Thursday, November 7, 2013

Essex Chain Lakes Video ‘Day One of Forever’ Released

When Susan Bibeau and I paddled the   Essex Chain Lakes on October 1, the  day it opened to the public, we ran into a crew on the shore of Third Lake who were recording a video for the Nature Conservancy, which had sold the Essex Chain Tract to the state, making it part of the forever-wild Forest Preserve.

I asked Connie Prickett, the conservancy’s spokeswoman, to send me a link to the video when it was done, and now she has. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phil Brown: A Taste Of The Climbing Bum’s Life

Phil Brown nears the top of South Peak at Seneca Rocks.For young climbers, the road trip is a rite of passage. Eschewing such mundane concerns as food and work, they cross the country to visit revered climbing locales such as the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, Red Rocks in Nevada, and Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California.

I was never a young climber. I took up the sport in my fifties. I couldn’t just quit my job and become a nomadic climbing bum. And so I did all my climbing in the Adirondacks, except for one afternoon at a small cliff in Little Falls.

In October, though, I went on a small version of the road trip. For years, I had been promising my friend Scott that I would visit him at his home in Kentucky. So I decided to drive down and do some climbing along the way. In all, I climbed in five places (in order): Ragged Mountain in Connecticut, the Gunks in downstate New York, the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, and the New River Gorge and Seneca Rocks in West Virginia. » Continue Reading.


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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dan Crane:
Pssst, I Got A Couple Adirondack Propositions For Ya

The View from the new Jay Mountain Trail (DEC Photo)This time of the year marks a period of change. With the falling leaves, the coming of cold temperatures and their accompanying snowfall, the change is literally in the air. Along with these natural changes, comes the possibility of political change as well, brought about on the high-holy day of any democracy, voting day. In New York State, voting day often includes a number of propositions to amend the state constitution, two of which just happen to involve the Adirondack Park this time around.

Politics often lacking any semblance of imagination, the two propositions are simply names Proposal #4 and #5. Both of these proposals involve land exchanges in the Adirondacks, although under vastly different circumstances.
» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recent Adirondack Search and Rescue Operations

DEC Forest RangerWhat follows is the September 2013 Forest Ranger Activity Report for DEC Region 5, which 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 the weekly Adirondack Outdoor Conditions Report on Friday mornings on WNBZ (AM 920 & 1240, FM 105 & 102.1), WSLP (93.3) and on the stations of North Country Public Radio.
» Continue Reading.



Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Guide to the Saranac Lake 6er Challenge

saranac6Jessica Seem brought her two sons to the Adirondacks for vacation this summer after reading on the Internet about the Saranac Lake 6er challenge. They drove 260 miles from central Massachusetts and spent the next several days climbing six smallish mountains near the village of Saranac Lake.

Thanks to a tourism initiative begun by the village in May, hikers who climb all six peaks earn a patch and the right to ring the 6er bell at downtown’s Berkeley Green. The peaks range in height from 2,452 feet (Baker Mountain) to 3,322 feet (McKenzie Mountain). In between are Haystack, Scarface, St. Regis, and Ampersand mountains.

Seem and her sons—Elliot Walsh, ten, and Casey Seem, seven—finished their 6er round on Baker on the edge of the village. “Ampersand was my favorite,” Elliot said. “It was nice and scrambly, and the view was great.”

Younger brother Casey had been reluctant to climb all six until his mother promised him an ice-cream sundae. Asked what flavor he planned to get, he replied, “Whatever they have!”

Mayor Clyde Rabideau said he is pleased with the popularity of the 6er challenge. “It’s catching on,” he remarked. “It’s family friendly.” » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 2012 American Camping Report Released

Number of Camping TripsThe 2012 American Camper Report provides detailed data and analysis on camping trends throughout the United States. The report presents information on overall participation, preferences, buying behavior and the future of camping.

The report makes a broad definition of camping to include everything from ‘Glam Cabin Camping’ to sleeping overnight in the backyard with your kids, but it has some interesting data none-the-less. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Family Fun Day at Camp Chingachgook Saturday

For over 100 years Camp Chingachgook has been offering children and families options for enjoying nature on Lake George. Off-season the camp has opened its facility to the public for site- specific activities, but for the first time Camp Chingachgook is hosting a free family fun day, October 26 from 10 am – 4 pm, utilizing the whole camp property.

