Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lost Brook Dispatches: Peak Envy

Blue MountainDuring our recent spring adventure to Lost Brook we enjoyed three uncommon views that celebrated the prominence of three dominating Adirondack Peaks, plus a fourth view that is common but remains one of my favorites.  The common view was Blue Mountain from the crest of Highway 30 between Tupper Lake and Long lake.  I love this view because it is a true vista, which gives a greater sensation of size and vertical.  Vistas are rare in the Adirondacks, at least vistas that render a higher mountain in all its glory.  Blue was already largely snow free but its characteristic bulk from that Route 30 vantage point never fails to draw a breath from me in any season.

The other three views benefited from the calendar.  This time of year enhances the sense of a mountain’s scale, with earth tones and green on the lower slopes and plenty of white on high.  The Adirondacks may not be perpetually snow-capped, but in late April or early May we can imagine they are and they seem much more lofty for it. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

A New Variation To An Old Chapel Pond Climb

Phil raps Sebastian webI’d guess anyone who climbs regularly in the Adirondacks has climbed Chapel Pond Slab. For beginners, it’s a great place to get a feel for the exposure and intricacies of multi-pitch climbing. For the more experienced, it’s a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the stone and the views of Chapel Pond Pass.

The most popular climb on the slab is Regular Route, with a half-dozen interesting and varied pitches. Not much is known about the history of Regular Route. The guidebook Adirondack Rock says it evolved from variations of an early route called Bob’s Knob Standard. The region’s first climbing guidebook, A Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks, says it was pioneered by the Alpine Club of Canada.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Backcountry Hitchhikers: When Nature Comes Home

Mucky spot along Upper South Pond TrailThe Adirondack backcountry is a fascinating place to visit. It provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life, where slow traffic, demanding bosses and other aspects of the daily grind are left far behind for the relaxing solitude that is increasingly rare in the modern world. Tranquility, outstanding photographs and a satiation of peace and quiet are just a few takeaway benefits of spending time in the remote backcountry.

It is not all forest bathing and new age communing out there, as these positive aspects of a backcountry adventure are not the only things making their way home with us. There is a whole host of nefarious backcountry things that may show up in your gear, your home, or heaven forbid, yourself.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adirondack Adventure Festival in North Creek

 Adirondack Adventure Festival 2011 562There are so many times that I wish I could be in two places at the same time. Though my family is committed and looking forward to hiking The Grand Hike from Westport to Essex on May 3rd, the Adirondack Adventure Festival in North Creek is taking place around the same time.

 

According to Director of Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce Lisa Salamon this year’s Adirondack Adventure Festival will be hosting even more family-friendly activities on May 3-4, 2014. The event is bringing back its popular children’s trout fishing tournament along with more games, face painting and Adirondack crafts.

» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Inaugural Champlain Area Trails Grand Hike May 3

CATSGrandHikeChamplain Area Trails (CATS) will host a full day celebration of community-connecting activities at the inaugural Grand Hike on Saturday, May 3, 2014. The Grand Hike is an “Inn to Inn” walk in the spirit of self-guided inn to inn walks made popular in Europe. Hikers will depart at 9 a.m. from the Westport Hotel in Westport, N.Y., traversing along a mix of Champlain Area Trails and scenic back roads to the finish at the Essex Inn in Essex, N.Y.

The complete journey totals 14 miles, but participants will be able to select from several shorter distances. The hike is divided into 5 segments, with 4 “oases” along the trail from which hikers can start or finish. Each oasis will provide port-o-potties, water, snacks, maps and complimentary shuttles to and from the Westport Hotel, Essex Inn and the Essex Ferry dock. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Whitewater: Paddling the Schroon River

Bob on the Schroon RiverSince ski season ended, I had been looking forward to my first whitewater canoe trip of the season.  The spring showers and melting snow had conspired to raise the river levels to dangerous levels, but they have now receded.   For our inaugural trip of the season, Bob, Horst and I decided to run the Schroon River. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gore Mountain Replacing 30 Year Old Lift

Adirondack Express Charlift at Gore Mountain (Saratoga Skier Photo)This summer Gore Mountain, in North Creek, N.Y. will replace its 30-year-old Adirondack Express with a new high-speed detachable quad. The new lift is expected to offer guests a smoother, faster, and more reliable ride out of Gore’s primary base area. The plan includes a new unloading zone near the mid-mountain Saddle Lodge which will be lowered and restructured for easier access to the slopes.

