy Street, Broadway and Excelsior. The mountain has also purchased an energy efficient boom fan snow gun that will be used to cover the mountain’s Lower Valley trail. » Continue Reading.
In a statement issued to the press New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens praised Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative. Under this initiative, New York is streamlining the purchase of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improving fishing access at various sites across the state, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish, expanding fishing clinics and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. The reduced fees become effective February 1, 2014. » Continue Reading.
The state attorney general’s office is seeking once again to shut down Hudson River Rafting Company, alleging that the company violated a court order by sending clients on whitewater trips without a licensed guide.
Assistant Attorney General G. Nicholas Garin says in court papers that the company and its owner, Patrick Cunningham, violated the order a month or so after resuming business this summer.
Last fall, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed suit against Cunningham accusing him of running an unsafe business. He sought to shut Hudson River Rafting permanently, but state Supreme Court Justice Richard Giardino ruled in May that Cunningham could resume operations under certain conditions, among them that he deploy only licensed rafting guides on trips on the upper Hudson River, including the Hudson Gorge. » Continue Reading.
This summer children are invited to test their skills at “the fastest sport on ice.” Based in Lake Placid, the USA Luge headquarters runs a series of free Learn-To-Luge programs on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 pm from the transfer station road to the dump throughout the summer months.
According to Recruitment and Development Manager Fred Zimny this is the third year for these local clinics where the mobile luge starting ramp is moved to the entrance of the Lake Placid transfer station (Dump Rd.) after hours and children ages 8-13 learn to slide on real luge sleds.
» Continue Reading.
A historic carry trail between Utowana Lake and the Marion River likely will be added to the Forest Preserve if the public approves an amendment to the state constitution to resolve a longstanding dispute over the ownership of more than two hundred parcels on Raquette Lake.
Under this scenario, the state would give up title to the disputed lands in exchange for the 295-acre Marion River parcel, which the Open Space Institute purchased this year for $2 million from Dean Pohl, who operates a cruise boat on Raquette Lake.
The deal is not set in stone. If the amendment passes in November, the state legislature will have to determine that the swap would provide a net benefit to the Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.
Almost 5,000 pages of written public comments, most supporting Wilderness classification, were submitted as part of the recent public hearing concerning some 46,000 acres of newly purchased and existing Forest Preserve lands around the Essex Chain Lakes area and 22 miles of the Hudson River. The carefully argued and highly emotional comments, were acquired from the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The comments were emailed, faxed and mailed; some were handwritten or sent from iPads and smartphones. They included a variety of form letters and petitions.
The nearly 5,000 pages were part of some 3,600 written comments submitted in total. Only the written comments were included in the FOIA request. An analysis of testimony from the eight public hearings; five held in the Adirondacks, three outside the Park, was not included. Around 200 total speakers made statements at those hearings, many speaking more than once. » Continue Reading.