According to Camp Director Billy Rankin they used to offer various specialty days like High Ropes Day or Climbing Day throughout the season. In an attempt to simplify things and create a more family-friendly atmosphere, they created three seasonal events: Winter Wonderland, Spring Fling and the Fall Family Fun Day. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lake George to Lake Champlain: The LaChute River Trail

Lachute River in Spring (Tony hall Photo)The hill that separates the outlet of Lake George from the creek that opens into Lake Champlain is among the oldest portages in continuous use in North America.

The Native Americans gave it a name: Ticonderoga, “the place between waters.”

Up and down its slope have passed explorers and naturalists such as Isaac Jogues and Peter Kalm, travelers such as Thomas Jefferson and, of course, the armies of the French, the British and the Americans as supremacy over North America and its strategic waterways shifted from one nation to another. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Rescue At Rogers Rock on Lake George

Rogers Rock rapRogers Rock on Lake George is one of the most scenic cliffs in the Adirondacks, a spectacular place to climb on a crisp, clear fall day when you can see for miles up and down the lake.

My friend Mike Virtanen and I enjoyed just such a day last Sunday when we climbed Little Finger, a 490-foot route that follows a long crack that splits the slab. The slab rises straight out of the lake. We got there by canoeing from the Rogers Rock State Campground.

Little Finger is the most popular route on Rogers Rock (the guidebook Adirondack Rock gives it five stars), so given the beautiful weather, we feared others would have the same idea. Sure enough, when we got to the launch site, we met two other climbers with designs on Little Finger. Since we had climbed it before, they offered to let us go first.

Their climb would not end as well as ours. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Making Gear Repairs in the Backcountry

Wet blowdown near unnamed pondExploring the Adirondack backcountry is an arduous activity, demanding as much from the participant as from their equipment. Although this remains true for traditional trail hiking, it is even more so for its less conventional sibling of bushwhacking. Regardless, even the most durable gear can break, fall apart, pop, unravel or disintegrate at the most inappropriate moment, requiring some type of repair job that at the very least allows for a humbling exit from the backcountry.

The best offense is a good defense when it comes to any backcountry gear. Purchasing high quality gear, well made with durable materials, is crucial for reducing the possibility of failure in the field. Simple, yet functional equipment, with as few bells and whistles as possible, further diminishes any chance of catastrophic failure. Less stitching to unravel, less seams to become unsealed and less parts to go kerflooey at an inopportune time are a good thing.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DEC Opens Trail to Loon Lake Mountain Fire Tower

LoonLakeFireTowerA 2.8-mile trail to the fire tower on the summit of Loon Lake Mountain in the northern Adirondacks is complete and open to the public, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced.

The new trail includes a parking area and trailhead on the west side of County Route 26 in the Town of Franklin in Franklin County, approximately 4.7 miles north of the hamlet of Loon Lake. The trailhead and the lower portion of the trail are on the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands (CEL), while the upper portion is on forest preserve lands in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest.

The trail rises more than 1,600 feet from the trailhead to the 3,355-foot summit of Loon Lake Mountain. The open bedrock summit provides views of Lyon Mountain, Whiteface Mountain, the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Debar Mountain and other nearby summits. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Road to Sochi Olympics Begins This Weekend in Lake Placid

whiteface_13USA Luge, the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, and the U.S. Nordic teams will begin to take shape when each of the federations hold their national team and U.S. national championship events beginning this weekend, Oct. 12-13, in Lake Placid.

The events will help each organization select its fall 2013 World Cup team. And for many of these athletes, this will be the first step towards perhaps making the Olympic team that will compete in February’s winter games in Sochi, Russia. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

An Adirondack Recreational Web Portal In The Works

adkGoogleMapsScreenShotI have to confess, I love Google Maps, and not just because I’m a map guy.  Google Maps is my “go-to” when exploring unfamiliar territory. There’s a reason why Google Maps is the most popular smartphone app.  Forget browser searches—it is far more efficient to just type in what you’re looking for into Google Maps, and presto- you have a nice interactive map showing the nearest examples complete with links and (mostly) accurate directions, not only for driving, but also bicycling, public transit and even walking.

However, you may have noticed that the usefulness of Google Maps declines as you get into the Adirondack Park.  » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Hiking Hamlet to Hamlet: Wadhams to Essex

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAActing on its vision of people hiking on trails between local communities, Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is hosting a hamlet-to-hamlet hike this Sunday, October 13 between Wadhams and Essex.