According to the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages Gore Mountain, the new Adirondack Express will have a capacity of 2,400 people per hour, 300 more than previously.  The lift is expected to operate 38% faster than its predecessor, and to have eight fewer towers and padded chairs for a smoother ride. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Mapping Resources From The Adirondack Park Agency

APA-GIScapture The Adirondack Park Agency has some of the most skilled GIS (Geographic Information Sysytems) analysts at work in the park, and they have also been very proactive in sharing their mapping resources with the public.    I thought Adirondack Almanack readers might be interested in some of the new additions to the agency GIS page found here: http://apa.ny.gov/gis/

Some of the new products include maps of Park Webcams (with links so you can see the live feed), USGS Stream flow stations, and a newly released (Feb 2014) version of their meticulously curated ‘Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan Map and State Land Map’ that now includes the newly classified land in the Essex Chain lakes between Newcomb and Indian Lake. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Will The Finch, Pruyn Deal Help Local Towns?

May June 2014After the state agreed to buy 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land from the Nature Conservancy, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the deal would be an economic boon to local towns.

The premise is that the new state lands will attract more tourists. In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, Brian Mann takes a hard look at this notion.

Mann talked to regional politicians, local business owners, environmentalists, and economic researchers, among others. The consensus is that the Finch, Pruyn acquisition does present an opportunity, but economic growth won’t happen on its own. Like any tourist destination, the Finch, Pruyn lands must be marketed and well maintained.

If the lands are not properly marketed, it’s possible that they will simply “cannibalize” other parts of the Adirondack Park. In other words, all we’d be doing is shuffling the same tourist dollars around.

We’ll post Brian’s full story soon on Adirondack Almanack.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Champlain Area Trails’ Grand Hike May 3

steven_hike_map_lowThough both my children are enthusiastic hikers, not much can easily pry my teenager out of bed for an early start. Nothing that is, except the promise of a second breakfast that doesn’t require him to cook or clean up. He compares the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) 14-mile Westport Inn to Essex Inn hike to a sandwich. I’m guessing that the bread is breakfast at the beginning of the walk and the block party dinner at the end, while the meat in the middle is hiking with our puppy.

According to CATS Board Chairperson Katharine Preston leashed dogs are always welcome on CAT trails. The May 3rd Inn to Inn event will be no different. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

David Thomas-Train:
Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine Work To Save Ranger Trail

Thomas-TrainThe Friends of Poke-O-Moonshine have been working since 1997 to restore the fire tower and trails on that mountain. The group is a coalition of Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the town of Chesterfield, Champlain Area Trails (CATS), the Mountaineer, local summer camps and businesses, several Adirondack Mountain Club chapters, and hundreds of individuals who know and love the mountain.

The fire tower was fully restored as an interpretive site in 2005. Educational displays showcase fire-tower and local history and the land uses within the viewshed of the mountain. Since 2002, the Friends have employed tower stewards for the summer hiking season.

We have redeveloped the Ranger Trail as an interpretive trail with eleven numbered stops keyed to a brochure on the human and natural history of “Poke-O.” We also worked with the Adirondack Nature Conservancy to guarantee access to a second trail, the Observers’ Trail, which was the original vehicle route to the fire observer’s cabin below the summit. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lost Brook Tract in April: Adirondack Rite of Spring

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn September of 1911 the great Russian composer Igor Stravinsky began work on music for a ballet that we now know as the Rite of Spring. Stravinsky’s score, with its polytonality, its violent, dissonant upheavals, its ritualistic, pagan pulses and its raw, almost vulgar power, changed the face of music.  It also vividly recreated an ancient, primeval interpretation of spring that swept away the bucolic, peaceful, benevolent image of spring depicted by the impressionists.   In Stravinsky’s conception spring is not peaceful; rather it is a primitive and powerful eruption of nature, savage and dynamic, evoking the deepest and most prehistoric human notions of fertility and mortality.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that Stravinsky composed most of The Rite of Spring in Switzerland; where more than mountains does spring evince such characteristics?  For that matter he might as well have written it while experiencing spring in the Adirondacks, the full ritual force of which was on display this week at Lost Brook Tract. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 17, 2014

Adirondack Winter Search And Rescue Report

DEC Forest RangerThe most recent Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Report for DEC Region 5 includes most of the Adirondack region. Although not a comprehensive detailing of all backcountry incidents, these reports are issued periodically by the DEC and printed here at the Almanack in their entirety. They are organized by county, and date. You can read previous Forest Ranger Reports here.

These incident reports are a stern reminder that wilderness conditions can change suddenly and accidents happen. Hikers and campers should check up-to-date forecasts before entering the backcountry and always carry a flashlight, first aid kit, map and compass, extra food, plenty of water and clothing. Be prepared to spend an unplanned night in the woods and always inform others of your itinerary.

The Adirondack Almanack reports current outdoor recreation and trail conditions each Thursday evening. Listen for John Warren’s Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dan Crane: The Northville-Placid Trail Experience

Bushwhacking Fool near South PondThe Northville-Placid Trail is getting a face-lift. The initial 10-mile stretch that started at the west end of the bridge over the Sacandaga River along State Route 30 is no more, or at least soon will be. Instead, the famous trail will soon officially start in the village of Northville and mostly stick to State Forest Preserve for the first ten miles all the way to Upper Benson.

This is not the only recent change for the famous trail. Combined with other alterations over the last few years, the singular long trail of the Adirondacks is going through a transition, giving it a whole new look; one that makes it wilder and more remote.

At least as far as I am concerned.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Adirondack Nature Programs for Children

NewcombVICspring_newApril is a tricky time of year to be accessing Adirondack paths and trails, though not impossible.  Some places still have snow enough for skiing while other trails are already knee-deep in mud. Staying off trails during mud season is always the best option as it allows trails to rejuvenate, alleviates trail erosion and protects native plant life.

There are options available so families can choose to still get out in nature without damaging trails or harming themselves. Spring is the perfect time to try the low trails and have a different experience looking for spring wildflowers or migrating birds.  I understand “wanting to get” that elusive 46er, but please make sure that springtime trail conditions are agreeable. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, April 13, 2014

The High Peaks From Hurricane Mountain

IMG_5140

Spring is in the air in the Adirondacks. Saturday was a picture perfect day on Hurricane mountain. The summit provides unique views of the High Peaks. The Green Mountains of Vermont and Lake Champlain are also visible to the east.



Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Eureka Tent Chronicles: Wrecked by the Wild

Collapsing AdirondacLate one June afternoon in the Year of Our Lord 1995 I checked into the Lake Placid Econo Lodge with my brother, spent a comfortable night and left in the morning.  I have not been back since (through no fault of Econo Lodge).  It’s just as well – if Econo Lodge has any sort of institutional memory I will never again get another room.

In the summer of 1995 I took a long –and long awaited – backpacking trip with my nephew Michael.  Michael and I are roughly the same age and we are close, so “brother” serves us as a more proper salutation.  By the mid 1990’s I was an experienced backpacker but Michael was a novice.  Like me he had been going to the Adirondacks all his life and adored them, but he was relatively new to the High Peaks region and its glories.  We planned a six day trip in order to really take it in.

Michael remembers the details for the trip much better than I do, so I will liberally quote from the reminiscences he recently shared with me. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Rules For Boating In The Adirondacks For 2014

Stillwater REsivoir in 1973 (Anne Labastille)As more moderate weather arrives across the Adirondack boaters and anglers are beginning to take advantage of the abundance of recreational waterways the park has to offer.

This is a good time to review recently enacted laws and regulations about boating, particularly those related to boat operators and aquatic invasive species. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dewey Mountain’s New Lodge Funraising Campaign

photo-3My daughter recently turned eleven and in lieu of gifts, once again asked her friends to give money to the organization of her choice. We have always encouraged our children to choose ways to give back to our community whether it’s volunteering or raising funds. This year the non-profit of her choice was the Dewey Mountain Lodge campaign.

Oddly enough my daughter isn’t our child that skis as part of the Dewey program. We tried her in the Nordic program, but she just enjoyed skiing the trails at her own pace. (I think it is more likely that the racing and games cut into her time on the nearby playground.) I do know she really enjoys warming up at Pisgah’s Ski Lodge so it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to believe she has visions of watching her brother race next winter from the inside of the new Dewey Lodge. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Jack Drury: A Proposal For Rail AND Trail

Rail.locator (2)(1)I’ve been an advocate of more recreational trails throughout the park for a long time. I also feel that we’ll be cheated if we don’t try our damnedest to try to have a rail and trail, side by side where possible and intersecting when not.

In a March 16 letter to the Utica Observer Dispatch respected trail advocate Tony Goodwin noted that a rail with trail, “… is not physically possible” and that:  “Periodically leaving the corridor is so far just talk. A year ago, Tupper Lake rail supporters formed a committee to look at a parallel trail from Tupper Lake to the campground at Rollins Pond. I know committee members made field inspections, but so far there’s no plan showing that a parallel trail could feasibly be built.”

I decided to take a deeper look. I talked with some folks from Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake who have explored the rail corridor in greater detail than I have. I took their information and combined it with my own experience and I made a map of a possible trail from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake.  » Continue Reading.



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