“CATS’ goal is to have hiking trails that link our communities so people can enjoy the Champlain Valley’s amazing landscape and patronize businesses in our hamlets,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director in a statement sent to the press.  “To recognize our progress and have a fun Columbus weekend activity, we’re hosting this hike that will start at Dogwood Bakery and end at Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness on Main Street in Essex where refreshments will be available.” » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slide Climbing: Santanoni Mountain’s East (Twin) Slide

twin_headwall_chiarenzelli_NIK_5402Santanoni Mountain’s Twin Slide (aka East Slide per Drew Haas’ The Adirondack Slide Guide) is a fitting match to the Ermine Brook Slide on the opposite side of the ridge.

The nearly mile long track is filled with diverse and beautiful characteristics including open slab, boulders, overhanging outcrops, double-fall lines and cascades.

All good things come with a price. In this case challenging bushwhacks guard the slide at both the top and bottom. » Continue Reading.



Monday, October 7, 2013

More Access For Sable Highlands Easement Lands

sablelmapA number of new facilities and access opportunities on the Sable Highlands Conservation Easement Lands in Franklin and Clinton counties (former Domtar Industries lands near Lyon Mountain) are now available for public use, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC and its partners have constructed new parking lots, opened some roads for motorized use, and installed informational kiosks. Roads and trails have been opened through private lease areas to provide access under sporting leases to areas open to public use.

The Sable Highlands easement lands include more than 28,000 acres of lands distributed over 14 public use areas, all of which are open and available for public access and recreation in accordance with the April 2009 Interim Recreation Management Plan. More than 56,000 acres of the Sable Highlands easement lands are leased by the landowner to hunting, fishing and recreation clubs for their exclusive private use. » Continue Reading.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Commentary: Stop Using Big Tupper As A Pawn

Big-Tupper-Trail-Map-792x1024ARISE (Adirondack Residents Intent on Saving their Economy), the volunteer group that ran Big Tupper Ski Area for the winters of 2010-11 and 2011-12, recently announced that Big Tupper will be open for the 2013-14 season. The ski area did not operate last winter due to a shortfall of funds and volunteer burnout.

Keeping any ski area open and running is great for the sport. Small, local hills like Big Tupper are vitally important because they provide a lower-cost alternative and they introduce people to skiing. Kudos to the volunteers at Big Tupper for all their efforts over the past few years.  But it’s not all good news. » Continue Reading.



Friday, October 4, 2013

Local Athletes, Sports Programs Receive Funds

UISF ceremonyEleven organizations and four aspiring athletes from the Lake Placid region were awarded a combined total of $41,500 in grants from the Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund at an awards ceremony at Heaven Hill Farm last Sunday.

The Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund of Lake Placid makes awards to local athletes competing at the regional, national, and international levels. Grants are also awarded to nonprofit organizations that promote participation in life-long summer and winter sports for local kids, promoting a healthy lifestyle and athletic excellence. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Exploring the Backcountry During Hunting Season

Hunter campsite near Threemile Beaver MeadowThe late summer and early fall weather has been ideal for exploring the Adirondack backcountry. The mostly sunny days and clear cool nights are near-perfect conditions for bushwhacking through remote and wild areas, regardless of the season. With the weather and my hording of vacation time this year, the stars seemed aligned for an interesting late season adventure.

Except for one tiny detail, it is hunting season. That time of the year when bullets and arrows fly, causing wildlife, in addition to a few hikers and bushwhackers, to flee for their lives. In my opinion, a hail of bullets and/or arrows whizzing by one’s head is uniquely qualified as the easiest way to ruin a backcountry trip.
» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In Inlet Saturday is Adirondack Kids Day

ADKKidsDay_newFor the second year my family has been asked to join Adirondack Kids Day October 5 from 10 am – 3 pm in Inlet as a fun, interactive way to encourage other families to get outside and be creative.

Organized by the Adirondack Kids book series authors, Gary and Justin VanRiper, with the assistance of Kiwanis of the Central Adirondacks, Adirondack Kids Day offers a chance for families to meet local children’s authors, learn new skills and enjoy a day of free activities.

According to Town of Inlet Department Head Adele Burnett this year’s Adirondack Kids Day will be bigger than the first with the addition of new activities such as the Word of Life Petting Zoo, a inflatable bounce house and Magician Jim Oakey. » Continue Reading.


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